A new report by BRACED looks at how non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are contributing to climate information systems in Ethiopia.
As climate change progresses, its impacts increasingly affect development activities. The ‘resilience agenda’, whereby actors seek to reduce vulnerability and strengthen resilience as a means to mitigate climatic challenges, has gained more and more attention. By focusing more on climate resilience, more diverse relationships have emerged due to the interrelations between climate, health, poverty and wellbeing; this has made the work of development partners, like NGOs, more complex.
One major change has been the increased emphasis on climate information services. Emergency response programmes are supported by forecasting, and early warning data is used to adjust the implementation of safety nets. NGOs all over the world have diversified their skillsets and relationships to strengthen climate information service capacities under the banner of the resilience agenda.
To understand this shift better, BRACED has traced the changes that have occurred in Ethiopia since 2002 to explore how the climate services landscape has evolved and how NGO engagement has led to wider shifts.
The report concludes:
- NGOs have played, and will continue to play, a critical role in expanding climate information services in Ethiopia. To date, national agencies have expanded their physical capacity and ability to produce climate information. One of the key challenges is communicating information in effective, relevant and appropriate ways to smallholder farmers and pastoralists.
- There are a wide range of governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations engaging with climate services. Coordination efforts to date are important first steps, but much more activity of this nature is required.
- Donor and NGO activity have expanded government capacity and the provision of climate services, but these developments remain limited to specific geographic areas and pose long-term risks of sustainability.
- The new modalities of working and changes to activities of engagement are neither apolitical nor value-neutral. We need to better understand and acknowledge the politically sensitive nature of the operational environments and partnerships as well as the activities and data.
- Given the influence of the ‘resilience agenda’ on donor and NGO priorities, and the challenges of sustainability of activities within climate information services in Ethiopia, more research is required to understand the extent to which climate services are being integrated into programming and decision-making