The project concerns a major development corridor of Ethiopia, the closed basins at the interface between the Highlands and the Rift Valley. Such basins are sensitive to environmental changes on the surrounding escarpments as well as to climate variability. The landscapes are subject to rapid changes, from (agro-)pastoralism through cereal-based cropping systems to semi-intensive irrigated agriculture. Cooperation and conflicts exist between pastoralist Afar lowlanders and Tigray and Amhara crop farmers. The Specific Academic Objective of this project is to increase the capacity of Mekelle University’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences and partner organizations (2 PhD and 6 MSc); the Specific Development Objective is to perform an integrated geographical study on land use, settlement and agricultural systems, in order to develop tools and strategies contributing to planning and management of land and water.