Namukolo Covic, Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia, CGIAR Ethiopia Country Convenor and CGIAR Regional Director for East and Southern Africa

How the five CGIAR impact areas align with the Seqota Declaration

Ethiopia has long grappled with the challenge of malnutrition, especially among children under the age of two. According to the 2019 Demographic and Health Mini-Survey, 37 per cent of children under five years old were stunted (too short for their age) which is an indication of chronic undernutrition. As part of its commitment to addressing this issue, the government of Ethiopia introduced the Seqota Declaration, a multisectoral plan to end stunting among children under two years by 2030.

Initiated in 2015, the declaration aims to achieve its goal through nutrition-specific, nutrition-sensitive and climate-smart infrastructure interventions in a multi-sectoral approach. This ambitious target requires collaborative efforts that CGIAR, through its research and innovation in agriculture, can play a crucial role in supporting, with evidence, innovations and technologies.

CGIAR is a global research partnership that works to deliver science-based solutions for more sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems. This is done by contributing to five impact areas: climate adaptation and mitigation; gender equality, youth and social inclusion; nutrition, health and food security; poverty reduction, livelihoods and jobs; and environmental health and biodiversity. 

Research and innovation in agriculture can provide sustainable solutions to improve food security,  diets and nutrition outcomes. Thus, collaboration between CGIAR and the Seqota Declaration should be actively sought. This can be done through multiple entry points that address major challenges, including identifying critical opportunities for food systems transformation. CGIAR is an important stakeholder with a mission to transform food, land and water systems in LMICs and with a strong presence in Ethiopia.

Possible entry points

Climate change

Climate change poses a serious threat to food security, nutrition and health in Ethiopia, especially for the most vulnerable groups, i.e children, women and smallholder farmers. The impacts of climate change include limiting crop production, livestock survival and health, water availability, pest and disease outbreaks for both crops and livestock. We have seen examples of this recently of a devastating prolonged drought and desert locust infestation in Ethiopia. 

To address these challenges, CGIAR conducts research to develop climate-smart agricultural practices that increase productivity, resilience and adaptation. Working with national partners to foster adoption of improved varieties of crops and livestock that are more tolerant to drought, heat, pests and diseases, CGIAR also develops conservation agriculture technologies and innovations. This includes rainwater harvesting and irrigation to conserve soil and water resources. Farmers are also provided with access to weather information, insurance and credit services  relevant to challenges faced by farm households in Seqota Declaration implementation areas.

The Seqota Declaration integrates nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive interventions across sectors, aiming to combat child undernutrition while indirectly addressing climate-related vulnerabilities. Its holistic approach recognizes that nutrition and climate resilience are interconnected components of sustainable development in Ethiopia.


Nutrition is at the core of the Seqota Declaration, which aims to ensure that all children under two years of age have access to adequate, safe and diverse foods that meet their nutritional needs. CGIAR can contribute to this goal by supporting efforts to make quality nutritious foods available, and affordable through research.

In collaboration with partners, CGIAR has conducted research to develop and disseminate biofortified staple crops that are rich in micronutrients to promote dietary diversity. The International Potato Center, a CGIAR research center has done such research in different parts of Ethiopia on vitamin A rich sweet potato. CGIAR conducts research to improve food safety along the value chain and increase consumer awareness and demand for healthy diets. The International Livestock Research Institute, one of the CGIAR research centers has conducted research towards developing food safety guidelines for information markets where the majority still obtain fresh foods. Such research is relevant to Seqota Declaration implementation areas.

Gender equality

Gender equality is essential for achieving food security, nutrition and health outcomes in Ethiopia. Women play a key role in food production, processing, marketing and supporting diverse consumption patterns. But women face multiple constraints such as limited access to land, inputs, information, markets, and services, as well as unequal decision-making power.

CGIAR conducts research that informs on how to empower women and girls by addressing these constraints and enhancing their opportunities in food systems. For instance, through its research CGIAR has supported women to access improved seeds, fertilizers, extension services, credit, and engage in collective action. This is relevant in Seqota Declaration 

Youth and inclusion

Youth and inclusion are important dimensions of the Seqota Declaration, which aims to create an enabling environment for young people to participate in food systems as producers, entrepreneurs, consumers, and citizens. CGIAR works to engage youth and marginalized groups such as ethnic minorities, refugees and people with disabilities in the food system by enhancing their skills, capacities, aspirations and opportunities. For example, CGIAR supports youth entrepreneurship through:

  • Agribusiness incubators, mentorship programs, innovation challenges and digital platforms; 
  • Youth employment through vocational training, apprenticeships, job fairs, and value chain development; 
  • Youth empowerment through leadership development, networking, advocacy and social accountability; 
  • Youth inclusion through participatory research, co-design and co-creation of innovations and policies.
One Health

One Health is an integrated approach that recognizes the interconnections between human health, animal health and environmental health. It is relevant to the Seqota Declaration, which aims to reduce threats to human health from exposure to harmful substances in food systems and to prevent environmental degradation.

CGIAR works to promote One Health by improving animal health and welfare in the following ways:

  • Disease surveillance, diagnosis, prevention and control; 
  • Reducing antimicrobial use and resistance through prudent practices, alternatives and stewardship;
  • Enhancing environmental health and sustainability through natural resource management, biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services;
  • Strengthening multisectoral collaboration and coordination among health, agriculture and environment actors.

Working together with partners, CGIAR strives to contribute to the well-being of millions of children and their families in Ethiopia by providing science-based solutions for more sustainable, resilient and inclusive food systems. This supports the Government of Ethiopia’s visionary commitment, through the Seqota Declaration, of ending child malnutrition in Ethiopia.

The Seqota Declaration resource mobilization plan

A resource mobilization plan in which the government of Ethiopia takes the lead in funding the needed interventions was developed to ensure sustainable financing for the implementation, expansion and scaling up of the Seqota Declaration phases. It calls on development partners to complement the government’s efforts.  

 “The Seqota Declaration started with 40 woredas or districts in the innovation phase. This was increased to 240 woredas at the start of the expansion phase and is now expected to reach 1000 woredas in the scale up phase. To say it offers an opportune platform for CGIAR to test appropriate technologies and innovations in different settings, would be an understatement. CGIAR should explore potential entry points for the evidence they generate through their extensive research efforts in Ethiopia,” said Namukolo Covic, Director General’s Representative to Ethiopia.