Over 7 million people live in the Afar and Somali Regions in Ethiopia; most of them are pastoralists and agro-pastoralists who exclusively depend on semi-mobile livestock farming for their livelihoods. Economic and social systems were well adapted to the local conditions for centuries. But they get under unprecedented pressure from population growth and impacts of climate change, mainly manifested through increasing frequency and severity of droughts and floods. Overgrazing, erosion, deforestation and loss of soil fertility in combination with increasing conflicts over resources are major challenges for the traditional way of life. The Afar and Somali regions are referred to as “emerging regions with limited capacities”. In development strategies, the consideration of the specific characteristics of the semi-mobile lifestyles of the Afar and Somali clans and the harsh ecological lowland conditions remain a challenge.