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NCCR North-South - Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development

Thank you for visiting the website of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South. The NCCR North-South programme formally ended in June 2014.

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Horn of Africa

Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 7
Measuring and monitoring the quality of soils using spectroscopy

How much carbon is in the soil? How much nitrogen? How much will there be if the land is ploughed, or planted with trees? Answering these questions is vital for agriculture as well as new ecosystem-service and carbon-sequestration payment schemes. In Ethiopia, many soils are depleted because of poor land management. New approaches are needed. Spectroscopy is an ideal tool to provide the required baseline soil data for planning such approaches. In combination with global positioning systems and satellite remote sensing, spectroscopy also enables the fertility of large areas to be monitored efficiently.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 6
Khat in Ethiopia: finding a balance between positives and negatives

Khat is a controversial crop. When chewed, its leaves are mildly narcotic, leading to bans in North America and Europe. In Ethiopia, Somalia, and Yemen, where most khat is grown, the crop is not illegal, and it provides the basis for a growing part of the economy. In recent decades, discussions about khat in Ethiopia have been reduced to arguments for or against prohibition. The debate is mostly based on ideology and politics rather than science. Attention has been diverted from the potential for research on the crop, including its alternative uses. This regional policy brief outlines some of khat's pros and cons, and proposes ways to discuss it more constructively.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 5
Chiefs, state-building, and development in independent South Sudan

Chiefs play an important role in community life in the young nation of South Sudan. They provide an array of vital services, from mobilising people for community projects to adjudicating disputes and administering customary law. Sometimes criticised as being an unelected group of old men, they will nevertheless play a vital role in South Sudan’s steps to building viable, effective, local government institutions. This issue of evidence for policy looks at chiefs and how development agencies should interact with them.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 4
Tailoring HIV interventions in Ethiopia to suit the local context

HIV/AIDS is one of Ethiopia’s biggest public health concerns. While most people in Ethiopian cities and towns are aware of the risks, surveys have shown that people living in remote pastoral communities are poorly informed, particularly about methods of HIV prevention and modes of HIV infection. This regional edition of evidence for policy discusses the vulnerability to HIV infection of one such community in southern Ethiopia, and outlines HIV intervention approaches that hold promise there and in similar pastoralist societies.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 3
Transboundary waters and conflict transformation in northeastern Africa

Rising populations and the need for economic development in the Nile Basin have increased demand for water for drinking, irrigation, sanitation, and hydropower. The growing demand for water is further accentuated by climate change and rising aridity. The Nile Basin states share a common interest in the sustainable use, management, and protection of the finite water that flows down the river. They are seeking ways to reach an agreement on how to manage the shared waters. This policy brief identifies the key issues that have so far contributed to lack of such an agreement.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 2
Understanding new sources of conflicts in the lowlands of Ethiopia

Violent conflicts in lowland areas in Ethiopia often involve pastoralists and agro-pastoralists – people who must migrate in search of grazing land and water for their livestock. Violence in these areas has often been linked to previous government efforts to restrict the movement of these migrant groups. However, new factors have emerged that are contributing to area conflicts, such as expansion of farms, unbalanced representation of groups in local administration, and misuse of the principles of decentralisation. This policy brief examines these factors and suggests policy options to reduce the extent and the effects of the violence.

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Regional Edition Horn of Africa No. 1
Improving ecosystem services for food security in Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s Highlands, once endowed with rich natural resources, are now heavily degraded following several thousand years of agricultural use. This policy brief focuses on ways of restoring and sustainably using Ethiopia’s natural resources, in order to ensure food security and key ecosystem services on behalf of the population. The researchers discuss the impact of recent soil and water conservation measures, the importance of biodiversity, the potential for better water management, and the need for more research on the local effects of global change.

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The NCCR North-South is hosted by the University of Bern
and funded jointly by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation