Open letter to World leaders and Parties to the Paris Agreement ahead of COP28

For sub-Saharan Africa, livestock are a climate solution with legs

For millions of people across Africa, livestock are their lifeblood. Animals such as camels, cows, and donkeys, along with goats, sheep, and chickens represent food, livelihoods, draught power, fertiliser, fibre and a convertible source of income, especially if crops fail. Pastoralists rely on livestock to survive in areas where crops cannot grow, and Africa relies on pastoralists to produce half of its meat and milk, a daily glass of which helps children develop both physically and cognitively.

Livestock provide valuable agricultural resilience to climate extremes. The ability to move animals to find feed, water and shade means livestock de-risks crop farming while providing a safety net for failed harvests. Meanwhile, managed grazing and manure can help restore degraded land and support biodiversity. Livestock also boost the climate resilience of communities, making them less vulnerable in face of shocks, and better able to rebuild in the aftermath of disasters.

Because of this, livestock keeping in Africa should be seen as a credible climate solution – a solution with legs. Helping animals and herders to adapt to climate stresses and shocks can prevent critical food and economic losses and meet rising demand, while also supporting animal welfare and protecting the most vulnerable in the face of rising temperatures and unpredictable rains.

However, increasingly frequent and prolonged climate extremes are making it harder for livestock-keepers to adapt in time to sustain a growing population. More than 13 million livestock have died during the ongoing and unprecedented drought across the Horn of Africa. Thousands of animals have been killed during flooding in Niger, and new conditions are impacting the spread of livestock disease. It can take up to five years for farmers to recover from these losses if at all, according to UN reports.

We call on Parties at COP28 to urgently make the case for more climate finance to support adaptation for sustainable livestock systems in Africa. We urge high-income countries to meet their commitment to provide $100 billion per year in climate finance for developing countries. And we urge African countries to make the adaptation of livestock systems a core part of their climate strategies. As of last year, the continent received only 11 per cent of its total climate finance needs at just $30 billion, and less than one per cent of climate finance reached the livestock sector.

Adapting Africa’s livestock sector to a changing climate must be a priority at COP28 for the sustainable development of a continent that has contributed under three per cent of historic global greenhouse gas emissions. This includes developing more reliable forages and feed, more resilient breeds of indigenous livestock, more resilient animal health systems and support services, such as digital information tools, finance and index-based livestock insurance. Livestock should be included in national disaster risk reduction plans so that they are protected as important assets in the face of climate-related disasters.

Improving small-scale livestock resilience goes hand in hand with reducing emissions. Expanding simple, improved practices on smallholder farms and preventing livestock losses can reduce greenhouse emissions by up to 30 per cent, while boosting productivity, animal welfare, food security and incomes.

Climate adaptation within Africa’s livestock sector presents a unique opportunity to sustainably feed and support a quarter of the world’s population by 2050. In short, for Africa to feed itself, we need to invest in livestock. It is not only an economic issue but a form of climate justice. For many of Africa’s 800 million herders and smallholder farmers, a future without livestock is a future without life.


