Deforestation for agricultural expansion and forest degradation for fuel-wood demand are critical drivers of change in the forested landscapes of Ethiopia. The increased pressure from agricultural land expansion is expected to result in the deforestation of nearly 9 million hectares of forestland by 2030. At the same time, Ethiopia aims to increase forest cover from the current 15.5% to 30% by 2030. Barriers to achieving this are the limited technical capacity to support and derive innovation and also the limited engagement with private sector and civil society partners who can create sustainable and cost-effective forest sector development models.
The United Nations Development Programme’s project "Institutional Strengthening for the Forest Sector Development Program of Ethiopia", implemented in 2015 and currently in its second phase, has been addressing these issues. This has been primarily through supporting capacity-building efforts in phase 1 of the project. To make the achievements more sustainable, phase 2 now focuses on building technical capacities at various levels thereby catalyzing large-scale investments in wider areas.
CIFOR is supporting efforts to sustain the progress made in the first phase. Three outcomes are expected: (1) capacity of the forest sector will be strengthened at strategic and operational levels; (2) multifunctional landscapes will be created in rural and urban areas; and (3) the vulnerability of poor communities to extreme events will be reduced. CIFOR is involved in implementing activities in all of the proposed outcomes, though most of its activities are under Outcome 2.