Author Archives: fernando

ESN and allies launch the report “Are livestock bad for the planet?”

This report warns that the dominant picture of livestock’s impacts on climate change has been distorted by faulty assumptions that focus on intensive, industrial farming in rich countries. Millions of people worldwide who depend on extensive livestock production, with relatively lower climate impacts, are being ignored by debates on the future of food.

launch event to discuss the report will be held on 27 September. See below for details.

Download (PDF)
Cover photo: Nipun Prabhakar

The report identifies ten flaws in the way that livestock’s climate impacts have been assessed, and suggests how pastoralists could be better included in future debates about food and the climate.

The report is published by a collaboration between ESN and PASTRES programme and other collaborating organisations

ESN member organisations gather in Picos de Europa, Spain under the motto ” Resistance and Future”


From 9 to 12 September 2021, the Shepherds’ Meeting: Resistance and Future took place in Sotres, Cabrales, Picos de Europa, Spain. A moment of mutual recognition between shepherds and extensive livestock farmers from all over the country and Europe to share current problems, to think about ways of support and action for the future, and to celebrate pastoralist cultures. More than 70 people participated in the many activities planned: talks, round tables, visits to local farms, meals, music, etc., in which the link between pastoralism and issues such as food sovereignty or the management of protected natural areas were discussed, alternatives and innovative projects within the extensive livestock farming sector were presented, and new forms of pastoralism and their future were debated.
More information at:

Olivier Maurin is now co-chair of the European Group in support of the International Year on Rangelands and Pastoralists.

Olivier is CORAM vicepresident and a dairy sheep breeder, dairy maker and transhumant in the Pyrenees. He also has some local breeds pigs in a pastoral system and some beef cows too. Thank you Olivier for stepping up for this role!

After the meeting of the regional support group in Europe to campaign and prepare for the International Year of Rangelands & Pastoralists (IYRP) in 2026. The group will be coordinated by a core group with people from both pastoralist and pastoralist-support organisations.
The Mongolian Government’s proposal for an IYRP has already been endorsed by the FAO Committee on Agriculture (COAG) in October 2020 and the FAO Council in early December 2020. The IYRP campaign seeks to generate further support for the proposal when it is discussed during the FAO Conference in mid-2021 and the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in September 2021.
Worldwide, there are currently ten Regional IYRP Support Groups (RISGs) that want to increase the number of national governments and organisations that support the Mongolian Government’s proposal or even co-sponsor it. The RISGs will raise awareness in their countries and regions about the importance of pastoralism and rangelands for the economy, society, culture and environment. They will work with the IYRP International Support Group (ISG), the Mongolian Government and the other global supporters to plan and implement informational and promotional activities before, during and after the IYRP in 2026.
The RISG in Europe – like the other RISGs – is also preparing for several sessions during the Joint International Grassland and Rangeland Congress (IGC/IRC) in Nairobi, Kenya, in October 2021, when overviews of the state of pastoralism and rangelands in different regions will be presented and regional IYRP activities will be planned in more detail.

ESN is present at Pastoralist Knowledge Hub meeting in Rome

The PKH is a project by FAO tobring pastoralists and international actors together to integrate pastoralist concerns into international policy dialogue. It serves both as a repository of relevant documents on pastoralism and pastoral people’s livelihoods, and as a neutral forum for exchange and alliance building among pastoralists and stakeholders.At this meeting there will be representatives from CORAM – France, APIA – Italy, CampoAdentro – Spain . The aim is to jointly with WAMIP decide on the direction of the Hub, to coordinate activities and to ensure policy incidence by strategizing on how to position pastoralist issues in global, regional and national fora. Main aim is to assess the functioning of this project during the period 2014-2019 and to suggest improvements to ensure pastoralist voices are taken into account at FAO policies. 

A new stage for ESN after the Oloron St. Marie Assembly

A note from the 4th European Pastoralists Assembly – Oloron St Marie, France 15th September 2018


For 4 days,  pastoralists from 12 countries all around Europe have met at the core of the French Pyrenees, to celebrate our 4th Assembly of the ESN, hosted by CORAM ( Le Collectif des Races locales de Massif) and with support of FAO

We examined the challenges we are facing , and reassured ourselves on the important contributions we make for the society and the environment.

Many of the principles of the Koblenz Declaration we wrote in 2015 are still valid.

The organizations gathered in Oloron committed to strengthening our network as a valid instrument of cooperation amongst the diversity of pastoralist cultures.

An action plan has been defined with the goals of :

– To redefine ESN objectives and vision and the strategy for their achievement, gathering different pastoralist leaders views.

– To reinforce internal and external communication, and to gather resources for the continuity of the coordination tasks,  now within a recently constituted international technical working group.

– To structure the network via the definition of country coordination and representations.

