[WLRC Jan 2024]: Water and Land Resources Centre in partnership with Wageningen University & Research (WUR) conducted a workshop on “The Role of Multi-level and Multi-Actor Interactions in Governing SDG-15 (Life on Land): The Challenge of Landscape Restoration in Ethiopia” on the 15th of January 2023 at Inter Luxury Hotel Addis Ababa. The workshop was aimed to unravel the intricate web of stakeholders contributing to the achievement of SDG-15, emphasizing the interconnectedness with other SDGs, such as SDG-2 (Zero Hunger), SDG- 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), and SDG-13 (Climate Action).

The Deputy Director General of WLRC Dr. Tena Alamirew in his welcoming speech said that the workshop was a collective effort to address one of the most pressing issues of our time —landscape degradation and the imperative for restoration. He explained about WLRC’s collaboration with WRU on a case study project, “Beyond cherry-picking: aligning development actors and efforts for inclusive and effective governance of trade-offs and synergies between Sustainable Development Goals in East Africa” under the auspices of the Netherlands-funded NOW project, which is being conducted in three East African countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, and Uganda. Dr. Tena added that the workshop aims to critically examine the multi-level and multi-actor interactions necessary for effective governance of landscape restoration; for fostering dialogue, knowledge exchange, and collaboration among diverse stakeholders; and identifying actors’ alignment mechanisms with the national and global commitments to landscape restoration.

The Guest of Honor of the workshop Mr. Kebede Yimam, Director of Ethiopian Forestry Development, in his opening keynote stated that the workshop serves as an important platform for dialogue and cooperation, as we collectively embark on the journey to enhance life on land. He said, Ethiopia, though endowed with diverse ecosystems, faces the pressing need to preserve its natural resources and uphold the principles of SDG15. It is in this context that landscape restoration emerges as a paramount mandate for the Ethiopian Forestry Development that underscores the acknowledgment of the critical link between healthy ecosystems and sustainable development.

In the workshop, there was a panel discussion on the roles of multi-level actors in governing synergies and trade-offs with SDG-15 in Ethiopia. The panelists were SLM Director Mr. Habtamu Hailu; Executive Director of Organization for Restoration of Degraded Areas in northern Ethiopia (ORDA) Dr. Alemayehu Wassie; and the First Secretary of Food and Nutrition Security of Dutch Embassy Mr. Erik Slingerland. The panelists highlighted on international, national and regional representations; comprehensive stakeholder analysis; mapping synergies and tradeoffs, and cross cutting SDGs.

Around 35 participants drawn from World Bank, Sustainable Natural Resource Management Association (SUNARMA), Organization for Rehabilitation and Development in Amhara, Lake Tana Development Agency, Abbay Basin Administrative Office, Addis Ababa University, Amhara National Regional State Land Bureau, Bahir Dar University, EKN, CIFON-ITRAF, Ethiopian Forest Development, Water Research Institute, German Agency for International Cooperation, Ethiopian Wild life Conservation Authority, PNEEC, Wagenigen University and Research, NABU-Ethiopia, Ministry of Water and Energy, and ICRISAT participated in the stakeholders’ workshop.