The role of institutional actors and their interactions in the land use policy making process in Ethiopia

Adenew Taffa Ariti*, Jasper van Vliet, Peter H. Verburg

*Corresponding author for this work

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This study investigates the role of the different institutional actors involved in the development and implementation of land use policies in the Ethiopian Rift Valley. The work is based on interviews with key informants from different administrative levels and these results are compared to the relevant policy documents. While the constitution prescribes a participatory policy development process, our results show that in reality policies are made at the highest level and implemented in a top-down approach from the higher to the lower administrative levels. Moreover, the institutional network mainly consists of institutions that are hierarchically linked, while horizontal and diagonal relations are less common and less important. Consistently, higher level institutions are mostly involved in the development of land use policies, while the roles of lower level institutions are predominantly in the implementation thereof. This lack of participation by lower level institutions, in addition to a lack of capacity and absence of clear institutional mandates, hampers the effectiveness of land use policies. Our results also provide suggestions to improve the development, communication, and eventually the acceptability of land use policies towards sustainable land management.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-246
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Environmental Management
Early online date22 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Administrative levels
  • Awareness
  • Land governance
  • Land use planning
  • Land use policy
  • Natural resource management

VU Research Profile

  • Science for Sustainability


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