Climate change and weather-related disasters threaten the safety and livelihoods of 110 million people across Ethiopia, currently one of the fastest-growing economies in the world.
Experts predict that the average temperature in the Greater Horn of Africa region is rising and could increase by about 2-5 degrees centigrade by the end of the century. This would make climate-related challenges – from droughts, flooding, famine, to conflicts – an even bigger threat to vulnerable communities.
Agriculture is the mainstay of Ethiopia’s economy. More than three quarters of the population depend on rain-fed agriculture – a sector that contributes over 40% to the economy and employs 85% of the labor force.
Climate change and weather variability could significantly affect this key economic sector, possibly decreasing agriculture productivity by 28%. That would have an adverse impact on the economy and population.
To help overcome this challenge, the African Development Bank invested 1 million euros through the ClimDev Fund to improve the National Meteorology Agency’s capacity to develop information products crucial for effective climate action.
The project’s key achievements include:
In all, the project installed 18 automatic weather stations – increasing the number of these stations countrywide from 271 to 289; and procured 3 mobile automatic weather station calibration units. These actions helped to improve the capacity of the National Meteorology Agency to monitor the performance of the automatic weather stations nationwide and relay real-time hydro met measurements from district meteorological centers to Addis Ababa for further analysis. The result was an increase in weather stations and forecasting accuracy of more than 20 percent.
Improved climate data accessibility, forecast and early warning
Early warning and advisory services were improved by making the communication and dissemination system more user-friendly. meteorologists and technicians were trained in historical data rescue and management, short-term and long-term forecasting and mobile phone data exchange systems. These efforts enhanced Ethiopia’s satellite-based monitoring capacity for rainfall estimation, climate change trend analysis, and in identifying climate extreme hotspot areas, vegetation and other satellite products in more than half of the country.
These efforts are expected to lower the number of people affected by droughts, floods and land degradation from the current 6 million to a projected 2 million by 2025.
Strengthened key stakeholder and household climate change adaptation capacity
The project’s strong focus on community engagement was key, with training and “Last Mile” communication solutions that elevated understanding of climate risks and achieved sustainable use of meteorological products and services among key stakeholders and local communities.
The project trained development agents, including agriculture extension staff, on the use of National Meteorology Agency climate services and products. Farmers’ groups were trained ahead of the agricultural season to first analyze historical climate information and then use participatory tools to develop and choose crop, livestock and livelihood options best suited to individual farmers’ circumstances. Then at key intervals in the season, extension staff and farmers considered the practical implications of seasonal and short-term forecasts on their plans.
In all, these efforts not only improved farmers’ capacity to respond to extreme weather and climate events; they are expected to reduce crop loss by 25% and loss of livestock due to drought over pastoral areas of the country from 27% to 10%, by 2025.
Blogger’s Bio: Solomon Ngoze is a Climate Change Sector Expert with the ClimDev Fund
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