  1. International Livestock Reserach Institute (ILRI), Appolinaire Djikeng, Director General 
  2. PASTRES, Iain Scoones, Lead 
  3. ILRI, Iain Wright, Deputy Director General - Integrated Sciences, (Individual endorsement)
  4. CIRAD, Serena Ferrari, Researcher (Individual endorsement)
  5. GOALSciences, Peer Ederer, Direktor 
  6. Brooke, Chris Wainwright, Chief Executive 
  7. Frederic Leroy, Professor (Individual endorsement)
  8. LPP, Ilse Köhler-Rollefson , Coordinator 
  9. LIFE Network/LPP Africa, Jacob Wanyama, Coordinator 
  10. Livestock for Social Good Foundation, Oloruntobi Olusegun, Executive Director 
  11. Samsoft AG, Fritz Schneider , Consultant (Individual endorsement)
  12. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Adamu Abdullahi, Managing Director 
  13. AKADEMIYA2063, Moumini Savadogo, Managing Director 
  14. GALVmed, Carolin Schumacher, Chief Executive 
  15. Animal Health Consultancy, Dieter Schillinger, Founder 
  16. Viona Muleke Aluvale, Researcher (Individual endorsement)
  17. Global Forum for Sustainable Rural Development , Mohammed Abubakar , Co-founder & Head Africa 
  18. Consortium for African Youth in Agriculture and Climate Change (CAYACC), Emmanuel Ngore, Facilitator 
  19. SNV, Andre de Jager, Managing Director Sectors Agri-Food, Energy, Water (Individual endorsement)
  20. Action for Animal Health coalition, Dr. Laura Skippen, Chair 
  21. ILRI, Nicoletta Buono, Scaling specialist (Individual endorsement)
  22. ILRI, Emily Ouma, Economist (Individual endorsement)
  23. University of Edinburgh, Nathaniel Jensen, Economist (Individual endorsement)
  24. Mercy Corps, Andrea Mottram, Senior Director, Food Security & Agricultural Systems (Individual endorsement)
  25. Mercy Corps, Katy Crosby, Senior Director, US Policy and Advocacy (Individual endorsement)
  26. IGAD Center for Pastoral Areas and Livestock Development, Dereje Wakjira, Director, 
  27. ILRI and Borlaug Institute at Texas A&M University, Elsa Murano, Chair of the ILRI Board and Director of Borlaug Institute 
  28. Eastern Africa Farmers Federation &e-Granary initiative, Stephen Muchiri, Chief Executive Officer 
  29. International Institute of Tropical Agriculture , Simeon Ehui, Director General 
  30. University of California - Davis, Frank Mitloehner, Professor (Individual endorsement)
  31. Oklahoma State University, Karl Rich, Director/Professor (Individual endorsement)
  32. Bluagrovet Services, Emmanuel Mosaku, CEO, 
  33. HealthforAnimals (global animal health association), Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, Executive Director 
  34. Land O'Lakes Venture37, John Ellenberger, Executive Director 
  35. West-Africa platform for traditional pastoralists’ leaders (RUGGA), Boubakary  Barry, Executive Secretary
  36. Vétérinaires Sans Frontières Germany, Christian Griebenow, Managing Director 
  37. Kenya Dairy Board, Margaret Rugut Kibogy, Managing Director 
  38. Benjamin Abugri, Knowledge Management Specialist (Individual endorsement)
  39. Soil4Climate Inc., Seth J. Itzkan, Codirector, 
  40. African Union Commission, H.E Amb. Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, Commissioner for Agriculture, Rural Development, Blue Economy and Sustainable Environment 
  41. Supporting Pastoralism and Agriculture in Recurrent and Protracted Crises (SPARC), Guy Jobbins, Executive Director 
  42. ILRI, Alessandra Galie, Team Leader: Gender (Individual endorsement)
  43. American University of Beirut, Rami Zurayk, Professor, Food Security and Ecosystem Management (Individual endorsement)
  44. ILRI, Isabelle Baltenweck, Program leader (Individual endorsement)
  45. Vétérinaires Sans Frontières International, Margherita Gomarasca, Coordinator 
  46. Gatsby Africa, Justin Highstead , Executive Director 
