Ethiopia is found in the Horn of Africa covering an area of about 1.2 million square kilometers. Ethiopia is land-locked country located within the Horn of Africa. Its terrain is characterized by high plateaus, mountains and dry lowland plains (USDS, 2010). Of Ethiopia’s population of approximately 80 million people, 80 per cent are dependent on agriculture for their livelihoods, including a large population of semi-nomadic pastoralists (USDS, 2010). It is a mountainous country with a rich diversity in climate, biodiversity, ethnicity and culture. Its climate varies from hot and arid to cold and humid types. The country is also endowed with rich water resources compared to most African countries. These natural resource bases are yet to be developed sustainably for the socio-economic development of the country. Though the economic reform made after the political change in 1991 brought significant improvements in the economy, Ethiopia is still one of the least developed countries (LDCs) in the World. This development status makes the country more vulnerable to climate variability and change. In recent years environment has become a key issue in Ethiopia. The main environmental problems in the country include land degradation, soil erosion, deforestation, loss of biodiversity, desertification, recurrent drought, flood and water and air pollution.


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Documenting Best Practice of GEF supported interventions in Ethiopia

The publication highlights best practices which have been identified in four projects financed by the GEF and implemented by the government of Ethiopia with the support of UNDP. The projects focused on climate change, biodiversity and protected area system management.

Terminal Evaluation - Promoting Autonomous Adaptation at the Community Level in Ethiopia

The project is GEF-UNDP compliant. GEF funded this full-sized project, in Ethiopia, through the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF). The overall goal of the project was to catalyse innovative adaptation actions in the context of Ethiopia’s NAPA and development policies and strategies. The project is consistent with the priorities identified by Ethiopia NAPA. The project piloted the identified priorities that concerned community’s adaptation capacity and development need into an integrated approach.

Gender, Climate Information and Early Warning Systems in Africa

Women represent the main source of agricultural labour in Africa (Denton, 2002) and the fact that agriculture in tropical and subtropical areas is one of the sectors most vulnerable to climate change (Mendelsohn et al., 2006) explains why some women remain vulnerable and poor. In fact, women represent the majority of people living on less than a dollar a day (Denton, 2002; UNDP, 2010). For instance, women account for 65 percent of smallholder farmers in Zambia and they are particularly exposed to food insecurity. Therefore, providing them with agricultural advice informed by climate and weather information is of crucial importance (ActionAid, 2015).

Moreover, because of systemic inequities between women and men, there are commonly, but wrongfully, held views that women’s economic, political and social status is inferior to that of men. Consequently, women have been traditionally absent from decision-making processes regarding climate policy (Lambrou and Piana, 2006). Furthermore, cultural norms have also affected the ability of women to adapt to climate change because of the restrictions these norms impose on women (UNDP, 2010). This is counterintuitive since women are more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods than men are and this renders them more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

Considering this context, several UNDP-GEF projects on adaptation and in particular on climate information and early warning systems (CI/EWS) have been designed to incorporate gender aspects in their implementation. On the one hand, the projects aim to invest in women’s empowerment within the national hydromet and disaster risk reduction services and on the other hand, the objective is to ensure women’s access to climate information and early warnings for adaptation purposes.

In what follows, country-specific highlights of the CI/EWS projects are presented.


To start with, the CI/EWS project in Zambia is targeting communities in districts where women are most vulnerable to climate change. Besides this, women working at the Zambian Meteorology Department have benefited from several short- as well as long-term training courses. Specifically, 3 out of 12 staff members being sponsored to undertake a three-year diploma programme in weather forecasting, data processing, analysis and climate applications at the Zambian Air Services Training Institute are women. This represents progress in terms of gender empowerment as meteorology has been a traditionally male-dominated profession in Zambia. Moreover, there have been significant efforts to balance the participation of men and women in all of the short-term training courses organized by the project and in particular, the aim has been to count at least 30 percent female participants. Similarly, 30 percent of the project’s leadership at the community level is represented by women. Furthermore, by means of supporting the generation of hydro-meteorological and environmental information, the project is enabling Zambia’s Disaster Mitigation and Management Services to conduct vulnerability assessments and effectively carry out relief interventions from which women and children are the main beneficiaries due to their disproportionately high exposure to risk. Last but not least, preliminary findings from a national project-led survey revealed that women and men are nowadays equally using weather information for decision-making and they represent 41% of the surveyed population. This is a marked improvement from previous records suggesting no use of such information.


