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SCALA Ethiopia

SCALA Ethiopia


Ethiopia is a landlocked country in Northeast Africa and has a population of over 112 million people. Its agriculture sector plays a major role in the national economy, contributing to 34.5 percent of GDP in 2020. Smallholder farming accounts for approximately 95 percent of agricultural production and 85 percent of total employment. In Ethiopia, agriculture and land-use are high GHG emitting sectors with around 80 percent of domestic emissions. Ethiopia’s agriculture sector is extremely vulnerable to climate change due to its high dependence on natural resources, and relatively low adaptive capacity – especially in rural areas – to deal with frequently experienced extreme events and longer-term variability, including droughts and floods, rainfall variability and pest invasions.

Country Climate Plans

The Government of Ethiopia submitted its nationally determined contribution (NDC) to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2016, and formally submitted an updated NDC in July 2021. The updated NDC builds on, and is in line with, the country’s development goals as laid out in its Growth and Transformation Plan II, its Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy, the emerging Long-Term Low Emission Development Strategy, the Green Legacy Initiative, and Ethiopia’s 10-year Development Plan. The bulk of Ethiopia’s NDC adaptation commitments are focused on the agriculture and land use sectors, with priority areas including livestock diversification, drought-resistant animal breeding, rangeland management, crop, and livestock insurance. Ethiopia formulated its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) in 2017, along with a NAP Implementation Roadmap that further categorized the short-term adaptation priorities (such as capacity building, strengthening the enabling environment and promoting research), as well as long-term sector-specific priorities.

In its final National Adaptation Plan (NAP-ETH, 2019), Ethiopia prioritized adaptation in the sectors considered most vulnerable to climate change, namely: agriculture, forestry, health, transport, energy, industry, water and urban. Within these sectors, 18 adaptation options are identified for implementation at all administrative levels, recognizing the considerable diversity in context and vulnerability across Ethiopia’s regions and social groups. Ethiopia is working to integrate climate information into planning and decision-making for development interventions, and prioritizing climate resilience across policies to improve the adaptive capacity at national/federal, regional and Woreda levels. The plan is guided by the principles of participation, coherent interventions, stakeholder empowerment, gender sensitivity, equitable implementation, and partnership, especially with the private sector.


Whilst Ethiopia has made strides in mainstreaming adaptation and mitigation priorities into its national agriculture development plans and projects, one of the main barriers to achieving adaptation and mitigation goals remains the limited understanding and technical capacity for implementing them at the local level.  It was identified in the CRGE Strategy progress report that there is limited capacity at the local level to carry out climate risk and vulnerability assessments, gender analysis and assessments, and cost benefit analyses for prioritising adaptation and mitigation options.

Given SCALA’s programme objectives to achieve systems-level transformative change, the programme in consultation with Ethiopia’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Finance, and its Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC), has identified livelihood-centred agro-ecological transitions as a priority. Preliminary work under SCALA has also identified entry points for catalysing transformative climate action in the agriculture and land use sector within selected agro-ecological zones (AEZ). For example, with the need for more gender-responsive climate risk analyses, the SCALA programme plans to carry out a gender analysis of selected value chains in vulnerable AEZs. This will include an appraisal of the cost and benefits of value chain-based interventions to spur inclusive climate action. Establishing a strong evidence base that is also rooted in local contexts would then set the foundation for designing a transformative climate action implementation plan at local levels, with a gender and social inclusion lens.

Project details

In Ethiopia, SCALA focuses on community-based watershed management and small ruminant value chain development, emphasizing the social and economic inclusion of smallholder farmers and women.

SCALA is conducting a systems-level assessment in three micro-watersheds in the Amhara, Oromia, and Harari regions. Using a gender-responsive and community-based watershed management approach, the assessment aims to identify local and context-specific interventions that have the potential to foster transformative change. The results of the study will guide local development planning, including watershed management plans, and the design of project concept notes that will catalyze investment for implementation. As part of this effort, a three-day training workshop on the UNDP-FAO value chain analysis toolkit was held with stakeholders from the government, civil society, and the private sector. 

At the request of the Ministry of Agriculture, the Programme undertook an analysis of the barriers to the adoption of climate-smart agriculture in Ethiopia, which will support the implementation of the NDC, NAP and overall climate resilient green economy strategy. SCALA also supported the Ministry of Finance’s Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia (EPA) in submitting a funding proposal to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) ”Funding for Enabling Activity”, to strengthen national capacities to submit the Biennial Transparency Report (BTR) in line with the requirements of the Enhanced Transparency Framework of the Paris Agreement.

In addition, SCALA contributed to a monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) needs assessment for the agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) sector, laying the groundwork for a subsequent MRV training programme. SCALA also provided capacity-building trainings to Ethiopian federal ministries to support the preparation of the Third National Communication to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

SCALA also conducted a gender-responsive and climate-resilient value chain analysis to identify risks, barriers, and opportunities for private sector engagement in climate solutions in the agriculture and land-use sectors in two micro-watersheds in the Oromia and Harari regions. The results of the analysis will inform private sector business cases, feasibility assessments and project concept notes.

Moving ahead, SCALA in Ethiopia aims to:

  • Conduct an assessment of Ethiopia's NAP and NDC implementation in the land-use and agriculture sector to identify gaps and needs.
  • Develop an action plan to improve the MRV system for the AFOLU sector, and subsequently organize an MRV training.
  • Conduct an analysis of opportunities, risks and barriers for private sector investment and de-risking measures and viable business models for transformative climate actions in priority systems.
  • Conduct private sector mapping as part of the systems-level assessment to identify opportunities for private sector engagement and investment opportunities in transformative climate action in priority landscapes and livelihood systems.
  • Develop a project concept note to unlock private sector investment in climate-resilient, community-based watershed management solutions in agriculture.
Agriculture/Food Security
Level of intervention
  • National
  • Regional
  • Global
Key collaborators
  • Country Office
  • National Governments
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Project status
Under Implementation


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