Climatic stresses are well known by pastoralists due to the dynamics of the ecosystems they profit from. Their livelihoods have historically included powerful adaptation tools for centuries or even millennia, such as livestock mobility, communal land tenure, rangeland monitoring, extensive information networks and adapted breeds. In all of the mentioned tools, the household scale has remained too small to be successful in systems where the magnitude of stresses operates at a large geographical scale. Unfortunately, investments and regulations in pastoralist areas have often been designed and imposed from centres of power based in higher potential areas or even in other countries– and with little understanding of the dynamics of marginal lands. The disruption of traditional adaptation mechanisms that has followed has stigmatized pastoralists as chronically food insecure and created a vicious circle, further imposing inappropriate measures that climate change and increasing population growth and burden on natural resources are likely to exacerbate. There is increasing recognition of the value of traditional adaptation measures and the role of communities in them and new technological and market improvements are providing great opportunities to increase the resilience of pastoralist populations.