  47. Harper Adams University, Jude Capper, Professor and ABP Chair of Sustainable Beef and Sheep Production (Individual endorsement)
  48. Veterinarians without Borders North America, Charmaine Brett, Executive Director 
  49. Heifer International , Adesuwa Ifedi , Senior Vice President of Africa Programs 
  50. The Roslin Institute, Bruce Whitelaw, Director 
  51. SEBI-Livestock, Karen Smyth, Director 
  52. SPARC Consortium, Guy Jobbins, Executive Director (Individual endorsement)
  53. ILRI, Rupsha R Banerjee, Senior Scientist - Institutions and Innovations (Individual endorsement)
  54. CGIAR, Aditi Mukherji, Director CGIAR Climate Impact Platform
  55. Aleph Farms, Lee Recht, VP Sustainability
  56. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Adamu Abdullahi, Managing Director
  57. AgThrive, Kristin Girvetz, Director
  58. WOAH, Ian Peter Busuulwa, Project Officer (Individual endorsement)
  59. SNV, Simon O'Connell, CEO
  60. International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), Zewdu Ayalew Abro (Individual endorsement)
  61. Tharaka University, Viona Muleke Aluvale, Assistant lecturer, (Individual endorsement)
  62. SNV, Alison Rusinow, Global Lead on Institutions and Governance, (Individual endorsement)
  63. Bule Hora University, Birhanu Buta, MD
  64. Grass Based Health, Peter J. Ballerstedt, Educator & Bridge Builder
  65. Alliance for Sustainable Development (ASDEV), Neville Suh, Team Lead
  66. FarmAsyst, Mohammed Hafiz Musah, Co-founder
  67. World Organisation for Animal Health, Jane Lwoyero, AMR & Food Safety Programme Officer (Individual endorsement)
  68. Arba Minch University, Zenebe Amele Sahile, PhD student in Water and Environmental Engineering (Individual endorsement)
  69. Alliance for Sustainable Livestock, Latifah Abdulkarim, Program Officer
  70. Mileutis Ltd, David Javier Iscovich, CEO
  71. Ambuvets Konsult, Areo Damiola Mercy, Project associate
  72., Dairo Deborah, Brand Strategist
  73. Iprocure limited, Nixon chebos, Vet mineral sales agent
  74. ILRI, Sijali Zikankuba, Herd Health Field Coordinator (Individual endorsement)
  75. Health, Livelihood and Climate Change Africa (HeLCA), Sherifat Balogun-Raji, Founder/ CEO
  76. Raya University, Kedir Awol Assen, Lecturer (Individual endorsement)
  77. University of Gondar, Assefa Adane, Lecturer (Individual endorsement)
  78. SAHELVET, Seye Mamadou, Docteur vétérinaire
  79. Mrs D M France-Hayhurst Foundation, Penny Sanders, Trustee (Individual endorsement)
  80. Davach Dairy Solutions, Elizabeth Njoroge, Dairy Trainer with Gender Expertise
  81. Carole Madeleine Tanner, Carole Madeleine Tanner, Company Director (Individual endorsement)
  82. Vetsark Limited, Blessing Mene, Founder and CEO
  83. Rukova, Cece Takawira, Farmer
  84. ILRI, Michael Gerba, Chief Operating Officer (Individual endorsement)
  85. ILRI, Solomon Muasa, HR Manager, (Individual endorsement)
  86. Center for Study Indonesian Food Anthropology (CS-IFA) and Social Enterprise Gastro Tourism Academy, Repa Kustipia, stronomist & Ethnofood Anthropologist
  87. Uiversity of Zimbabwe, Rumbidzai Blessing Nhara, Lecturer (Individual endorsement)
  88. People in need , Ashenafi Tarekegn Jorga, Project Coordinator (Individual endorsement)
  89. Ethiopia Institute of Agricultural Research, Abdela Befa Kinki, Researcher (Individual endorsement)
  90. Uganda National Meteorological Authority, Joseph Omerssy Akorimo, Weather Observer
  91. Centre for Environmental Stewardship, John Mugambi, Board Member (Individual endorsement)
  92. Court, Takele Balina, Human resources
  93. MDM-France, Liban Boru, Community Mobilizer (Individual endorsement)
  94. Kwagaliza Vet Centre, Nankinga Diana, Veterinarian
  95. ILRI, Susan MacMillan, Emeritus Fellow (Individual endorsement)
