WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, the United Nations General Assembly in New York unanimously declared 2026 the International Year of Rangelands & Pastoralists (IYRP).
The Society for Range Management (SRM) has been a part of this effort since 2015, with a simple proposal submitted to federal agency leaders. A group of partners working to designate an IYRP coalesced at the 2016 International Rangeland Congress in Saskatoon. Since then, more than 300 organizations and 68 countries have joined together to raise awareness for the world’s largest ecosystem – rangelands.
The resolution passed on March 15 affirms that “healthy rangelands are vital for contributing to economic growth, resilient livelihoods and the sustainable development of pastoralism.” It also recognizes that “pastoralism is a dynamic and transformative livelihood linked to the diverse ecosystems, cultures, identities, traditional knowledge and historical experience of coexisting with nature”. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is the agency tasked with facilitating the implementation of the IYRP in 2026.
The IYRP will promote a wide variety of activities focused on rangelands and grasslands, including awareness raising on key issues, assistance in targeting research assessments of critical knowledge gaps, and facilitation of partnerships that combine resources to promote sustainable resource use and improved livelihoods.
“Many individuals, groups, and governments deserve praise for bringing this designation of an international year to fruition and SRM is proud to be involved since the inception of the idea. The Society would like to especially thank the Government of Mongolia for submitting the resolution and serving as a key player throughout the process,” said SRM President Dr. Karen Launchbaugh.
“With this final approval, SRM looks forward to working with its global partners to design and implement 12 impactful months to raise the profile and support for rangelands and pastoral issues, improve understanding of the challenges and opportunities faced by the rangeland ecosystem and pastoralists, and direct increased attention and resources to rangelands and those who manage them.”
Learn more at https://iyrp.info/.
–Society for Range Management