WLRC Background

History and Evolution

The Water and Land Resource Centre (WLRC) is an autonomous Resource Centre dedicated to generating and sharing scientific knowledge to inform policy and practice in land and water resources management in Ethiopia. The WLRC was reorganized in 2011 from the previous Soil Conservation Research Project (SCRP), which was initiated in 1981 by Centre for Development (CDE), the University of Bern, Switzerland, in collaboration with the then Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) of Ethiopia. Thus, WLRC has close to 40 years of experience researching and disseminating evidence on water and land resources. Later, in 2016, WLRC was affiliated to Addis Ababa University (AAU), Ethiopia with autonomous status. Prior to the Centre’s affiliation to AAU, the University of Bern and Addis Ababa University signed, in 2014, Memoranda of Understanding for co-management of the Centre.

Its Mandates and Functions

The core mandate of WLRC is initiating and undertaking research for development in land and water resources, which it delivers through four functions: i) Hydro-sedimentology and Climate Change Research; ii) Integrated Water and Land Resource Management and Ecosystem Service Research; iii) Resource Governance and Socio-Economic Research; and iv) Knowledge Management and Outreach Services. Through its components, WLRC has been playing instrumental roles in generating scientific evidence for the development of Integrated Landscape Management (ILM) and Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) strategies and activities in the country and beyond.

Its core functions in its current form have been supported by the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) of Switzerland through bilateral agreement with the Ministry of Finance and Economic Commission of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia signed in 2011. WLRC aims to contribute to the reduction of land degradation and water pollution and depletion, and improving land productivity through generating, sharing and managing knowledge on sustainable land and water management in Ethiopia, Eastern Africa and Eastern Nile Basin regions. It has the following vision, missions and values.

Vision, Mission and Values

Vision:WLRC aspires to be the national and regional (the broader HOA) knowledge-for-development hub on sustainable water and land resources management by 2025.

Missions:The missions of WLRC are to:

  • generate and develop up-to-date scientific knowledge on water and land resources and thereby contribute to the attainment of sustainable and integrated natural resource management and sustainable development;
  • develop innovative approaches for sustainably managing rural and urban landscapes; and
  • create innovative and interactive knowledge management system for informed policy, strategy and development actions on SLM.

Motto:Sustainable water and land resource management for sustainable development and poverty reduction.

Values:WLRC adheres to the values of inter-disciplinarity, scientific rigor, partnership, inclusivity, environmental sustainability/ecosystem health, and sensitivity and respect to culture. Its guiding principles include integrated management of land and water resources, sustainable utilisation of resources, open access and proactive knowledge generation, sharing and management.

Its Setups and Capabilities

WLRC has 15 observatory watersheds, 6 Learning Watersheds and 24 climate stations in different parts of the country. These setups are useful in undertaking of WLRC’s core functions. The Centre runs six of the observatories and six learning watersheds in collaboration with regional and local institutions; 6 observatories (three of them are meso-scale) and 24 climate stations by its own and three with the private sector. These set-ups are used as knowledge generation and live-learning platforms on water and land resources. WLRC has also huge spatial (EthioGIS) and non-spatial databases of the country and has developed a web-based information-sharing platform called Water and Land Resource Information System (WALRIS), which it uses to document and share knowledge with all stakeholders. Besides, it developed various products and decision support computerized systems, such as the Guideline for Sustainability and other products to support stakeholders at all levels to address land and water management problems sustainably.

Furthermore, WLRC is strong in building capacity of stakeholders on Integrated Landscape Management (ILM), Integrated Watershed Management (IWM), Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM), and on the broader Geo-spatial analysis and information management through on-the-job training arrangements.

Governance Structure

WLRC is governed by Board of Trustees constituted of State Ministers form five ministries (i.e. MoANR, MoWIE, MoFEC, MoST, MoEFCC) and the Director of CDE, and one senior scientist from AAU. The Board is chaired by the Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer of AAU. The Director General of WLRC is a member of the Board of Trustees to which he is a Secretary

WLRC Organogram

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