  96. KALRO, Rosemary, Senior Researcher (Individual endorsement)
  97. Oda Bultum University, Solomon, Lecturer (Individual endorsement)
  98. University of Melbourne / ILRI, Lindsay Falvey, Professor Emeritus / ILRI Emeritus Fellow (Individual endorsement)
  99. Center for Research and Development in Drylands, Hussein Wario, Executive Director
  100. Wood Valley Organics, Juliana Kantengwa, Founder
  101. Wendy Harrison, CEO
  102. Asossa University, Biruk Kebede Biru, Lecturer and Researcher
  103. Federal institute of industrial Research Oshodi Lagos, Taiwo Tella-Latona, Food Technologist (Individual endorsement)
  104. ILRI, Ljubica Butkovic, Business Development Manager (Individual endorsement)
  105. Duck Trails Farm, Charles Thomas, Owner
  106. ORAB Farm Tech, Raimot Ayanbola Oladele, Co-founder (Individual endorsement)
  107. Centre for Tropical Livestock Genetics and Health / ILRI, Christian K. Tiambo, Scientist (Individual endorsement)
  108. Animal Production Research Institute, Amin Mohamed Said Amin, Associate Professor Scientist, (Individual endorsement)
  109. African Forest Forum, Marie Louise Avana Tientcheu, Agroforester (Individual endorsement)
  110. Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock - Zambia, Mweemba Halyoka, District Fisheries and Livestock Coordinator (Individual endorsement)
  111. Department of Agriculture Research - Malawi, Judith Kanyama Chikoti, Principal Agriculture Research Scientist (Individual endorsement)
  112. National Animal Genetic Resource Centre and Data Bank - Uganda, Christopher Mukasa, Deputy Technical Manager Breeding
  113. University of Eduardo Mondlane, Abel Chipembo, Masters student in food safety (Individual endorsement)
  114. ILRI, Hussein Abkallo, Research scientist/vaccines development (Individual endorsement)
  115. Agricultural Research Center, Mohamed Ali Elgendy, Research Assistant
    Animal Production Research Institute, Mohamed Ali Elgendy, Research Assistant (Individual endorsement)
  116. Animal Production Research Institute, Ragab Rezk Mohamed Ali Elsharkawy, Researcher
  117. IRAD, Mbitkebeyo, Researcher in animal health
  118. Arbaminch University, Meron Tariku, Student (Individual endorsement)
  119. Institut de Recherche Agricole pour le Développement (IRAD), Fokom Wauffo David, Chargé de Recherche
  120. University of Garoua, Jean Paul Toukala, Lecturer (Individual endorsement)
  121. Land O’Lakes V37, Mahmoud Emara, Senior Food Safety Advisor (Individual endorsement)
  122. ILRI, Linnet Ochieng, Research Officer (Individual endorsement)
  123. University of New England, Daniel Korir Sitienei, Postdoctoral Researcher (Individual endorsement)
  124. Solidaridad, Binyam, Climate smart livestock project manager (Individual endorsement)
  125. ILRI, Andres Palau, Head of Operations (Individual endorsement)
  126. ILRI, Dishon Muloi, Epidemiologist/Antimicrobial Resistance (Individual endorsement)
  127. Sani, Abdullahi, Farmer (Individual endorsement)
  128. ILRI, Amos Omore, Representative in Eastern and Southern Africa (Individual endorsement)
  129. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Sani Abdullahi, Farmer
  130. Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, Ruaraidh Petre, Executive Director
  131. Hawassa Agricultural Research Center, Mergia Abera, Senior Researcher in Animal Nutrition (Individual endorsement)
  132. Fernanda Maria Miranda Abdul, (Individual endorsement)
  133. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Abubakar Abdullahi, Secretary
  134. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Abdulhamid Mutala Umar, Farmers
  135. Pastoral Integrated Farms, Mu'Azu Mustapha, Food Processor
  136. University of Brasilia, Gabriela Litre, Researcher (Individual endorsement)