Many disputes and conflicts in the Sahel over land and water can be resolved with wider knowledge of local customs and greater use of traditional mediation methods, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD) says in a new report and video.
Uses and customs around daily life are often passed along verbally within communities in the Sahel – making them mostly unknown to transient herders, nomadic pastoralists and other outsiders. Lack of respect and understanding of these customs can be a source of conflict, especially over shared and scarce natural resources.
When they are known and disseminated, uses and customs are powerful tools for conflict reduction and social cohesion.
In the report Natural resources management in the Sahel: Uses and customs at the service of conflict resolution, HD has collected valuable information about community conventions and the way they can foster cohesion – as experienced and discussed by people in the border areas of Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger.
The report and video highlight the importance of customs in conflict prevention and resolution as part of HD’s work to mediate local conventions by incorporating traditional methods. The goal is to spread awareness and understanding of local customs to foster peaceful co-existence and the sharing of vital resources.
Since 2015, HD has built up a network of more than 2,000 agro-pastoral mediators across 130+ border communities in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger who work to prevent and resolve conflicts over natural resources.
The management of agro-pastoral conflicts is part of HD’s efforts to prevent and resolve armed conflicts through dialogue and mediation in the Sahel and around the world.