A more extended text is in this link , in French : Déclaration du Réseau Européen des Berger

IMG_6557 2 Robert Casadebaig

4ème Assemblée des Pastoralistes Européens

Oloron St Marie, France 15 juin 2018

Pendant 4 jours, des pasteurs de 12 pays de toute l’Europe se sont réunis au cœur des Pyrénées françaises pour célébrer notre 4ème Assemblée de l’ESN, organisée par CORAM (Le Collectif des Courses locales de Massif) et avec le soutien de la FAO.

Nous avons examiné les défis auxquels nous sommes confrontés et nous sommes rassurés sur les contributions importantes que nous apportons à la société et à l’environnement

Bon nombre des principes de la déclaration de Coblence que nous avons rédigés en 2015 sont toujours valables.

Les organisations réunies à Oloron se sont engagées à renforcer notre réseau en tant qu’instrument de coopération valable parmi la diversité des cultures pastorales.

Un plan d’action a été défini dans le but de:

– Redéfinir les objectifs et la vision de l’ESN et la stratégie pour leur réalisation, en rassemblant les points de vue de différents leaders pastoraux.

– Renforcer la communication interne et externe et rassembler des ressources pour la continuité des tâches de coordination, désormais au sein d’un groupe de travail technique international récemment constitué.

– Structurer le réseau via la définition de la coordination et des représentations par pays.



IV Asamblea de Pastores Europeos

Oloron St Marie, Francia, 15 de junio de 2018


Durante 4 días, pastores de 12 países de toda Europa se reunieron en el corazón de los Pirineos franceses para celebrar nuestra 4ª Asamblea de ESN, organizada por CORAM (Collectif des Races Locales de Massif) y con el apoyo de la FAO.


Hemos examinado los desafíos que enfrentamos y estamos seguros de las importantes contribuciones que hacemos a la sociedad y el medio ambiente.


Muchos de los principios de la Declaración de Coblenza que redactamos en 2015 siguen siendo válidos.

Las organizaciones en Oloron se comprometen a fortalecer nuestra red como un valioso instrumento de cooperación entre la diversidad de culturas pastorales.

Un plan de acción ha sido definido para:

– Redefinir los objetivos y la visión del ESN y la estrategia para su realización, reuniendo los puntos de vista de los diferentes líderes pastorales.

– Fortalecer la comunicación interna y externa y agrupar los recursos para la continuidad de las tareas de coordinación, ahora dentro de un grupo de trabajo técnico internacional recién formado.

– Estructurar la red a través de la definición de coordinación y representaciones de países.



  1. Versammlung der europäischen Pastoren

Oloron St. Marie, Frankreich 15. Juni 2018


Vier Tage lang versammelten sich Pastoren aus 12 Ländern aus ganz Europa im Herzen der französischen Pyrenäen, um unsere 4. ESN-Versammlung zu feiern, die von CORAM (Collectif des Races Locales de Massif) und mit Unterstützung der FAO organisiert wurde.


Wir haben die Herausforderungen, vor denen wir stehen, geprüft und sind überzeugt, dass wir einen wichtigen Beitrag für die Gesellschaft und die Umwelt leisten.


Viele der Prinzipien der Koblenzer Erklärung, die wir 2015 formuliert haben, sind weiterhin gültig.

Die Organisationen in Oloron sind entschlossen, unser Netzwerk als ein wertvolles Instrument der Zusammenarbeit in der Vielfalt der pastoralen Kulturen zu stärken.

Ein Aktionsplan wurde definiert, um:

– Definieren Sie die Ziele und die Vision des ESN und die Strategie für ihre Umsetzung neu, indem Sie die Standpunkte verschiedener pastoraler Leiter zusammenführen.

– Stärkung der internen und externen Kommunikation und Bündelung von Ressourcen für die Kontinuität der Koordinierungsaufgaben, jetzt in einer neu gebildeten internationalen technischen Arbeitsgruppe.

– Strukturieren Sie das Netzwerk durch die Definition von Koordination und Ländervertretungen.


ESN Contribution to EU CAP Campaign


A coalition of more than  151 civil society organizations have written and signed a Civil Society Statement on the Reform of European Agricultural Policies “Good Food, Good Farming – Now!”

ESN agrees in general with the statement, however we feel that more than making as  general statement ‘ to encourage lower levels of animal product consumption”, that could make the assumption that livestock production is necessarily bad for human health and the environment, we should distinguish the  the role of extensive livestock systems.   Mobile pastoralism,  and the types of animal rearing which our members are involved with not only provide healthy nutrition for people but are also beneficial to the environment.


Read the statement here :

We, the undersigned organisations, believe that the European food and farming system is broken: that it is working for the interests of a few to the detriment of the majority of people, farmers, and the planet.

