Based on lessons learnt from implementation of the previous strategic plan (2016 – 2020), internal consultations in a two-day intensive workshop and the SWOT analysis, the following six strategic issues were filtered out for this planning period.
- Strategic Issue 1: Watershed degradation, decline in per capita water availability, deteriorating water quality, biodiversity loss, and increasing climate variability and climate change are serious environmental challenges in Ethiopia. It is therefore imperative to restore degraded watersheds, improve water quantity and quality, reverse biodiversity loss and build socio-ecological resilience to climate variability and climate change through scientific and innovative research and development interventions.
- Strategic Issue 2: While general evidence abounds on water and land degradation, biodiversity loss and hydro-climatic risks in Ethiopia, there is scarcity of empirical time-series data at high spatial and temporal resolutions. This has constrained planning and implementation of water and land management initiatives.
- Strategic Issue 3: Water and land resource related knowledge and information in Ethiopia is not only scarce but also highly fragmented and inconsistent from one source to another. In consequence, there is significant knowledge gap on important issues and, in some cases, there is duplication of effort. There is no one knowledge hub where researchers and development practitioners can go to for reliable database and information. This has weakened research-policy-practice linkage on sustainable water and land management in the country.
- Strategic Issue 4: Water and land management research and development in the country is hindered by institutional capacity limitations.
- Strategic Issue 5: Leadership and institutional performance management capability and infrastructure development are not adequately institutionalized to deliver results that meet, and preferably exceed, expectations of stakeholders and partners.
- Strategic Issue 6: Research and development for impact at scale requires efforts of multiple actors working in well-coordinated harmonious manner across various landscape scales and different sectors; hence the need for building strong partnerships and collaboration.
Hence, the strategic themes of WLRC are:
- generating data and different knowledge products tailored to different stakeholders
- generating time-series empirical data at high spatial and temporal resolutions to inform planning and implementation of water and land management initiatives
- maintaining, developing and scaling-up the knowledge management system and serve as a source of reliable knowledge
- vitalizing capacity-building and technical backstopping services;
- pushing for having a Centre of excellence capacity building and technical backstopping services
- strengthening institutionalization of leadership and management capability and infrastructure development, and
- creating and maintaining partnerships and collaboration with national and international organizations.
- These strategic themes driven in correspondence to their higher level strategic issues also have corresponding strategic results