Dawit SolomonRegional Coordinator, Eastern and Southern Africa and Country Coordinator, Ethiopia
What’s your role at AICCRA and the journey that led you here?
I coordinate and lead AICCRA’s regional program in Eastern and Southern Africa and Ethiopia’s Country Program based at ILRI in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The work involves (i) packaging climate-informed innovations and DSTs to address critical gaps in CIS, ag-advisories, EWS and CSA, strengthen capacity and partnership for delivery, and link bundled packages to transfer systems for scaling, and improve end-users' access to promote large-scale to build agri-food systems resilience by working with continental, regional, national, and subnational partners in the region.
I hold a PhD in Geoecology from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, and a parallel post-doctoral training in biogeochemistry, biogeochemical cycling, environmental sciences, sustainable agriculture and climate change from Cornell University in the USA and the University of Bayreuth. Before Joining One-CGIAR, I was a Senior Research Associate and Research Fellow at Atkinson Center for Sustainable Future, Cornell University working in basic and applied sciences research in the areas of multi-element micro and nano-scale functional group biogeochemistry, sustainable agriculture, food and nutrition security and climate change. I still serve as Associate Professor (Adjunct) at the School of Integrative Plant Science Soil and Crop Sciences Section, at Cornell University.
I’ve also worked as a Research Scientist at various international agriculture, environment, and ecology projects in forest, grassland and agricultural systems in Eastern and Western Africa, Central Asia, the Brazilian Amazon, and in the Great Plains of North America. Prior to that, I worked as lecturer and also head of soil sciences in Jimma University in Ethiopia. My interests span from cross-cutting, and cross-scale (from landscape to nano-level) regional and global biogeochemistry, sustainable agriculture, climate-smart food and nutrition security and climate change-related themes to developing institutional capacity, partnerships and engagement with research, institutions of higher learning, private sector industry, government, and international institutions in Africa.
Tell us why you think AICCRA can help deliver a climate-smart future for Africa?
Eastern and Southern Africa are among the regions at a disproportionately higher risk of adverse consequences of global warming. These regions are extremely vulnerable to the various manifestations of extreme events and climate change, and are considered a climate hotspot where climate change poses grave threats to agriculture, food security, human well-being, and natural environments.
Since the Maputo Declaration on Agriculture and Food Security in 2003, governments in Eastern and Southern Africa have made sustainable transformation of agriculture a priority. AICCRA ESA is all about working together with its continental, regional, national and sub-national partners striving to support ESA countries to implement effective agri-food system resilience and adaptation building measures with mitigation co-benefits focusing on revitalization, intensification, diversification and innovation to sustainably transform the region’s agriculture to ensure food and nutrition security in the face of a changing climate.