Over two compelling days, on November 29th and 30th, 2023, Earth Observation and Environmental Sensing for Climate-Smart Sustainable Agropastoral Ecosystem Transformation in East Africa (ESSA) convened a dynamic workshop in Addis Ababa. Hosted at Mado Hotel, this gathering was a collaborative effort between the Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research (EIAR), the University of Helsinki (UH), and Addis Ababa University (AAU).
The thematic focus, "Transforming Agropastoral Ecosystems Amidst Climate Challenges," set the stage for a profound exploration of solutions. This pivotal event brought together an impressive assembly of regional thought leaders, stakeholders, policymakers, and researchers. Their shared mission was to confront and address the urgent and intricate challenges gripping the agricultural landscape in the East African region. The workshop served as a nexus for discussions, strategies, and innovative approaches aimed at steering agro-pastoral development towards resilience in the face of climate uncertainties.
Key Highlights from Day 1:
The event commenced with a thought-provoking welcome and objectives presentation by Dr. Birru Yitaferu of EIAR and Professor Petri Pellikka of UH, followed by the keynote speeches. Notable keynotes were delivered by H.E. Sinikka Antila, the Ambassador of the Embassy of Finland to Ethiopia, and Dr. Stefan Lock, Head of Cooperation to the EU in Ethiopia, shedding light on the EU-DeSIRA Programme in Africa.
The day was packed with enlightening sessions showcasing project progress reports from partner organizations. From discussions on remote sensing in Ethiopian highlands to the development of plant-based products for livelihood diversification in Kenya, and the significance of honeybees in this ecosystem, the event provided a comprehensive overview of ongoing initiatives.
Insights from Day 2:
Day 2 delved deeper into the technical facets with presentations from PhD and MSc students. These sessions showcased innovative studies on mapping invasive species, utilizing remote sensing for livestock counting, and assessing the resilience of agropastoral livelihoods to environmental changes.
The afternoon brought lively group discussions covering critical topics like technology and innovation, policy and governance, community engagement, capacity building, and collaboration, emphasizing the multidimensional approach necessary for sustainable agropastoral development.
The event concluded with a sense of achievement, offering a glimpse into the promising future of East African agriculture, marked by collaborative efforts and innovative strategies aimed at mitigating climate change challenges.
The ESSA Addis Ababa November 2023 Seminar and Workshop was more than just an academic gathering; it was a platform fostering actionable solutions and igniting hope for a resilient and sustainable future in East Africa's agro-pastoral landscapes.