Sustainable management and use of natural resources is at the centre of the newly formed "Coalition for Food Security in Ethiopia" as well as the country's Poverty Reduction programme and Rural Development Policies. The priority accorded to arresting the degradation of natural resources is most deserving since it is one of the most serious impediments in attaining the broader objective of Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development (SARD) in the Ethiopian Highlands.
This publication presents the views of national and international experts from various institutions on the threats posed by environmental and natural resources degradation due to population pressure and livestock density, improper farming practices, low productivity at farm level and weak institutions and enabling policies.
Based on the consensus reached during the Workshop and further analysis, the report contributes to both normative and field activities. In the normative area, it provides case studies and insights into methodologies and approaches that could assist in generating project ideas that could be eligible for GEF support, particularly in the area of sustainable land management and mountain ecosystems in other countries. With respect to field activities, the report identifies pilot efforts at the watershed level (such as soil fertility management, water control, agroforestry, bioenergy, and management of wetland and protected areas) that contribute to improved agricultural productivity as well as generating global environmental benefits.
Finally, this publication demonstrates the value of building effective partnerships between national agriculture and research institutions in the South with those in the North. I thank all the partners involved for such an exemplary work and have high hopes that similar efforts will be undertaken to promote SARD in the Eastern and Southern African Highlands, which face similar challenges.
Dietrich E. Leihner
Research, Extension and Training Division