WASHINGTON, May 23, 2019 — The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $350 million ($70 million grant and $280 million credit) from the International Development Association (IDA) in support of the Government of Ethiopia’s efforts to improve the livelihoods and resilience of 2.5 million pastoralists and agro-pastoralists.
Climate change is a serious concern for millions of Ethiopians. The issue is particularly alarming for the rapidly growing and already vulnerable lowlands population, mainly composed of pastoralists and agro-pastoralists (PAPs). More severe and frequent droughts are leading to more animal death and sickness and making PAP systems more fragile. Access to pastures and water in rangeland areas is also a frequent source of conflict and a major challenge to livelihoods.
“Given the enormity of the challenges, an integrated intervention and significant investments are required to achieve drought-resilient, transformed, and sustainable PAP livelihoods, ecosystems, and institutions,” said Vikas Choudhary, World Bank Task Team Leader for the project.
The Lowlands Livelihood Resilience Project approved today will help to improve the livelihoods and resilience of pastoral and agro-pastoral communities in Ethiopia by addressing their binding constraints. The design of the project was informed by recent studies carried out by the World Bank and development partners, in order to better understand the past and future dynamics in the Ethiopian Lowlands. The studies identified low productivity and limited market links, high vulnerability of main livelihoods, inability to diversify livelihoods as well as limited delivery of social and economic services as the binding constraints to livelihoods in Ethiopia’s Lowlands.
“The project will put communities in charge of their own development priorities by enabling them to identify, lead and manage local development initiatives,” said Carolyn Turk, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan and South Sudan.
By focusing on rangelands and introducing simple practices of natural resource management and pasture improvement, soil and water conservation measures and through knowledge sharing, awareness creation and financing appropriate investments, the project will reduce long-term environmental degradation and communities’ vulnerability to climate change related droughts. The project will also facilitate access to crucial social services such water resources to communities, upgrade veterinary facilities and help construct key infrastructure such as bridges roads, livestock markets, small scale irrigation schemes.
To foster improvements in livelihoods, the project will support the introduction of technologies that improve animal productivity (i.e. milk and meat production). Furthermore, it will improve market linkages and commercialization by facilitating the development of partnerships between private companies and groups of producers.
“The introduction of a coherent and participatory approach to rangeland management lies at the heart of this project to mobilize the resources of the Ethiopian Lowlands for more resilient livelihoods," added Mark Cackler, Practice Manager for Agriculture and Food Security.