Author Archives: ShepherdNet

Transhumance as Intangible Cultural Heritage Workshop

ESN member Athanasios Ragkos is working with the Agricultural Economics Research Institute of ELGO-DIMITRA, PASTINNOVA and the Network of Transhumant Farmers to host a workshop on November 10, 2023 that discusses the importance of transhumance as a cultural heritage. The meeting will take place over Zoom and in person at the Meeting Hall of the Mediterranean Forest Ecosystems Institute in Athens, Greece with the cooperation of the Directorate of Modern Cultural and Intangible Cultural Heritage of the Ministry of Culture and Sports. 

In 2017, transhumant livestock farming received an inscription from the National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage. This came as a result of the joint effort between Greece, Austria and Italy, and an extended version of the inscription was jointly submitted by 10 countries in 2022. In light of this fellowship, the workshop will discuss the importance of transhumance across the Mediterranean and the distinct impact it has had in various countries, including Greece, Italy and Lebanon.

Transhumance is the practice of moving flocks from one location to another, typically to benefit from lush mountain vegetation in summer months and mild lowland conditions in winter months. Transhumant peoples have developed specific vernacular skills in relation to the stewardship of their livestock, many of which relate to land use, labour, and management of capital. It is important to develop a deeper understanding of these skills in order to establish means of livestock raising and management that are more sustainable than the modern methods we use today. 

The workshop will explore themes and ideas related to Mediterranean transhumance through a series of panels led by a variety of scientists and practitioners. Their studies and experiences will encourage attendees to think about transhumance, pastoralism, and shepherding in an innovative new way, exploring interdisciplinary applications of the lessons these cultures have to teach. Please check out the agenda here.
For more information about Mediterranean transhumance and the workshop, please visit PASTINNOVA’s website here.


The European Shepherds Network (ESN) calls upon your support in aiding the ongoing humanity crisis facing the pastoralist Massai people in Tanzania. For generations, the Maasai have safeguarded the Serengeti ecosystem in Tanzania, nurturing its wildlife and biodiversity. However, their ancestral lands are currently under threat. Conservation projects, tourism, and trophy-hunting schemes have forced the Maasai out, violating their human and constitutional rights. Shockingly, even conservation NGOs like Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) and European funding have played a part in this injustice.

The Tanzanian government’s relentless and brutal campaign against the Maasai continues. Tens of thousands of members have suffered forced evictions and violence looms large. Vital social services, including healthcare, are being withheld to drive the Maasai away. 

European governments, EU institutions, and NGOs must take action! With the hope of securing continued respect and support, ensuring the promotion of their human rights, and denouncing the financing of the Tanzanian government’s illegal atrocities, the Maasai representatives are currently embarking on a European tour through Germany, Austria and Brussels to share stories and raise the alarm. 

Some members of the Maasai delegation with some members of supporting organisations in Europe. Credit: PINGOs Forum

It’s time to change the flawed tourism and conservation model that separates nature protection from human settlement. Indigenous peoples worldwide face eviction in the name of conservation, disrupting their ways of living and creating imbalance in the ecosystem, which, studies show, thrive under the continued tenure of indigenous groups. WAMIP representatives demand that EU member states and European institutions stop funding projects that violate human rights. We also call for a guarantee that international partnerships prioritize land governance and human rights.

By raising awareness and seeking international support, we at ESN hope to aid the ending of these forced evictions and human rights abuses against the Maasai in Tanzania. We aim to dispel the misconception that these traditional ways of life harm the environment when, on the contrary, indigenous and migratory groups have long shaped and protected nature and biodiversity in their respective lands. Freedom, and access to move within their own lands must be fought for, and maintained.

Massai delegation representatives begin their tour in several European countries, May 2023

Join us in our fight for justice and the preservation of our culture and environment. Together, we can make a difference!

ESN representantives join main social movements to start to plan common actions towards Nyeleni 2025 and IYRP 2026

ESN representatives Olivier Maurin, Anaelle Sorignet and ESN secretariat Devon Miller take part in Brussels from today until Saturday in an important 3 days working meeting with the partners of the Food Sovereignity alliance of Social Movements supported by COACH project. Along by many important partners in all over Europe, European Coordination Via Campesina as the representative of the small-scale farmers and agricultural and land workers, ESN as voice for pastoralist organisations at continental level and URGENCI and FIAN , which are at the meeting as the main civil society organisations working for another farming model, and a living countryside.

These allies , together with others from Europe and Central Asia are meeting to define a working plan for the Nyéléni Europe and Central Asia Food Sovereignty Movement. This includes actions regarding the IYRP 2026, and others towards the Global Nyeleni Gathering which will take place in India in 2025.

The meeting is supported by the COACH project, and the aims are to engage with relevant policymakers to present main policy demands and their rationale, to reflect collectively about next steps and areas for future collaboration beyond the project and to harvest ideas and inspiration to enrich the COACH Roadmap for the future of collaborative agri-food chains.
Thank you Olivier for continuing to fight for the rights and visibility of pastoralists rights to territorial governance and food sovereignty and strengthen pastoralists struggle in alliance with other constituencies.

The advancement of transhumance pastoralism at the International Agricultural Show

At the end of February, French breeders, shepherds, technicians and elected representatives convened in Paris for the International Agricultural Show to reflect on a national action plan to raise awareness of pastoralism and transhumance practices.

The annual agricultural show and trade fair has been a meeting place for all key figures in the agricultural world for nearly a century.

Olivier Maurin announcing the film presentation on transhumance pastoralism

The meeting began with the projection of a short film exhibiting the diversity of transhumance practices in different regions of France, followed by a collective discussion on the best course of action to secure widespread media coverage. Co-chair of the European Regional IYRP Support Group (RISG) Olivier Maurin shared his suggestions for reaching both the European and international level.

Representatives of the Application of Transhumance as Heritage of Humanity and others in discussion

As French transhumance will soon be listed in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage, and the International Year of Rangelands and Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026 is near, it is imperative to highlight these ancestral practices that remain essential to their territories.