Warming to change? Ethiopian pastoralism & climate policy
A Future Agricultures Working Paper addresses how policy responses to climate change are shaping the agricultural – including pastoral – sector in Ethiopia. Warming to change? Climate policy and agricultural development in Ethiopia (2013) highlights multiple responses, including those under the banner of “green” economic development, with a focus on developing a low-carbon economy by 2025. Emerging policy narratives centre on achieving “climate-smart” agriculture, establishing more intensified and commercial approaches and, in the livestock sector, seeking major transformations in pastoralism within the lowlands.
The section on policy narratives related to pastoralist transformation shows how the Ethiopian Government is trying to sedentarise pastoralists so that they can enter more commercial forms of production. This is driven by a belief that climate change makes pastoralist systems more vulnerable and less resilient. The idea of sedentarisation thus becomes part of a wider narrative on disaster risk reduction and preparedness. Alternative narratives suggest that the very resilience of much of the pastoralist population is compromised by focusing on climate-change mitigation and adaptation within agricultural transformation.
The paper suggests that externally driven policy processes are crowding out more coherent analyses of key national-level resource management and development issues. A rush for climate finance may stifle important local knowledge and experience from below that can better inform policy responses.