Promoting Autonomous Adaptation at the Community Level in Ethiopia


Climate change is already affecting the security of Ethiopia's sustainable development because the livelihoods of the majority of the population are sensitive to climate-related shocks, including drought and flooding. This is due, in part, to the reliance of the economy on rainfed agricultural production. Additionally, as a result of the growing population (population growth rate is currently 2.6% per year), the per capita availability of environmental resources (including arable land, water, pasture, forest and biodiversity) is declining.  Climate change threatens to exacerbate the impacts of the over or misuse of the country's environmental resources (including arable land, water, pasture, forest and biodiversity), with concomitant impacts on Ethiopia's environmental, food, water and energy securities.  Currently, approximately 8.29 million people are already considered 'chronically' food insecure while approximately 6.71 million people face 'transitory' food insecurity, both of which are characterised by a weak resilience to withstand climate-related shocks, such as severe droughts.

The Ethiopian Government has acknowledged the climate change risk the country faces and has stated it as a priority development issue for the country. Currently, adaptation initiatives are being rolled out on a national to local scale, but these are primarily restricted to specific sectoral interventions (for example food security, or environmental protection, or disaster management) and are project based; which means communities are often provided an incomplete set of tools from which to build their overall resilience to climate change. There remains a need to consolidate these interventions, ensure they are robust to a range of likely climate change-futures and integrated into comprehensive adaptation action. This coordination and consolidation is a primary goal of this project.

Based on the successes of this project, a new proposal is being developed by UNDP in concert with the Government of Ethiopia to fund the Upscaling Community-Based Adaptation in Ethiopia project with US$8.8 in proposed funding from the Global Environment Facility Least Developed Country Fund and US$29 million in co-financing.

Source: UNDP Ethiopia Project Identification Form (February 4, 2010).

Project Details

Preliminary climate change assessments predict GDP losses of as much as 8% per year based on current climate predictions. Reductions of this level will inevitably negatively affect the government's ability to invest in the nation's development; increasing the responsibility for adaptation on society as a whole.  In such a situation, it will be the poorest communities who will be the least able to adapt. Amongst these groups, it is recognized that women are amongst the most vulnerable. Ethiopia's Policy on Women acknowledges that women have lacked the opportunities provided to men and as a result they fall behind men in all fields of self-advancement.  Climate change will affect the socially constructed role dynamics between men and women and may undermine efforts to build more equitable access to development. These role dynamics may need to be changed to enable men and women to improve their responsive and adaptive capacity. If under climate change-induced stress, institutional structures place unequal emphasis on responding to the needs of men and women, they risk weakening the adaptive capacity of one group over another. The project aims to build community self-reliance, so that dependence on the State for adaptation resources is reduced as communities themselves - both men and women - tailor adaptation technologies and techniques to their own needs. 

The project seeks to do this by integrating climate risk reducing technologies and processes under a common area-based climate plan that ensures comprehensive gender aware adaptation.  This approach acknowledges that many of the priority climate change adaptation actions of the National Adaptation Plan for Action (NAPA) have now been taken up in one way or another, but that there remains a need to consolidate the isolated projects into a set of comprehensive adaptation actions. Research in Ethiopia highlights this by showing how development programmes have failed by not integrating efforts to diversify agricultural production with soil and water conservation efforts. To do this, Ethiopia may need to develop new planning tools to identify and implement comprehensive development plans robust enough to withstand different future climatic conditions and this project will provide a mechanism to develop, test and scale up the process of integrating climate change risks and adaptation into sub-national development plans by building capacity for local planners and communities to tailor local adaptation responses to the specific conditions in which the actions will take place. At the local level, new technologies, or traditional technologies used in new ways, will be required to ensure adaptation efforts can efficiently maintain the productivity, and sustainability, of development.  These adaptation actions, and associated technologies or practices, will build on the natural resilience and innovativeness of Ethiopia's people so that they build self-reliance and the capacity to continue the adaptive process without external aid and support. The project will provide the framework for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into integrated development planning at the local level and enable the investment of international adaptation resources to deliver effective scaled up action on the ground.

The project site will include eight Woredas (districts) in each of the four main regions (Amhara, Oromiya, Tigray and SNNP). At each site, participants will test and then prepare the ground for scaled-up integrated adaptation action.  In each Woreda, the project plans to work in five Kebeles (communities), although the exact numbers of households, and associated hectares of land expected to benefit from this project,will have to be defined  during the PPG  phase to ensure sufficient focus for cost-effective interventions. 

Source: UNDP Ethiopia Project Identification Form (February 4, 2010)

Climate-Related Hazards Addressed: 
Level of Intervention: 
Implementing Agencies & Partnering Organizations: 
Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Project Status: 
Under Implementation
Financing Amount: 
5,310,000 (As of August 31, 2010)
Co-Financing Total: 
24,720,000 (As of August 31, 2010)