In Malawi, the CI/EWS project integrates gender considerations by making sure that women are adequately involved in the implementation of the early warning systems and that they benefit from climate information which is relevant to them, presented and transmitted in a way that is accessible and easy to understand. Specifically, the climate data collected by the 10 newly installed weather stations benefits men, women, children and vulnerable groups equally. Moreover, since women have been traditionally responsible for water collection in rural Malawi, they will also benefit from the improved management of water resources that this project is facilitating. Furthermore, gender-sensitive household surveys will verify that women are targeted accordingly by the established systems. To date, thanks to this LDCF project, women have benefited from various sessions on sensitisation and awareness creation in early warning systems and disaster risk management which were carried out in the Chikwawa, Dedza, Kasungu, Mangochi, Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima and Zomba districts. Out of the 550 community members that have participated, 302 were women. Lastly, several training sessions have also been organised for the Civil Protection Committees of 11 districts, namely: Chikwawa, Dedza, Karonga, Mangochi, Nkhatabay, Nkhotakota, Nsanje, Phalombe, Rumphi, Salima and Zomba. They have all targeted men, women and youth equally.


To ensure an effective early warning system that caters to all vulnerable persons in a community, the sites for the implementation of the CI/EWS project in Uganda have been all selected while being mindful of gender assessments. A toolkit for the dissemination of early warnings is being developed and it will include a gender-based analysis of the national and local media that are used to disseminate weather and climate alerts. Moreover, based on gender-sensitive consultations with end-users, the project aims to supply climate information that is tailored to the specific needs of decision makers and local communities.

With an objective in mind to ensure gender mainstreaming at all levels of project execution, 3 of the 11 Project Board members and 5 of the 12 Technical Committee members are women. Moreover, 30 percent of the participants in the sub-National Committee are women and in fact, all of the meetings and workshops organized by the project have had a minimum of 30 percent participation from women. Furthermore, in terms of human capacity and women’s empowerment in the context of national hydromet and disaster risk reduction services, the project reported the following:

  • 12 staff members working at Uganda’s synoptic stations have been trained on the use of the recently installed equipment: barometers, thermometers and sunshine cards. 7 of them were women.
  • 7 staff members from Uganda’s National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) have been trained by the supplier itself on the operation of the newly acquired automatic weather stations. 2 of them were women.
  • 27 UNMA staff members have received training on the operation of the automatic message switching system. 6 of them were women.
  • 12 smartphones were delivered to each of UNMA’s 12 synoptic stations. The recipients have also been trained on the use of smartphones to relay weather data to the National Meteorological Centre. 7 of them were women.
  • 23 staff members from UNMA and the Directorate of Water Resources Management (DWRM) have been trained in Kenya or India on weather data management and flood forecasting. 3 of them were women.
  • 8 staff members from UNMA, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Agriculture Animal Industry and Fisheries and DWRM have been trained to become trainers themselves on hazards and vulnerability mapping. 3 of them were women.

The project is also adopting an evidence-based approach to evaluating its impact and the first step has been to collect baseline data. A survey was conducted for this purpose and 6 out of the 16 data collectors were women. A second round of data collection is planned for the end of the project and it will be mindful of gender aspects.

Last but not least, various events for awareness-creation regarding adaptation to climate change in the agricultural sector have been organised and 12 of the 30 UNMA members that were involved in their organisation were women. 

All in all, an increasing number of female staff members at UNMA and DWRM have acquired the hydromet skills that are necessary to make use of new technologies in Uganda. What is more, their role is only to increase upon the gender-sensitive implementation of activities following the installation of the newly purchased equipment. In addition, there will be opportunities for women to be trained as data collectors and analysts. Gender-based associations as well as NGOs will be increasingly involved in the dissemination and interpretation of early warnings and climate information. As the project matures, it will emphasize the gender component of emergency-response planning and districts as well as municipalities will be monitored for gender mainstreaming into plans for the management of hazards.


