Community participatory sustainable land management byelaw formulation in the highlands of central Ethiopia.
Widespread adoption of sustainable land management (SLM) innovations by land users is considered key in addressing the rampant land degradation in the high rainfall and densely populated highlands of eastern and southern Africa. However, absence of enabling policy environments hamperes massive adoption of SLM innovations among rural communities. This paper presents the process and outcomes of a participatory approach for formulating and implementing SLM byelaws in the central highlands of Ethiopia. The participatory approach utilised three complementary tools, namely, stakeholder analysis, community needs assessment and policy dialogues. The stakeholder analysis revealed that several government institutions, non-government organisations (NOGs) and community groups promote SLM practices. Poor coordination among actors, top-down approach in planning and implementation, and limited capacity of communities hamperes SLM scaling up efforts. Stakeholder engagements culminates in establishing innovation platforms (IPs) at district and watershed levels tasked with coordinating SLM scaling up efforts. While the community needs assessment identified and prioritised SLM issues that needed to be resolved, the policy dialogue engaging IPs formulated three SLM byelaws and mechanisms for implementation.
Key Words: Innovation platforms, policy reform