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Good practice guide: Local disaster risk reduction planning in Ethiopia

Submitted by Léa Doumenjou 15th July 2014 13:22

Adaptation context

Ethiopia has registered steady economic growth in the recent past, but it is also one of the most disaster prone countries in Africa. Without careful management, disaster impacts can undermine socio-economic gains. Prior to 2008, numerous barriers stood in the way of Ethiopia’s ability to deal with disasters. These included low levels of information on the vulnerabilities, historical impacts, and coping mechanisms used dealing with disasters; the management of disasters on a reactive basis once hazards turned into disasters; low levels of coordination (inter-sector, inter-NGO, inter-ministry) and consequently poor planning capacities; an inability of local government to pursue different approaches or to make decentralised planning a reality; the weakness of local planning and budgeting mechanisms and the inability to integrate disaster risk management adequately in spite of  high vulnerability to climate variability and disasters.

Given these challenges and in view of the Hyogo Framework for Action, the Ethiopian Government set up the Disaster Risk Management and Food Security Sector (DRMFSS) with a mandate to develop a programme that would work towards removing these barriers and would strengthen national and local capacities to integrate risk, disaster management, adaptation and contingency planning into national development policy.


The purpose of DRM planning in Ethiopia is to provide woreda units of administration with the skills and tools they need to plan proactively so as to reduce the risks posed by disasters and the adverse impacts to which they are exposed. To support this process, technical experts from key ministries and international institutions have helped develop guidelines, which support contingency planning and disaster risk reduction planning, and the integration of climate change adaptation into DRR planning.

The training programme includes Training of Trainers workshops, tools adapted to the local context, ongoing guidance and mentoring for participants, which have enabled a successful roll out of the training into federal and regional levels, as well as building links between levels of government administration.

Key messages

The Ethiopia DRR planning process strengthens development planning by making it more participatory, integrating risks, sectors and evidence-based decision-making. “The format is a two-way discussion and learning process that helps us to analyse our own risks” - Woreda training participant, Afar Training

When linked to roles and responsibilities set out in the planning manual, this also encourages local planners, woreda district officials and community leaders attending the training to see this as their own responsibility and duty.