Key Results and Outputs

  • Outcome 1: 1. Sub-national institutional capacities for coordinated climate-resilient planning and investment strengthened; local institutional capacities for coordinated, climate resilient planning strengthened; regional institutional capacities for coordinating financing and managing climate risk-reducing investments strengthened
    • Output 1.1: Institutional capacity to support climate risk management within 40 Kebeles developed by training of development agents and Kebele Council
    • Output 1.2: Training and support provided to 40 Kebeles to undertake climate vulnerability profiles to identify adaptation priorities
    • Output 1.3: Integrated climate change/disaster risk management plan at the regional and local level for key sectors (water, agriculture, energy & forestry) developed
    • Output 1.4: Tools developed, applied and reviewed in Addis region to identify vulnerable areas, technology gaps, inefficiencies, high climate impact and environmentally intensive practices as part of their planning process, without external technical assistance
  • Outcome 2: Access to technologies and practices that improve the range and efficiency of adaptation options improved
    • Output 2.1: Innovative and indigenous adaptation technologies from priority sectors (water, energy, land management, agriculture, pest management, forestry) reviewed for cost effectiveness
    • Output 2.2: Technologies combined and  package of integrated adaptation responses for local and regional development planning institutions to apply at community level developed
    • Output 2.3: Training to decision-makers and technical staff in 40 Kebeles provided to develop demonstrations of the packaged adaptation options and deliver cost-effectiveness analysis
  • Outcome 3: Capacity for community-based climate change adaptation improved; community vulnerabilities and early warning responses built into multi-sector planning at regional and local levels; capacity in the community improved to build climate-resilient livelihoods and manage climate-related risks
    • Output 3.1: Capacity strengthening of sector ministries and local Govt staff to use downscaled forecast information in weather-sensitive support for community adaptation undertaken
    • Output 3.2: Community weather information disseminated using cost-effective local systems to enable access to real time agro-meteorological information for decision-making
    • Output 3.3: Training to 5000 farmers in selected Kebeles provided to apply and promote adaptation responses
    • Output 3.4: Adaptation responses to improve ecological resilience and agricultural productivity in the face of climate change implemented in 40 Kebeles
  • Outcome 4: Experiences documented and used to promote scaled up action; experiences and best practices documented and disseminated; scale-up plan developed and first implementation steps undertaken
    • Output 4.1: Eight Woreda learning centres set up to extend lessons to other communities in selected Woredas
    • Output 4.2: Cost-benefit evidence documented and provided to national institutions to inform national climate strategy development and review
    • Output 4.3: The Climate Resilience Strategy for Addis Ababa developed to attract financing
    • Output 4.4: Based on the tested integrated adaptation packages, a costed scale-up plan for 150 Woredas prepared

Source: UNDP Ethiopia Project Identification Form (February 4, 2010)

Monitoring and Evaluation

Project Start:

  • Project Inception Workshop: will be held within the first 2 months of project start with those with assigned roles in the project organization structure, UNDP country office and where appropriate/feasible regional technical policy and programme advisors as well as other stakeholders.  The Inception Workshop is crucial to building ownership for the project results and to plan the first year annual work plan. 


  • Day to day monitoring of implementation progress: will be the responsibility of the Project Manager, based on the project's Annual Work Plan and its indicators, with overall guidance from the Project Director. The Project Team will inform the UNDP-CO of any delays or difficulties faced during implementation so that the appropriate support or corrective measures can be adopted in a timely and remedial fashion.


  • Project Progress Reports (PPR): quarterly reports will be assembled based on the information recorded and monitored in the UNDP Enhanced Results Based Management Platform. Risk analysis will be logged and regularly updated in ATLAS.


  • Annual Project Review/Project Implementation Reports (APR/PIR): This key report is prepared to monitor progress made since project start and in particular for the previous reporting period (30 June to 1 July).  The APR/PIR combines both UNDP and GEF reporting requirements.  

Periodic Monitoring through Site Visits:

  • UNDP CO and the UNDP RCU will conduct visits to project sites based on the agreed schedule in the project's Inception Report/Annual Work Plan to assess first hand project progress.  Other members of the Project Board may also join these visits.  A Field Visit Report/BTOR will be prepared by the CO and UNDP RCU and will be circulated no less than one month after the visit to the project team and Project Board members.

Mid-Term of Project Cycle:

  • Mid-Term Evaluation: will determine progress being made toward the achievement of outcomes and will identify course correction if needed.  It will focus on the effectiveness, efficiency and timeliness of project implementation; will highlight issues requiring decisions and actions; and will present initial lessons learned about project design, implementation and management.  Findings of this review will be incorporated as recommendations for enhanced implementation during the final half of the project’s term.  

End of Project:

  • Final Evaluation: will take place three months prior to the final Project Board meeting and will be undertaken in accordance with UNDP and GEF guidance.  The final evaluation will focus on the delivery of the project’s results as initially planned (and as corrected after the mid-term evaluation, if any such correction took place).  The final evaluation will look at impact and sustainability of results, including the contribution to capacity development and the achievement of global environmental benefits/goals.  The Terminal Evaluation should also provide recommendations for follow-up activities.
  • Project Terminal Report: This comprehensive report will summarize the results achieved (objectives, outcomes, outputs), lessons learned, problems met and areas where results may not have been achieved.  It will also lie out recommendations for any further steps that may need to be taken to ensure sustainability and replicability of the project’s results.

Learning and Knowledge Sharing:

  • Results from the project will be disseminated within and beyond the project intervention zone through existing information sharing networks and forums. 
  • The project will identify and participate, as relevant and appropriate, in scientific, policy-based and/or any other networks, which may be of benefit to project implementation though lessons learned. The project will identify, analyze, and share lessons learned that might be beneficial in the design and implementation of similar future projects.
  • Finally, there will be a two-way flow of information between this project and other projects of a similar focus. 



Shimelis Fekadu
Country Officer
Jessica Troni
Regional Technical Advisor