Ethiopia landscape

Ethiopia – An Economic Growth Leader Threatening its Natural Resources

Increasing Risk for Ethiopia’s Natural Resources

Ethiopia is experiencing tremendous economic development: Average annual growth rates between 2008 and 2018 reached 9.8 percent according to World Bank figures. At the same time, Ethiopia is facing rapid population growth, with a doubling taking place roughly every 30 years. Current estimates assume a population of around 115 million people. This poses a huge challenge for the country: not only need basic services and infrastructure be extended, but also job opportunities must be provided for the increasing population.

While Ethiopia disposes of plentiful water and other natural resources, the variability of supply over space and time poses a severe risk to its economy and society.   Furthermore, institutions on Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) are still in their infancy. Lack of knowledge and underfunding leave them unprepared to meet the escalating challenges they are faced with. The private sector, communities and the government agencies mandated to ensure the sustainable management of natural resources are in urgent need to collaborate.

NatuReS goal is to actively engage both national and international companies in Natural Resources Stewardship in Ethiopia, as well as supporting public institutions in policy development and implementation aimed at enhancing natural resources stewardship at national and regional levels.

Partnerships in Ethiopia

Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership

Location: Lake Hawassa sub-catchment, Sidama and Oromia Region

Aim: Protecting Lake Hawassa, which is threatened by population growth, urban and industrial park development, land degradation and improper waste management.


  • Improving waste management in Hawassa City
    • Capacity building of waste collecting associations through training on business skills, waste segregation, operation and maintenance of plastic baling machines.
    • Supporting a plastic value chain by linking collecting associations with (potential) buyers and recyclers of PET, HDPE, PP.
    • Sensitizing citizens on proper waste disposal through radio programs and brochures.
    • Supporting the responsible public agencies with capacity building, stakeholder engagement and small infrastructure – 300 bins across town
    • Rehabilitation of Amora Gedel constructed wetland as a nature-based solution to reduce pollutants entering the Lake (small scale water treatment plant).
  • Afforestation and soil erosion control activities to fight erosion and siltation from the surrounding small-scale farms on the Western side of the lake
  • Restoring the degraded land to improve communities’ livelihoods and safeguard investments
  • Supporting the implementation of Alliance for Water Stewardship Standard within Hawassa Industrial Park in order to achieve its AWS certification

NatuReS working areas: Circular Economies, Catchments, Economic Zones

Partners: Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Hawassa University (HU), Rift Valley Lakes Basin Development Office (RVLBDO), Hawassa City Administration, Sidama Environment Protection and Forest Bureau (SEPFB), Industrial Parks Development Corporation (IPDC), PVH, Haile Resort, Coba Impact manufacturing PLC, Fruit Hawassa PLC, Solid waste collector’s associations, CIFA Onlus, Affiliation of Friends of Lake Hawassa (AFLaH), Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI), Southern Ethiopia People Development Association (SEPDA), Water Witness International (WWI).

Fences controlling soil erosion in a field

Soil erosion control activities in the Lake Hawassa Catchment. Copyright: GIZ

Partnership for Circular Value Chains in Addis Ababa

Littered plastic polluting water bodies.

Littered plastic polluting water bodies in Addis Ababa. Copyright: GIZ

Location: Addis Ababa

Aim: Protect water and other natural resources in Addis Ababa by promoting circular value chains and enhancing recycling.


Reduce pollution of natural resources through improved waste management  

  • Provide training on natural resources management and integrated solid waste management for waste collectors and management committees.
  • Provide equipment to improve collection and transportation of waste (Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), baling machines, collection carts, waste segregation bins)
  • Introducing new technologies for the management and recycling of plastic – manual baling machines, pelletizing of used coffee grind as cooking fuel
  • Facilitating market linkages between waste generators, collectors and recycling companies

Behavior change

  • Community awareness raising on proper waste disposal through communication materials 
  • Piloting at-source (household/business level) waste segregation.

Public sector support

  • Capacity building of public partners on the stewardship approach.
  • Support Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) on an extended producer responsibility (EPR) policy.

NatuReS working areas: Cities, Circular Economies

Partners: Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), Addis Ababa Cleansing Management Agency, Coba Impact manufacturing PLC, EKT trade and investment PLC, NN recycling, ANEGA Energies, Solid waste collector’s associations, CIFA Onlus, PETCO, Irish Aid, Selam children’s village.

Creating market linkages between plastic collectors & converters. Copyright: GIZ


Launch Event: Scaling up Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership in Ethiopia – join live

May 27, 2022
Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership in Ethiopia is scaling up its effort to protect the lake from degradation. Join the launch event live!

A simple solution for a complex problem in Addis Ababa

May 11, 2022
Rivers in Addis Ababa are currently highly polluted. This poses a risk to the health of communities and the integrity of ecosystems. But partners embarked on…

“The winner has clean hands” – Playful trainings on good WASH practices in Ethiopian industrial parks

Apr 19, 2022
Industrial park development is one of the Ethiopian government’s priorities. However, Covid-19 and other communicable diseases represent a risk for the worke…

A stewardship journey to protect Ethiopian Lake Hawassa

Feb 11, 2022
Since 2018, the Protecting Lake Hawassa Partnership is working in the Ethiopian Hawassa sub-catchment to mitigate the environmental and social risks affectin…


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NatuReS is commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and co-funded by the European Union and the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). This website’s contents are the sole responsibility of GIZ and do not necessarily reflect the views of the BMZ, European Union or FCDO.

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