Within Nigeria and Ghana, pastoralists face increasing adversity from climate change and marginalisation due to a complex combination of factors, further amplified by highly sensitive and increasingly violent conflicts with farmers. While climate change exacerbates the vulnerability of pastoralists, this remains largely unaccounted for in current Nigerian and Ghanaian pastoral livestock policy. Employing a thematic analytical approach, the article assesses the representation of pastoralists within climate change adaptation strategies in Ghana and Nigeria, and the impact of this on their livelihoods. Our findings indicate that pastoralists are poorly represented in current policy, which is inclined towards transitions to intensive sedentary systems. This risks enhancing the vulnerability of pastoralists to climate impacts by constraining mobility. We conclude that improved clarity on how these policies account for climate change in transitioning pastoral systems into intensive sedentary systems could encourage compliance and buy-in by pastoralists and farmers. It is recommended that future livestock policies address climate change and bolster producer mobility to better support the livelihoods of pastoralists.