Europe’s food and farming system directly contributes to a wasteful use of finite global resources and damages the environment by contributing to climate change, biodiversity loss, depletion of fisheries, deforestation, soil erosion, water scarcity, as well as water and air pollution. Factory-style farming – largely dependent on imports and a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance – has been promoted at the expense of viable incomes for farmers and jobs in rural areas in Europe, as well as human rights, decent work, and livelihoods in developing countries. Farmers are facing a flawed choice between bankruptcy and further intensification. Farmers practising credible alternatives like organic and agro-ecological agriculture remain on the fringes in favour of business as usual. At the same time, high levels of undernourishment, the rapid rise in obesity and unhealthy diets are among the main causes of death and disease both in Europe and worldwide.

The EU’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has contributed to this broken food and farming system through the promotion of agro-industrial farming methods and global commodity chains. In order to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and its obligations under the Paris Climate Agreement, the EU must carry out a radical reform of the CAP and related policies. A fairer, more sustainable and resilient system is urgently needed. The undersigned organisations call for a major transformation of Europe’s food and farming system on the basis of the following principles:

Fair and diverse food and farming economies: ensure a fair income and decent work conditions for farmers and farm workers; facilitate access to farmland for sustainable peasant farming; encourage short supply chains and sustainable public procurement policies; grant fair access to high quality products for all consumers; prevent negative impacts on people’s right to food and on the livelihoods of smallholder farmers in the global south.

Healthy environment and a food and farming system that respects animal welfare: ensure the end of harmful     subsidies; reward and incentivise the delivery of positive environmental and social outcomes; restore and prevent further loss of biodiversity; encourage conservation and active use of genetic diversity; ensure agricultural production is free from synthetic chemical pesticides and mineral fertilisers that harm the environment; prevent and minimise food waste throughout the food chain; halt food and feed imports linked to deforestation; ensure that animal health and welfare are effectively respected; replace the current industrial livestock system with extensive alternatives where animals are not treated as mere commodities and the balance between livestock and land capacity is ensured, while the overuse of antibiotics prevented; radically reduce emissions from farming and ensure a transition towards a resilient food and farming system.

Support for citizens’ health and well-being: ensure our food and farming system fosters healthy, nutritious, seasonal, local, culturally appropriate and affordable diets; encourage lower levels of animal product consumption; raise citizens’ awareness of the impacts of consumption on their own health, on farmers, animals and the environment; prevent negative impacts of agricultural methods on the health of farmers, farm workers and rural populations.

A publicly accountable food system with participatory governance, citizens’ empowerment and democracy:  involve citizens in transparent decision making processes; prevent corporate capture of decision making; empower local communities to lead the transformation.

We are committed to achieving a real transition by working in partnership with farmers, citizens and policy-makers. Therefore, we urge the European institutions and national policymakers to rethink the role and direction of European agriculture policies and use the principles presented above as a basis for the post-2020 Common Agricultural Policy reform process.

All together for Food Sovereignity : ESN is calling for Nyeleni Europe conference

ESN is member of the Coordination Committee that is organising next Nyeleni Europe Conference. From the 26th to 30th of October, hundreds of people from the entire Europe and Central Asia will meet in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, for the second Forum of the Nyéléni European Movement for Food Sovereignty!For 5 days, farmers, fishers, pastoralists, indigenous people, consumers, trade unions, environmental/justice/solidarity/human rights organizations, community-based food movements, journalists, researchers from more than 42 countries will bring existing food sovereignty initiatives together, sharing and connecting experiences and planning a pan-European strategy and plan for future food and agriculture.

Join !   more information at


Calling for the 5th ESN Assembly !!! 21-23 September 2016, St.-Floir, France

5th Meeting of the European Shepherds Network
St. Floir – Cantal – France 
Celebrating the European Week of Mountain Local Breeds, and hosted by   CORAM and Aubrac and Salers Livestock Breeders Unions from Central France the 16- 25 September in St. Floir,  ESN members, grassroots pastoralist organisations  from different countries,  will take part in a public seminar the 21 – 22 September,  around the question of the autonomy of livestock systems, and the importance of local breeds on it, as well as the impact of Common Agricultural Policy on mobile pastoralist systems across Europe.
The 22nd we expect to have a meeting with the French Ministry of Agriculture to explain our conclusions.
The 23rd,  ESN will also hold its 5th meeting and assembly to discuss the action plan for the future.
We will be organising ESN travels and calling for support to donor organizations.
See you in Saint-Floir !
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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism to host 2015 Conference in Ireland

The European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism (EFNCP) will host its annual Conference in Corofin (County Clare, Ireland) on 22-24 October 2015. The speakers will be farmers and specialists coming from diverse High Nature Value landscapes across Europe. The event will also be a gathering of EFNCP members.

