International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026

International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026

We would like to bring you up to date on progress in designating an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists.

• To date, 18 national governments have sent formal letters of support to the Mongolian Government for the designation of an International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026. In addition, another 15 countries plus the EU showed support during the deliberations at the FAO COAG in 2020.  

• We now have more than 200 non-governmental organizations and one State (Provincial) Government, that are formally supporting the IYRP. UNDP is the latest United Nations agency to have joined in support.

• We are hopeful that the FAO Conference (14 -18 June 2021) will approve the motion. Thereafter, the proposal will be forwarded to the 76th UN General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2021 – the final step. The IYRP International Support Group (ISG) stands ready to prepare any additional documentation needed by the Government of Mongolia and FAO to complete the submission of the proposal to the UNGA and help show the broad and worldwide support for this proposal.

• The Mongolian Government requested the IYRP ISG to prepare a draft Action Plan for IYRP, as a way to engage other countries to support the IYRP. This draft is a compilation of all the priorities and commitments that the governments and organizations have included in their letters of support. More work will be done in the near future to refine the IYRP Action Plan on the basis of the regional action plans being developed.

In addition, the IYRP International Support Group (ISG) has established a Global Communications Team. Among other things, the Team has:
• Worked on enhancing the website (https://iyrp.info) , including providing links that show relevance of other UN Conventions and Processes to the IYRP, including the SDGs, the UN Decade on Family Farming (2019-2028), the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration (2021-2030) and more.  
• Following a survey, we created two Word Cloud Graphics to help explain what we mean by ‘rangelands’ and ‘pastoralists’ and how so many different words are used around the world to mean more or less the same. These graphics are attached for your use.  Word Clouds in languages other than English are also being prepared.

Seeing the need for greater decentralization of efforts, a total of 11 Regional IYRP Support Groups (RISG) were established with help from the IYRP ISG since December 2020 for the following regions:  Australasia, East Asia, Central Asia & Mongolia, South Asia, Middle East & North Africa, Eastern & Southern Africa, West & Central Africa, Europe, Arctic, North America and South America. Below are highlights of some of their achievements to date:

• Australasia: Australia is among the countries that has written support for IYRP. The RISG developed an additional Stakeholder List of ~70 organizations and engaged in outreach to them.

• Central Asia and Mongolia: organized stakeholders outreach meetings on local, regional and national levels in some countries, resulting in a signed Resolution; they have translated all key IYRP documents into Russian; and are preparing draft regional action plans for IYRP.

• Eastern and Southern Africa: In addition to reaching out to national governments in the region to seek their support of IYRP, this RISG is conducting a comprehensive mapping of policies in the region that affect pastoralists and rangelands, and supporting the documentation of African indigenous knowledge for the International Rangeland Congress (October 2021). This RISG is considering dividing into two (Eastern, and Southern).

• Europe: The RISG is ensuring the continuity of the support of the EU's and EU Member States’ to IYRP at the UNGA, and advocating for development of an EU Action Plan for promoting pastoralism. Yolda Initiative and Euromontana are organizing a high level webinar on 14th June hosted by the EU Committee of the Regions, to discuss the contribution of pastoralism in tackling various issues in the EU, including biodiversity, climate change, food security and resilient rural communities, and to review how the international policies of the EU have impacted pastoralism around the world. The RISG is also working to translate the IYRP Draft Action Plan into French and Hungarian.

• North America:  In Canada, a joint support letter co-signed by 23 national and regional NGOs that collectively represent hundreds of thousands of Canadians to the Ministers of Foreign Affairs Canada, International Development Canada, and other departments. Similarly, a joint statement is being prepared in Mexico (25 signatories so far) for the Ministry of Agriculture (SADER). The Canadian Minister of Agriculture and the Governor of the State of Durango, Mexico have sent letters of support to Mongolia. In the USA, signatures are being sought for a group letter to be sent to several Government Departmental Secretaries. An information note has been drafted titled” Why the IYRP matters to the USA Government”. The North American RISG is also finding ways to engage on issues related to indigenous pastoralism (including through creating opportunities related to capacity-building via indigenous universities and technical schools), and building momentum among wildlife and Park agencies working on the ground throughout the central grasslands of North America.

• South Asia: In March 2021 India and Bhutan joined the other South Asian governments that are supporting IYRP. In addition, the RISG is organizing an Award For Recognizing Pastoralists who conserve local breeds, and use best practices in pasture land management in South Asia.  The RISG is compiling traditional food recipes and value added livestock products from pastoral communities, and provided the COVID situation allows, it is planning events for 22 May International Biodiversity Day, and 5 June World Environment Day.

Finally, several members of the ISG have engaged proactively with the UN Food Systems Summit, after seeing that pastoralism and rangelands were (once again) being left behind.  Among these actions: a Pastoralist Champion (Mr. H. Ykhanbai of Mongolia) has been nominated and is engaging with the different processes; Game Changer Solution Ideas have been submitted for Action Tracks 1, 3 and 5; and at least three Independent Dialogues are in preparation (one by ILRI and GASL; one by the Mountain Partnership Secretariat; and one by CELEP partners in Eastern Africa).

For more information on IYRP please visit : https://iyrp.info.

Please continue to show your support for an IYRP! The next few months are crucial in raising awareness worldwide.