Building the national capacity and knowledge on climate change resilient actions in Ethiopia

In Ethiopia, changes in temperature and precipitation patterns have already been observed. In the short and medium term, these changing conditions could seriously hamper the economic growth of the country as its main driver for economic development, the agriculture sector, is highly climate sensitive.

Climate change is a recent area of concern in Ethiopia. It will be included as a cross-cutting issue in the next Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP), so enhancing the capacities of public institutions, private companies and non-state actors is of utmost importance for providing essential skills to enable stakeholders to fulfil their institution’s roles and mandates.

GCCA support will contribute towards achieving Ethiopia's ‘Climate Resilient Green Economy’ (CRGE) strategy through capacity building and promotion of sustainable land management. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been designated to coordinate and make climate change policy an integral part of development initiatives. In this context, key issues have been identified which include the need for a strategic and operational focus with actions concentrated on specific responses; and the need to address immediately and directly the preservation/restoration of ecosystems that are functioning but are at risk of degradation, or are already in need of urgent rehabilitation.

The results of the project are incredible. We are witnessing great success in reducing soil erosion, increased biomass for livestock and reducing expansion of gully formation.’
Member of Yezat Watershed Committee, Central Highlands of Ethiopia, discussing the existing Sustainable Land Management project outcomes, on which the GCCA-supported intervention builds

Targeting capacity building and sustainable land management

Overall objective:

Contribute towards achieving Ethiopia's Climate Resilient Green Economy through capacity building and sustainable land management.

Specific objective:

Increase the awareness and capacity of targeted government institutions, both at federal and regional levels, and the rural population at large, to deal with climate change.

Main expected results and activities 

Climate change activities have successfully been field-tested in the areas targeted by the Sustainable Land Management programme.

The Sustainable Land Management (SLM) programme supports land registration and uses watershed-based approaches to rehabilitate degraded lands and improve farmer’s livelihoods. Activities here will include rehabilitation of degraded watersheds; developing the potential of rehabilitated watersheds; and fostering access to carbon finance opportunities from agriculture and participatory forest management actions. It will also involve soil and nutrient management; crop choice and optimisation of planting dates for climate change adaptation; water use efficiency for climate change adaptation; and increasing farmers' access to market opportunities and storage facilities.

Key achievements 
  • All regions involved (initially Amhara, Oromia and Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples regions) have conducted project launching workshops at regional and woreda levels. Technical committees and project steering committees have also been established at regional and woreda levels.
  • Awareness-raising meetings have been held for stakeholders.
  • Baseline household surveys, as well as watershed identification and mapping, have been completed.
  • •    About 40 nursery sites have been established across the concerned regions to produce seedlings for the protection and conservation of natural resources in the targeted watersheds.  11.6 million tree/shrub seedlings have been produced and planted.
  • 46 participatory forest users groups have been organized to manage 1,999 ha of previously degraded land.
  • In total, 1,779 fuel saving stoves have been distributed to beneficiaries.
  • Animal fodder production has been undertaken on 129 hectares, and 2,277 farmers have been enabled to practice stall keeping, cut-and-carry, silage making and hay management.
  • 279 sets of improved beehives and accessories, including beekeepers suits and honey processors, have been distributed to promote honey production on rehabilitated land.
  • 114 hand dug wells and 34 household water harvesting ponds have been constructed for public water supply and irrigation purposes.
  • In Oromia region, 5 000 apple seedlings imported from Spain have been supplied to beneficiaries, and the construction of a small-scale irrigation scheme has started. In total, 937 fuel saving stoves have been adopted by households, with nine existing stove producer groups being supported.
  • Training has been delivered to 200 government development agents and 430 farmers on climate-smart and energy-saving technologies that can help in adaptation, reducing deforestation and forest degradation and improving livelihoods.
  • Farmers are now testing combinations of agronomic practices such as strip cropping, row planting and alley cropping, and use new hillside terraces, micro-basins and stone faced soil bunds constructed to improve moisture use efficiency, reduce soil loss and prevent land degradation. Preliminary results show that about a 34% yield increase in the Amhara region through the application a new "Kuncho" teff variety (teff is an annual grass that has the potential to be used as a quick growing forage available in the mid-summer, when water supply is short and may lead to the failure of traditional crops).
Lessons learned 
  • Government ownership of the programme design is high but adequate time is needed for consultation during formulation. 
  • Experience sharing among regions involved in project implementation, notably through field visits, is critical to identify best practices and boost the outcomes of the project.
  • Using community facilitators in the process of executing the GCCA activities has proved instrumental for the results achieved to date.
  • Although only in its second year of implementation, the project is demonstrating visible impacts in the area of improved agronomic practices through the implementation of row planting, the use of improved seed, and the use of efficient fuel stoves. This has resulted in improvements in the health of the wider population, particularly for women and girls who were regularly exposed to smoke in closed cooking areas.
Way forward 

Coordination is to be strengthened at federal, regional and woreda levels to speed up implementation of activities planned under the sustainable land management component. Indeed, the second phase of Sustainable Land Management programme (SLMP) has been officially launched recently and the GCCA project will continue to coordinate with the new SLMP 2.