National and Sub-national Gov’ts Collaborate to Implement Ethiopia’s NAP

by Asrat Yirgu, IISD/MEFCC, and Angie Dazé, IISD

Climate variability is nothing new in Ethiopia. 

However, recent years have seen the southern and central parts of the country experience the worst drought in over 50 years, followed by another severe drought in 2016, which again affected the southern parts of the country, as well as the Somali region in the east.

Today, many parts of the country remain in a crisis situation due to the impacts on food security.  The need to build resilience to climate risks, particularly for the poorest women and men, has never been more apparent.

Recognizing this, the Government of Ethiopia is in the process of finalizing its national adaptation plan document (NAP-ETH), which aims to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change by building adaptive capacity and resilience and to mainstream adaptation in policies across sectors and levels.  The NAP-ETH falls under Ethiopia’s existing Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, which sets out the country’s ambition to achieve middle-income economy status by 2025 while also achieving climate resilience and zero net greenhouse gas emissions. The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MEFCC) has been the focal ministry for the Ethiopia’s NAP, coordinating consultations with other line ministries and sub-national stakeholders.

Debasu Bayleyegn Eyasu speaks during a recent workshop on strategic planning in the NAP process.

Ethiopia’s NAP is a country-driven process: “Over the past three years, we prepared this NAP document not by procuring consultants, but through incorporating experts from line ministries, with technical support from USAID to build our capacity,” said Debasu Bayleyegn Eyasu, the Director General for Climate Change Implementation Coordination in MEFCC.  The resulting document provides a roadmap for achieving climate resilience through a range of adaptation options targeting key sectors.  With this in place, the government is now looking towards implementation of the adaptation options identified in the NAP.

The NAP Global Network, through the US In-Country NAP Support program, worked with MEFCC to host a strategic planning workshop to identify next steps to move the NAP process forward.  The discussions focused on the strategic priorities outlined in the document, which provide the foundation for implementation of adaptation actions.  A question that emerged early in this workshop was: how can the national government collaborate more closely with sub-national governments for successful NAP implementation.

Vertical integration in Ethiopia’s NAP process

As Ethiopia approaches NAP implementation, it’s an important moment to consider vertical integration—the process of creating intentional and strategic linkages between national and sub-national adaptation planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation (M&E).  Ethiopia’s governance structure is divided into federal, regional, zonal and woreda levels, which all have existing responsibilities related to adaptation under the CRGE. In line with the priorities identified in the NAP-ETH, workshop participants emphasized the need to strengthen institutional structures and build capacity for adaptation at all levels of government.

Ethiopia’s NAP document establishes a mandate for vertical integration by assigning responsibility for prioritization and implementation of adaptation options to regional and woreda governments.  Vertical integration is also critical for key principles for the NAP document, including participation, stakeholder empowerment, gender sensitivity and equitable implementation.  “The MEFCC is in the role of coordination for the line ministries, the regional EPA, and also the responsibility for coordinating the regional bureaus, and so it is vital to have vertical integration for the implementation of the NAP,” said Kahsay Hagos, a climate change expert with MEFCC.

Workshop participants identified a number of ways in which a foundation already exists for vertical integration in their NAP process: the CRGE strategy raised awareness of adaptation across levels of government; many of the overarching policies are already in place; and there is existing support for adaptation from national and international actors.

However, there are also gaps still to be addressed in order to strengthen national-to-local linkages in Ethiopia’s NAP process, including capacity gaps, the need for mechanisms to share information across levels, and a lack of uniformity in institutional arrangements across sectors and regions, as well as the need for a strong M&E system that covers all levels.

Who leads? Making adaptation iterative across levels of government

The NAP-ETH falls under Ethiopia’s existing Climate-Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy.

As adaptation actions are often localized, a number of workshop participants noted the importance of having inputs from communities to shape adaptation plans at sub-national levels. From another perspective, other participants also noted the need to maintain a coherent national vision for adaptation.

Both the national and local perspectives are important. The NAP process is intended to be iterative, with adaptation actions adjusted based on new information, learning and evidence of what’s working and what isn’t. Planning, implementation and M&E processes at different levels must be joined up and inform each other over time.  As the Ethiopian NAP moves into implementation, it will be keeping an open dialogue between national and sub-national governments, as well as other stakeholders from civil society and the private sector.

As resilience-building efforts scale up across Ethiopia, MEFCC’s coordinating role to help build closer relationships between national and sub-national governments to foster vertical integration will continue to be crucial.

Any opinions stated in this blog post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of the NAP Global Network, its funders or Network participants.

Read more about vertical integration in the NAP process.

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