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The Sustainability of Community-Based Adaptation in the Choke Mountain Watersheds, Blue Nile Highlands, Ethiopia
1  Center for Environment and Development, College of Development Studies, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. E-Mail: [email protected]; Tel.: +251-911-223-044

Abstract: Adaptation to climate change is becoming an increasingly important part of the development agenda in Ethiopia. CC adaptation can be integrated with development imitative at local level through Community-Based Organizations (CBOs). Twenty-one legally recognized CBOs have been established to implement adaptation actions with collective objectives of environmental protection and livelihood improvement (sustainable development) in the Choke Mountain Watersheds, Upper Blue Nile Highlands. These CBOs organized themselves voluntarily, drafted their own bylaws, have registered their Association (cooperative society) before an authorized registering body, by opening their bank account and manage various transaction with reasonable financial bookkeeping. Existing field-based extension approaches and methods of watershed planning were used with the active participation of the local level administration. The adaptation options focused on options that are proven environmentally and economically successful elsewhere, but are not widely known or practiced in the Choke Mountain watersheds, i.e. “no regret” options. Conservation of the natural resource base was taken as an entry point for planning adaptive actions. The sustainability of individual CBOs was assessed based on aggregate values of the five sustainability dimensions (social, institutional, technical, financial, and environment dimensions). The sustainability values ranged from 0.39 to 0.66 with a median of 0.4680 which is below the average value. There is no sustained CBO that obtains a 70% score (or more) in all sustainability dimensions and in aggregated form. Six CBOs (30%) sustained but at risk CBO getting a 50% score (or more) in an aggregated form from all dimensions. The rest 70% (14 CBOs) fail to obtain a 50% score in an aggregated form or in any of the factors and are not sustainable in all the dimensions. Repeatedly occurring critical barriers are community participation, training of local community members and administrators, information management, local govern¬ment commitment, limited farmers’ capacity and extended bureaucracy and difficult terrains. While much has been learned through these projects, the sustainability of projects that take the natural resource base as an entry point has come into question. Based on this experience, we recommend that markets are a more appropriate entry and exit point for future resilience building efforts. This recognition has yielded a model that centers on the establishment and implementation of community-based Innovation Platforms, devoted to achieving a climate resilient green economy through dissemination and uptake of proven technologies and practices.
Keywords: Adaptation to Climate Change, Analytic hierarchy process (AHP); Community Based Organizations (CBOs) Multi-criteria analysis (MCA); Sustainability indicators;
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