New Internationalist magazine reported that Kenyan pastoralist groups like the Borana and Samburu have been converting their lands to “conservancies,” a form of protected status, since 2013 with the assistance of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT).
In addition to encouraging pastoralists toward conservancy land conversions, NRT also promotes shifting livestock grazing practices from traditional ones to rotational grazing. NRT argues that plants are able to regrow more effectively under the new system, allowing for more carbon to be kept from the atmosphere. This generates carbon credits, which are then sold to companies like Meta and Netflix for millions of dollars on the global carbon market. With at least some of the money passed on to the community, items like children’s school fees are being paid for.
But as the magazine’s report detailed, the program has come under fire from UK-based nonprofit Survival International for a number of reasons, including lack of informed consent by the pastoralist peoples, allegedly false claims about the amount of carbon saved, and opacity about where the money is going. The NRT program is currently under review by Verra, the standards-setting body for carbon trading.
And local critics are up in arms too. Abdullahi Gonjobe, chair of the Borana Council of Elders, told New Internationalist that preexisting systems of grazing were “beneficial” and that “wherever… [NRT goes], they divide the community.”
by Saurav Sarkar from the Globetrotter News Service