Impact Assessment: Ethiopia Productive Safety Net Programme phase 4 (PSNP 4)



The Ethiopian climate is complex, with a high degree of inter-annual and spatial variability in rainfall and temperatures. The uncertainty around weather patterns is increasing with climate change in the Horn of Africa: the short, belg rains are failing regularly, and models suggest that (albeit with significant spatial variations) soil moisture is likely to decline as temperatures rise and precipitation is set to fall in shorter, more intense events with lower infiltration (and increased risk of soil erosion). This has significant implications for economic development and living standards in Ethiopia. The economy has grown rapidly over the last decade, but from an extremely low base, and remains highly dependent on and vulnerable to the weather: 80% of the population of 100 million are rural, and the vast majority make their living through rain fed agriculture (as marginal smallholder farmers in the highlands or pastoralist or agro-pastoralist herders in the lowlands). Only 5% of the cultivated area is irrigated. Ethiopia has a long history of large-scale famines triggered or exacerbated by an extreme drought, most notably in 1973-4 and 1984-5.
Over the last decade the Ethiopian Government has adopted a number of innovative and effective mechanisms to increase household, community and national resilience to climate shocks and stress; and to commit to a green, low carbon development path, making use of the country’s significant renewable energy resources to power industrialisation and urbanisation. The fourth, 2015-2020 phase of the rural Productive Safety Net Programme (PSNP 4) is one major component of the Government’s strategy to address climate vulnerability, and contributes to both the adaptation and mitigation goals.