The collection, provision and circulation of information on development, and accounting for the use of water and land resources in Ethiopia and the sub-region at large has been less efficient due to constraint in data and information gaps and lack of an appropriate resource database system. As a consequence, regional, bilateral, national and local agreements policies and interventions were often not based on accurate knowledge and a sound analysis of the situation. In addition, sectorial and compartmentalised approaches to water/ land use and management hampered the development of integrated and sustainable solutions. Lack of research supported participatory integrated watershed management for learning that addresses the serious degradation and associated poverty challenges is another gap. In response to these shortcomings, the Water and Land Resource Centre was established in 2011 as an institution associated to Addis Ababa University.
The WLRC is an initiative to fill the above mentioned gaps, and it seeks to establish a robust database for water and land resources of the country, giving special emphasis to the Blue Nile Basin. Building on past experiences of the University of Bern and other agencies on water and land management in Ethiopia, the resource center is intending to improve the collection, processing, and dissemination of data on hydro-sedimentology, meteorology and land management in order to help informed planning and decision making processes. It also provides related information and knowledge on socio-economic settings, land use and land cover of the country and sub-region.
The resource center monitors, collects, stores, and delivers water and land related information proactively, in a timely and regular manner,and it regularly develops relevant, user-oriented knowledge upon request. In cases where basic information is missing, the resource center fills knowledge gaps by collecting data from pilot projects like selected model learning watersheds and observatories that monitor and compile information on water and land management from farm to watershed levels and of different sizes where research and development activities are concurrently implemented. Building on these experiences, it is intended to ultimately expand the activities of the resource center to serve as a regional knowledge hub facilitating national and trans-boundary decision support for sustainable, equitable, and rational use of water and land resources in the sub-region.
The main objective of the Resource Centre is to establish a full-fledged and modern resource database for water and land management in Ethiopia building on accumulated data and knowledge of the University of Bern, its learning watershed, observatories and of other similar undertakings in the country. It will generate appropriate information on processes of hydro-sedimentology, meteorology and land management and serve as a knowledge hub in the country and the Eastern Nile Region at large. It aims at helping decision makers, planners and the scientific community to make informed decision and planning for reducing degradation and poverty in the country and the Easter Nile Region, for exploring alternative potential uses of natural resources, and for developing benefit sharing mechanisms.
Generating and providing scientifically acceptable and openly accessible data and information for water and land management including water diplomacy with the goal of making available its knowledge to all stakeholders for their use and negotiation of water and land related services within and across borders, particularly in the Eastern Nile Region.
Through the collection, processing and dissemination of data on hydro-sedimentology, meteorology as well as land management in Ethiopia and Eastern Nile Region at large, water related problems will be better negotiated, water and land management will be improved, the overall sediment load will be better managed, and peace and welfare will be promoted in the region.
The WLRC will serve as a lasting knowledge hub in the country and the Eastern Nile Region and support negotiations related to water and land, mitigate regional conflicts, and help to steer stakeholders towards evidence-based, participatory, and benefit-sharing approaches.