Ethiopia has registered strong social and economic development in recent years, leading to important progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 2 (zero hunger). Rates of wasting, stunting and underweight have fallen significantly. Cereal yields have surged. The food system is undergoing a rapid transformation. Major challenges remain, however, and are exacerbated by an infestation of desert locust and the pandemic of coronavirus disease 2019. Rates of food insecurity and malnutrition are still high, especially in rural areas. Agricultural productivity growth is insufficient and is hampered by post-harvest losses and poor food safety. Capacity for logistics and supply chains is limited, leading to high storage, marketing and processing costs. Pursuit of Sustainable Development Goal 17 (partnerships for the goals) has led to expanding public sector capacity in the humanitarian and development spheres, with strong government leadership and ownership in both. Significant gaps remain, however, especially at the regional and subregional levels. The more prominent role in Ethiopia’s development envisioned for the private sector will require key policy and institutional reforms that create a more conducive environment for resource mobilization and investment.
While Ethiopia’s goal of achieving middle-income status by 2025 continues to shape policies, institutional arrangements and investment strategies, some macrolevel economic, environmental and political perspectives have shifted or been intensified, opening new areas for attention and action. Several political, social and economic challenges and risks arise as Ethiopia makes the transition to a more open, inclusive, equitable and democratic society. Some of these risks will challenge food and nutrition security and must be carefully managed by the Government and its partners. Humanitarian needs are high and expected to remain so over the medium term owing to chronic hunger and food insecurity, vulnerability to climate shocks, pest and disease outbreaks, potential conflict, persistent inequalities and the presence of large numbers of refugees. Ethiopia’s impressive development gains are at risk if these substantial humanitarian challenges are not adequately addressed, along with the underlying drivers of vulnerability. The Government continues to cover a large proportion of humanitarian and social protection needs but requires partners that will share the burden.
The national policy priorities set out in a new ten-year perspective plan and the three-year Homegrown Economic Reform provide guidance and direction for design and implementation of the United Nations sustainable development cooperation framework and for WFP. Recommendations from recent reviews, assessments and evaluations include solidifying WFP’s work at the humanitarian–development–peace nexus, leveraging social protection as an entry point for innovations in resilience building and nutrition improvement, and expanding investments in livelihoods, emphasizing equitable access to water and markets for food-insecure people. Implementation of the interim country strategic plan has revealed new challenges and opportunities for WFP such as those in enhancing partnerships for school feeding and nutrition, expanding capacity strengthening efforts at the regional level, and strengthening monitoring and accountability in relief and nutrition activities. Also evident is WFP’s capacity to boost the efficiency and equity of Ethiopia’s food assistance system and broader food industry through partnerships in the analysis and operation of logistics and supply chain management.
The five-year country strategic plan is based on WFP’s recognized strengths and on strong strategic and operational partnerships with the Government, private sector entities, non-governmental organizations and other United Nations agencies. While the bulk of operations will continue to address the immediate short-term needs of refugees, internally displaced persons and other food-insecure and undernourished people, there will be a gradual expansion and intensification of resilience and livelihood diversification initiatives at the humanitarian–development–peace nexus. WFP will focus on the prevention of malnutrition, the building of resilience and the integration of nutrition concerns and gender equality throughout the portfolio.
The country strategic plan has five strategic outcomes, which are aligned with WFP Strategic Results 1, 2, 5 and 8 and with the people, peace, prosperity and planet outcomes of the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (2020–2025) for Ethiopia, which, in turn, is aligned with the Government’s Ten-Year Perspective Plan (2020–2030) and the Homegrown Economic Reform agenda.
The outcomes are also linked to the humanitarian response plan, the Productive Safety Net Programme and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework. WFP’s five strategic outcomes are as follows:
➢ Strategic outcome 1: Shock-affected populations in targeted areas and refugees in camps are able to meet their basic food and nutrition needs. ➢ Strategic outcome 2: Vulnerable and food-insecure populations in targeted areas have increased resilience to shocks.
➢ Strategic outcome 3: Nutritionally vulnerable populations in targeted areas have improved consumption of high-quality, nutrient-dense foods that prevent all forms of malnutrition.
➢ Strategic outcome 4: Federal and regional government institutions, the private sector and local non-governmental organizations benefit from capacity strengthening in the areas of early warning and emergency preparedness systems, safety nets programme design and implementation and supply chain management.
➢ Strategic outcome 5: Government, humanitarian and development partners in Ethiopia have access to and benefit from effective and cost-efficient logistics services, including air transport, common coordination platforms and improved commodity supply chains.