COVID-19 places Iran’s nomadic pastoralists at a crossroads

Authors: Maryam Rahmanian & Nahid Naghizadeh

Nomadic pastoralists in Iran play an important role in national food security and sovereignty.Footnote Since the arrival of COVID-19, they have been deeply concerned about the impact that the pandemic is likely to have on them. Their recently established national platform, the Union of Indigenous Nomadic Tribes of Iran (UNINOMAD),Footnote2 is taking action. UNINOMAD outlined its members’ concerns and proposed solutions in a letter sent to key national authorities on 10 March. We will outline the main points of the letter and reflect on what the overall situation might mean for nomadic pastoralism in Iran.

Historical context of the current crisis
Driven by desire for political control, access to natural resources and “modernization”, successive Iranian political regimes and governments since 1921 have attempted to sedenterize the country’s nomadic pastoralists – whether through war, land reform, forced sedentarization or various top-down programmes for natural resource management . The continued existence of nomadic pastoralists (currently a population of 1.2 million) bears testimony to their resilience. At the same time, it is important to recognize that every “natural” shock to pastoralist systems (droughts are common, for example) represents a nudge in the direction of the overall policy objective of sedentarization.

تاریخ انتشار اولیه: ۲۹ اردیبهشت ۱۳۹۹
تاریخ رصد: ۵ شهریور ۱۳۹۹


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