In Ethiopia, a survey conducted by the National Meteorological Agency revealed that women are making use of climate information to a significantly lesser extent than men are. In this context, the Agency emphasizes the need for increased awareness at the level of local communities, in schools and during stakeholder meetings. In fact, women and young staff have been encouraged to participate in national capacity building sessions as well as in regional workshops. Moreover, with the purpose of ensuring the local ownership of the newly acquired automatic weather stations, the project implementation team has conducted participatory consultations with local representatives and sought out the input of women.


The CI/EWS project in Benin has invested in public campaigns to increase awareness of project activities, early warning systems and the importance of community involvement in the maintenance and protection of hydromet stations. 740 people have participated, of which 125 were women. Moreover, the project has been supporting the involvement of NGOs in the efforts to strengthen gender equality, as measured by the ability of women to react to extreme weather and adapt to climate change. Whenever studies to inform project activities have been commissioned, the inclusion of women in the various research teams was a requirement. Women have also been encouraged to participate in project interventions and management committees and to voice their suggestions and concerns regarding the effectiveness of climate and early warning systems in Benin. Specifically, this UNDP-GEF project has been working with CARE International to promote activities dedicated to strengthening the capacity of women to use and capitalize climate information in the north-east region of Benin.

Concluding Note

The projects discussed above are young and therefore, progress was particularly noticeable in terms of the improved skills and increased presence of women in the national hydromet and disaster risk reduction services. However, as the projects mature and the systems disseminating climate information and early warnings are in place, the focus will fall on ensuring the balanced access of women and men to weather, climate and hydrological information and warnings.


ActionAid (2015). Delivering Women Farmers’ Rights. Policy Brief, ActionAid Int., Johannesburg.

Lambrou, Y., & Piana, G. (2006). Gender: The missing component of the response to climate change. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Denton, F. (2002). Climate change vulnerability, impacts, and adaptation: Why does gender matter? Gender & Development, 10(2), 10-20.

UNDP (2010). Gender, Climate Change and Community-Based Adaptation, UNDP, New York.

Mendelsohn, R., Dinar, A., & Williams, L. (2006). The distributional impact of climate change on rich and poor countries. Environment and Development Economics, 11(02), 159-178.

Thematic Area: 
Gender Impacts

Project Brief : Ethiopia

Climate changes and the limited availability of climate information pose significant challenges for managing, planning and responding to severe weather events in Ethiopia. A combination of insufficient observational infrastructure (e.g. automatic weather stations and hydrology gauging stations) and a low capacity to analyse and model the weather, climate and environment, leads to inadequate information being available to support climate-related decision making.

Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy – 2012


Ethiopia aims to achieve the status of a middle income, carbon-neutral country by 2025. This document gives a brief overview of the strategies behind this plan centered around four key actions – increasing food yield, protecting and reestablishing forests as carbon stocks, expanding renewable energy generation and leapfrogging to energy efficient technologies in transport and industries. 

Inception Report - Ethiopia - October 2012

PowerPoint presentation on Technology Transfer for Climate Change Adaptation: Case Studies in Ethiopia, Colombia and Peru of Projects Supported by the GEF - 2012

This PowerPoint presentation by Laura Kuhl of the Fletcher School at Tufts University examines the challenges, progress, and project design of three ongoing projects funded by the GEF and supported international organizations including the UNDP.

Summary of Ethiopia Inception Workshop - September 25th, 2012

The Ethiopia Inception Workshop (IW) was held on Tuesday 25th, September 2012. The Inception Workshop was very well attended by senior government officials and other important stakeholders. The Minister of Water (MoW), Mr. Kebede Gerba, made the opening address and gave the workshop a high level of political visibility and ownership. The press was present and interviewed the minister, UNDP CO representative and the director general of National Meteorological Agency (NMA).

Ethiopia CwDCC - Fast Facts - August 2011

Back to Office Report: Ethiopia CwDCC - June 2012

Purpose/Objective of Mission:

  1. Monitoring mission to ‘Coping with Drought and Climate Change’ project (SCCF financing)
  2. Inception workshop for ‘Promoting autonomous adaptation at the community level in Ethiopia’ (LDCF financing)