Ethiopia’s policies and programs on sustainable land and water management have evolved over several decades and have had important positive impacts on land management and livelihoods.

These policies and programs can be further transformed and integrated into a new paradigm that will better enable poor smallholder farmers to improve their food security, livelihoods and incomes while conserving the natural resource base.

Implementation of the eight core elements of this paradigm will greatly improve the long-term benefits of the Sustainable Land Management Program and related interventions in Ethiopia.

At local levels it will enable rural women and men to improve their incomes and livelihoods. At national level it will help raise the rate of agricultural growth while conserving precious natural resources.

Essential elements
Eight elements make up the new paradigm. Success is most likely if all of them are included in an integrated way. A landscape or watershed perspective is central to the new paradigm.

  1. Empower local communities and develop their leadership capacities to achieve long-term benefits and sustainable outcomes.
  2. Integrate and share scientific and local knowledge and encourage innovation through ‘learning by doing’.
  3. Strengthen and transform institutional and human capacities among all stakeholders to achieve the potential benefits of sustainable land management.
  4. Create, align and implement incentives for all parties to successfully implement sustainable innovative programs at scale.
  5. Adapt new models, learning and planning tools and improved learning processes to increase the effectiveness of planning, implementation, and capacity building.
  6. Integrate multiple rainwater management interventions at watershed and basin scales to benefit rainwater management programs.
  7. Attend to downstream and off-site benefits of rainwater management as well as upstream or on-farm benefits and costs.
  8. Improve markets, value chains and multi-stakeholder institutions to enhance the benefits and sustainability of rainwater management investments.

Download the brief

Read the full technical report “A new integrated watershed rainwater management paradigm for Ethiopia: Key messages from the Nile Basin Development Challenge, 2009–2013