Details, programme and booking form:

Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein Declaration

Two weeks ago at the European Pastoralists Assembly organized by ESN in Koblenz, Germany, more than 50 pastoralists from 17 countries signed a common declaration, entitled the “Koblenz-Ehrenbreitstein Declaration”.

Our members are actively circulating this statement within their region and networks, but please help us support the demands of European pastoralists by downloading and sharing the declaration!

Read here
Download in PDF (in English)

Additional languages:
Download in Spanish
Download in German
Download in French
Download in Greek
Download in Italian

Third ESN meeting in Koblenz, Germany

From 26 to 28 June, more than 50 shepherds from 17 European countries have met at the European Pastoralists Assembly organized by ESN in Koblenz, Germany to share the problems they are facing, discuss solutions and agree on further actions to be developed by European Shepherds Network.

The successful meeting resulted in a common declaration signed by participating delegations. We will be posting the statement and further materials about the outcomes of this important event very soon.  In the meanwhile, here are a few pictures of united pastoralists.


This Assembly will take place in Koblenz (Germany) from 26-28 of June. We are inviting 2 pastoralist representatives from each country in Europe. If you want to nominate or apply to participate, please write to before the 17th of June.

The only continental wide organization representing pastoralist grassroot groups and regional chapter of the World Alliance of Mobile and Indigenous Pastoralists (WAMIP) European Shepherd Network (ESN) is moving forward in its mission of bringing together pastoralist and making their voice be heard.

The agenda is available here: ESN-meeting-2015.05.25-EN.

ESN awarded grant by FAO to develop regional pastoralist Hub

ESN has succeeded in securing funding for at least two years from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) that will enable it to strengthen the regional dialogue between shepherd organizations, implement actions at the European level, and become a strong entity with an operative secretariat during at least 2015 and 2016 to serve the purposes of its members.

The grant provided by the FAO covers the organization of a European-level meeting in 2015, set to happen in Koblenz, Germany on June 26-27-28. Shepherd leaders and Union representatives of the extensive livestock farming sector will be invited to discuss shared issues, such as:
– CAP implementation and national legal frameworks
– wild fauna and predator species
– land issues
– ecosystem services and climate change
– cultural identity and preservation of the shepherd way of life

The agreement with FAO also includes a regional identification process expected to result in a census of pastoral organizations in the EU countries.

European delegates sign common declaration at Kiserian Global Gathering of Pastoralists

Several shepherd councilors of the European Shepherd Network (ESN) project and other representatives of European shepherd organizations have met in Kiserian, Kenya to constitute a European delegation at the Global Gathering on Pastoralism jointly organized and hosted by IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) and UNEP (United Nations Environmental Program). From December 9th to 15th 2013, the event gathered 120 pastoralist leaders representing communities in 48 countries worldwide in Kiserian, Kenya, to share experiences and concerns.

Interviews of some of the European delegates can be watched here:

European delegates took this opportunity to discuss their own priorities on the continent and reassert the necessity of having a strong and united movement at EU level to support pastoralism against agribusiness and bureaucracy. Together they have signed and circulated among their respective organizations and partners the following declaration:

“Dear Friends,
Continue reading


Organisations of cattle breeders and shepherds from all over Europe will protest in this manner against the mandatory introduction of an electronic chip on each animal.
On 7 March more than 500 shepherds will meet to hear the verdict of the European Court in Strasbourg.
Several organisations of small cattle breeders from different European countries (France, United Kingdom, Hungary, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Spain, etc.) working in extensive farming, in filing a claim against Individual Electronic Identification (EID) that the German Sheep Breeders Association filed in 2012 before the Court of Stuttgart that is currently pending a decision by the European Court of Justice.

On 7 March, representatives of shepherds from all over Europe will meet in Strasbourg after they were summoned by the European Court based in this city.

The claim was filed because of the flaws in the system at the time in which it is to be implemented, particularly in its pin form. These deficiencies have been reported in all Member States where the system has been implemented, as well as the injury it results in for the tagged animal.

In addition to its inefficiency, this system involves several bureaucratic phases and costs for farmers that we deem excessive at all levels, and are the same whether or not a disease has broken out.

According to the coordinator of the European Shepherds Network, Fernando García-Dory: “Making the chip compulsory is the last straw in a series of absurd and inconsistent policies for small livestock farms that are so valuable for the environment and society in Europe. Such policies are designed in Brussels without any input from farmers and are cut off from reality in the field. They might end a way of life that is already seriously endangered by the low prices that the global market imposes and other causes. The EID results exclusively from an excessive desire for control and bureaucratisation of agriculture as well as the economic interests of those who produce the device. This is a historic moment in which shepherds from all over Europe are uniting and saying “Enough is enough”. We know that the public prefers shepherds, rural landscapes and high-quality products over industrialisation and mechanisation of food production concentrated in few companies that continue to cause food scares and animal discomfort.”