Social solidarity and coherence: Creating strong social organizations of nomads and camel herders

Reviving customary governance institutions is an important part of creating the conditions for truly participatory actions and research. Therefore since 2003 CENESTA has assisted 6 Tribal Confederacies (Qashqai, Bakhtiari, Shahsevan, Sangsari, Abolhasani and Abarsaj) and a number of independent tribes in different territories of indigenous peoples to establish their own social organisation (registered CBOs) at tribal confederacy, tribe and sub-tribe levels in the form of Council of Elders, Sustainable Livelihood Funds of Nomadic Pastoralists.

Having all these registered organisations of nomadic pastoralists and the importance of establishing a united and single, legal identity at the national level to represent their common interests was strong motivation for establishment of the national federations such as UNINOMAD and UNICAMEL.


Uninomad logoThe first national gathering of UNINOMAD, formed in 2010 and the statutes of the national federation (UNINOMAD) has been prepared and the process for getting it formally registered is underway.

Since 2010, because of additional registered tribes and tribal confederacies, the Council of UNINOMAD has decided to renew organisational structure of UNINOMAD’s Council of Elders. Re-structuring process of the UNINOMAD started in November 2013 in summit workshop. All representatives from registered tribal confederacies and tribes came together and discussed important issues in regards renewing their commitment and participation for the Action and for continuing formal registration of the UNINNOMAD as a legal entity. This process will be continued in 2014 which will facilitate the road for improving organisational structure of UNINOMAD and its registration.


Unicamel logo

UNICAMEL is a tribal federation with membership of indigenous camel herders from throughout Iran.

The first gathering of UNICAMEL formed in May 2012 and serious efforts have been made for its registration with the support of CENESTA and the Action and it registered in February 2013 as a legal entity at national level.

Membership in UNICAMEL facilitates mutual aid and solidarity amongst camel herders within Iran and a clearer role in influencing policy, use endogenous development and indigenous knowledge to support camel conservation and research within the region, as well as the promotion of ICCAs over camel territories.

By decision of the founding members of UNICAMEL, CENESTA was requested to accept membership in this federation, and to perform the duty of national and international Secretariat for it. UNICAMEL is now a member of the global ICCA Consortium.

The councils (Unions) have shown that with the regular and effective participation of their representatives in meetings, conferences and workshops at the local, national, regional and even international levels, they are able to contribute to sustainable natural resource management through their own effective and strong institutions and enjoy the support and services that other stakeholders benefit from regularly.

They also have demonstrated that they are capable of building their capacity in areas that are needed. For example, a governmental organization in charge of management of all of the country’s nationalised rangelands, the Forests, Rangelands and Watershed Management Organisation (FRWO) is seeking mechanisms for entrusting the management of natural resources to the tribal councils.

This is an on-going process as additional tribes and tribal confederacies organise themselves to join the UNIONs (both in UNICAMEL and UNINOMAD). There is no doubt that these developments will strengthen nomadic pastoralists organizations in the field of sustainable management and use of natural resources, and, over time and through a participatory process, will bear fruits in the form of more appropriate policies.

Read more about UNICAMEL

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