Climate adaptation in Ethiopia

By Oxfam

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Ethiopia is highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate variability. Pastoralists and small-scale farmers are already feeling these impacts in their food security and livelihood opportunities. Oxfam and its partners have been working to design solutions to help them become more resilient. 

Oxfam organized the first National Climate Change Conference in Addis Ababa on January 15, 2009. The conference brought together high-level government officials and policymakers with leaders from civil society organizations, the UN, bilateral and multilateral organizations, and the private sector. The conference spurred the creation of a multi-stakeholder forum, the Climate Change Forum–Ethiopia (CCF–E), intended to facilitate and support climate change research, aid policy coordination around climate change, and share information on the impacts of climate change in Ethiopia. Oxfam and CCF-E held a number of climate hearing events in the run-up to the UN’s Framework Convention of Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP) sessions 16 and 17, in 2010 and 2011, respectively, to make sure that vulnerable communities’ voices were heard in these international events.

Oxfam has been working with poor farmers—who are on the frontlines of dealing with weather uncertainty—to help them manage risks related to climate change. In 2007, Oxfam and a range of partners began to explore designing a risk management tool appropriate for vulnerable farmers. The pilot was known as the Horn of Africa Risk Transfer for Adaptation (HARITA), and it combined drought insurance with disaster risk reduction. It was first tested in Adi Ha, a village in Ethiopia’s northernmost state of Tigray, where Oxfam had humanitarian response and irrigation projects. An innovative element of the pilot was allowing those without cash to pay for their premiums with labor on projects that strengthen communities in the face of climate change.

HARITA evolved to R4, referring to the four risk management strategies that the initiative now integrates: improved resource management (risk reduction), microcredit (prudent risk taking), insurance (risk transfer), and savings (risk reserves). In 2014, R4 entered its sixth year of implementation.  In Ethiopia, in 2012, R4 expanded its operation to a new region, Amhara, with a pilot in one village, while expanding to 76 villages in Tigray.  In 2013, a total of 20,365 farmers purchased insurance, exceeding the goal of 19,000 for the year. The Amhara pilot is being implemented in partnership with the Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara (ORDA); the Relief Society of Tigray (REST) continues to implement R4 in Tigray. Read the 2012 annual report of R4

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