Mainstreaming climate risks considerations in food security in Tsilima Plains and Upper Catchment Area

Project Overview

The Tsilima Region – part of the densely populated Central Highlands agro-ecological zone – is known for its agricultural products, such as sorghum and barley, it is considered the breadbasket of Eritrea, and is the focus of the government’s current and future investments in food security. Being densely populated, the region’s ecosystems and natural resources face increasing pressure. In addition to this, climate change poses an additional threat to ecosystem goods and services – and therefore agricultural productivity and community livelihoods – in this area. Like many parts of the Africa, Eritrea, being located in the Horn of Africa, is currently facing climate change-induced threats to ecosystem services and agricultural productivity, and these are compounded by the impacts of signicant land degradation occurring in the country. In the Tsilima Region, these problems manifest through reduced groundwater recharge, which affects agricultural productivity. This is partly a result of decreased precipitation, shorter and more intense rainy seasons, which reduce the potential for infiltration, promotes run-off, and increased temperatures that promote evapotranspiration. It is also a result of over-abstration of groundwater within short periods, reducing the opportunities for natural recharge of groundwater aquifers and deforestation, leading to reduced capacity of soils to retain moisture and nutrients.

The project’s objective is therefore to integrate adaptation measures into ecosystem management and restoration and agricultural production systems to secure the benefits of the National Food Security Strategy (NFSS) and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Action Plan. By doing so, the LDCF-financed project will support the implementation of Priorities 3, 4 and 5 of Eritrea’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) – which focus on livestock, forestry and water resources respectively. Furthermore, the project will mitigate the effects of floods and droughts, contribute to reduced soil erosion and increase soil fertility. Communities in the Tsilima Region will therefore be less vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The project will achieve this by enhancing the scientific and technical capacity of government staff – at national, Zoba and sub-Zoba levels – as well as academic and research institutions to identify, plan and implement climate change adaptation (CCA) interventions. This will facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to CCA in sub-Zoba Dbarwa, in the Tsilima plains and upper catchments. The theory of change adopted for this LDCF-financed project comprises addressing the barriers discussed below and in Section II (Development Challenge) of the Project Document while contributing to the preferred solution discussed below through the delivery of three interrelated components.

Expected Outcomes

Outcome 1.1: Capacity of research institutions to undertake climate-related research increased.

Outcome 1.2: Capacity of extension service institutions to provide knowledge-based climate-smart extension services to agriculture, livestock production and water management increased.

Outcome 2.1: Climate-resilient land use planning implemented over 9,000 hectares of the Tsilima Region.

Outcome 2.2: Integrated water management operationalised across the Tsilima Region, increasing water availability and land under irrigation.

Outcome 2.3: Increased food production through the implementation of climate-smart agricultural practices across the Tsilima Region. 

Outcome 3.1: Increased monitoring, knowledge-sharing and awareness at Zoba, sub-Zoba, Kebabi and community levels on: i) climate change risks; ii) climate- and ecosystem-smart watershed restoration; iii) climate-smart agricultural technologies and measures; and iv) the sustainable use and management of natural resources.

Project Details

Levels of Intervention

Community

Source of Funds

GEF-LDCF

Key Implementers

National Governments

Funding Amounts

9,050,000
27,500,000

Project Partners

Government of Eritrea
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
Global Environment Facility (GEF)

Project Dates

2015 to 2021

Introduction

The Tsilima Region – part of the densely populated Central Highlands agro-ecological zone – is known for its agricultural products, such as sorghum and barley, it is considered the breadbasket of Eritrea, and is the focus of the government’s current and future investments in food security. Being densely populated, the region’s ecosystems and natural resources face increasing pressure. In addition to this, climate change poses an additional threat to ecosystem goods and services – and therefore agricultural productivity and community livelihoods – in this area. Like many parts of the Africa, Eritrea, being located in the Horn of Africa, is currently facing climate change-induced threats to ecosystem services and agricultural productivity, and these are compounded by the impacts of signicant land degradation occurring in the country. In the Tsilima Region, these problems manifest through reduced groundwater recharge, which affects agricultural productivity. This is partly a result of decreased precipitation, shorter and more intense rainy seasons, which reduce the potential for infiltration, promotes run-off, and increased temperatures that promote evapotranspiration. It is also a result of over-abstration of groundwater within short periods, reducing the opportunities for natural recharge of groundwater aquifers and deforestation, leading to reduced capacity of soils to retain moisture and nutrients.

The project’s objective is therefore to integrate adaptation measures into ecosystem management and restoration and agricultural production systems to secure the benefits of the National Food Security Strategy (NFSS) and Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Action Plan. By doing so, the LDCF-financed project will support the implementation of Priorities 3, 4 and 5 of Eritrea’s National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) – which focus on livestock, forestry and water resources respectively. Furthermore, the project will mitigate the effects of floods and droughts, contribute to reduced soil erosion and increase soil fertility. Communities in the Tsilima Region will therefore be less vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The project will achieve this by enhancing the scientific and technical capacity of government staff – at national, Zoba and sub-Zoba levels – as well as academic and research institutions to identify, plan and implement climate change adaptation (CCA) interventions. This will facilitate the implementation of an ecosystem-based approach to CCA in sub-Zoba Dbarwa, in the Tsilima plains and upper catchments. The theory of change adopted for this LDCF-financed project comprises addressing the barriers discussed below and in Section II (Development Challenge) of the Project Document while contributing to the preferred solution discussed below through the delivery of three interrelated components.

News

Sowing the seeds of sustainability in Eritrea

In Eritrea, a small country in the Horn of Africa, land rehabilitation combats erosion and desertification, and helps restore agricultural productivity. The central highlands region of Eritrea, a densely populated agro-ecological zone, is largely considered as the ‘breadbasket’ of the country, and is the focus of the government’s current and future investments in food security. But the breadbasket has, over the years, been growing ever-emptier. Despite the relatively fertile soils, agricultural productivity had progressively declined as a result of increasing population pressure, unsustainable land and water use, and the effects of climate change (less rain, falling in shorter and more intense rainy seasons and resulting in increased run-off).

UNDP Medium
Monday 30 October 2017

 

Key Results and Outputs

1.1 Capacity of research institutions to undertake climate related research increased by over 50% as measured by changes in UNDP Capacity Scorecard.
 
1.2: Capacity of extension service institutions to provide knowledge based climate smart extension service to agriculture, livestock production and water management increased by over 50% as measured by changes in UNDP Capacity Scorecard: Collectively, outcome a and 2 above lead to: i) increased use of climate risk information in decisions related to the implementation of the IWRM action plans and increasing food production in ; ii) an improved score on the Vulnerability and risk perception index, disaggregated by gender (baselines at ppg); iii) Five comprehensive landscape adaptation plans formulated using the information generated under this component, complemented by community based resilience assessments.
 
2.1: Security of tenure improved for the communities of plains covering over 9000 hectares ( number of households and exact means of verification to be established during PPG);
 
2.2: By 2018, the amount of water available for irrigation increases by 30% over current baseline (of 28 million cubic meters) increasing the area under irrigation from 400ha to about 1000ha); baseline and target to be confirmed in PPG.
 
2.3: By 2018, more than 75% of farmers take up climate smart farming technologies and food production has increased by 30% , while livestock productivity increases by at least 30% (baseline determined at PPG); this leads i) over 75% of project beneficiaries have sufficient food and livestock products for most of the year; ii) an improved score on the “Vulnerability and risk perception index, disaggregated by gender”