Climate Change Impact, Vulnerability and Adaptation Strategy in Ethiopia: A Review

Negussie Zeray, Ashebir Demie


Review of long-term climate data for Ethiopia shows increasing rainfall for some regions and decreasing rainfall for others with temperature rising for all regions (Energy Group of ECSNCC Network, 2011). Global circulation models predict a 1.7-2.1ºC rise in Ethiopia's mean temperature by 2050 (EPA, 2012). Average annual temperatures nationwide are expected to rise 3.1°C by 2060, and 5.1°C by 2090 (Kidanu et al., 2009). In addition, precipitation is projected to decrease from an annual average of 2.04 mm/day (1961-1990) to 1.97 mm/day (2070-2099), for a cumulative decline in rainfall by 25.5 mm/year (Kidanu et al., 2009). This could cause food insecurity, outbreak of diseases such as malaria, dengue fever, cholera and dysentery, malnutrition, land degradation and damage to infrastructure (Kidanu et al., 2009; Adem and Bewket, 2011; Adem and Guta, 20011; Oates et al., 2011; EPA, 2012).

The current development plan, GTP, envisages the country’s GDP per capita to grow from 378 USD in 2010 to 1271 USD in 2025. It also projects that the contribution of agriculture will diminish from 42% to 29% indicating migration of jobs from the agriculture sector to industry and services, which are expected to contribute 32% and 39% of the GDP (FDRE, CRGE, 2011). The GTP explicitly recognizes that environment is a vital and important pillar of sustainable development, and states that “building a ‘Green Economy’ and ongoing implementation of environmental laws are among the key strategic directions to be pursued during the plan period” (MoFED, 2010; EPA, 2012). To protect its citizens from such devastating catastrophe and to attain its vision of becoming a middle income country by 2025, the government of Ethiopia has adopted a climate resilient green economy strategy to keep its development objectives on track in the context of a changing climate.

Adem and Bewket (2011) contend that addressing current and future climate vulnerabilities in development planning and programming through mainstreaming of climate change adaptation should be an immediate priority for Ethiopia. Being prepared to adapt to climate change is important, even as the world strives to reduce the factors that cause it (Adem and Bewket, 2011). Kidanu et al. (2009) claim that including voluntary reproductive health and family planning as a core component of integrated community approaches and strengthening the country’s national family planning program will increase the effectiveness of climate change adaptation efforts in Ethiopia. According to Adem and Bewket (2011), development as usual, without consideration of climate risks and opportunities, will lead to maladaptive practices weakening national resilience to climate change in Ethiopia.

In a nut-shell, Ethiopia’s endeavours to respond to the impacts of climate change through adaptation and mitigation policy frameworks are highly appreciable (Adem and Bewket, 2011). Nevertheless, the practical implementation of these policy frameworks is impaired by different challenges. Therefore the main focus of this paper is to show climate change impacts, vulnerability and adaptation strategy in Ethiopia.

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