The main objectives of the SLMP are to reverse land and environmental degradation and increase agriculture productivity. Furthermore, the programme helps in reducing Greenhouse Gases emissions through application of climate and environmental friendly technologies. With more than 80% of the population engaged in agricultural activities, agriculture is the core in the Ethiopian economy. Out of the estimated population of the country in 2015, this percentage counts 80 million people – almost 16 times the Norwegian population. Agriculture also contributes with more than 40% of Ethiopia’s GDP. With these facts in mind, it is easy to understand that sustainable land management is key to achieve Ethiopia’s ambitious goals for green growth and reaching middle-income status by 2025.
The SLMP has made several good achievements. Through climate smart agriculture initiatives, degraded areas has been rehabilitated - leading to environmental and economic benefits for the local communities through provision of water, irrigation, bee forage for beekeeping, forage for animals and biomass for household energy. The rehabilitated lands that are not owned by anyone are then distributed to landless youth, engaging them in economic activities. Furthermore, the programme has also created economic opportunities for women, enabling them to be economically independent.
The programme has also enabled communities to be resilient from climate change effects – a factor that is already important, and will continue to be so in the years to come. The current drought situation in Ethiopia, where an estimated 15 million people may be in need of food aid in the next six months (OCHA numbers), is proof.
Without focusing on long term development aid, such as the SLMP, it will be hard to cope with future crisis – such as extreme weather, unpredictable seasons, drought and floods. The current drought situation in Ethiopia has, according to OCHA, lead to displacement of 40,000 people inside the country. This will again most likely lead to international migration. The current migration crisis that has shocked Europe will not stop until the root causes for migration is identified and dealt with. In Ethiopia, climate smart agriculture, and programmes such as SLMP are key in coping with climate change, and can therefore help to secure a sustainable future for the country and its population.