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Farm Africa and Sida launch new Nature-Based Solutions programme in Ethiopia

06 June 2023

Farm Africa and Sida launch new Nature-Based Solutions programme in Ethiopia

In a significant move towards advancing sustainable development and biodiversity in Ethiopia, Farm Africa and the Swedish Embassy in Ethiopia signed a $11.5 million grant agreement on 2 June 2023 for a new programme, Nature-Based Solutions for Sustainable and Inclusive Development.

The four-year programme aims to sustainably manage forests, conserve biodiversity, build communities’ resilience to climate change and develop sustainable livelihoods through holistic nature-based solutions across three eco-regional clusters: Wabi-Shebele and Gelale-Dawa, Omo-Gibe and Baro-Akobo, and Rift Valley and Awash basins.

The programme will be delivered by a consortium of nine partner organisations: Farm Africa (lead), SOS Sahel Ethiopia (SOS-E), Movement for Ecological Learning and Community Action (MELCA), Sustainable Environment and Development Action (SEDA), ORDA Ethiopia, Population Health & Environment - Ethiopia Consortium (PHE-EC), Union of Ethiopian Women and Children Associations (UEWCA), Environment and Coffee Forest Forum (ECFF), International Water Management Institute (IWMI). 

Funded by Sida, the major investment will benefit over 87,000 Ethiopian households, including smallholder farmers, community-based organisations, entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises and community leaders.

Farmers living in these regions face complex challenges such as limited access to agricultural inputs, and lack of knowledge on sustainable land management, which have depleted soil fertility. As a result, agricultural productivity remains low, which has led to reduced food security and incomes for farmers and their families.

To address these pressing issues, the programme will focus on five mutually reinforcing outcomes:

  • improved natural resources, biodiversity, and ecosystem services;
  • enhanced sustainable food and nutrition security;
  • inclusive livelihood development;
  • increased climate adaptation and mitigation;
  • reduced resource-based conflicts through gender-sensitive inter-community peace and conflict resolution.

Shewit Emmanuel, Farm Africa’s Ethiopia Country Director said, “We have evolved our approach to integrated landscape management to look at how climate-smart agriculture fits with forestry and other natural resource management, including rangelands. At the heart of the approach across the seven regions is a focus on supporting low-income communities to develop environmentally-friendly livelihoods. It’s about scaling up all the best practices Farm Africa and implementing partners have developed so far with support from Sida, and I just want to say thank you so much for the continued support the Swedish government has extended to us.”

Swedish Ambassador to Ethiopia, Hans Henric Lundquist, commented, “The overall objective of this support is to build resilience capacity of vulnerable communities with special attention to women and youth through enhanced natural resource management, increased market integration and institutional development in six areas in Ethiopia to support food and nutrition security of more than 78,000 households through enhanced environmental governance and sustainable livelihood development.”

The financial support will also enable the programme to benefit communities in neighbouring countries, by enhancing ecosystem services such as hydrological regulation, wildlife conservation and biodiversity conservation. South Sudan, Northern Kenya and Somalia will particularly benefit from the programme’s forest conservation work.

In addition to the grant agreement, Farm Africa also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture to establish collaboration and partnership in natural resources, forest management and biodiversity. This broader scope of cooperation will enable Farm Africa and the Ministry to work together not only on the Sida-funded project but also on future initiatives.

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