Ethiopia launches strategy for low-emission climate resilient development

Dec 8, 2011

Durban, 8 December –Ethiopia will embark on a national plan that aims to boost the country’s development over the next twenty years while keeping its greenhouse emissions to current levels.

Unveiled here by the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi, the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy aims to create jobs through the development and greening of seven economic sectors: power supply, cities and buildings, forestry, livestock, agriculture, industry and transport.

The government of Ethiopia estimates that these measures will require a USD 150 billion investment over the next twenty years.

“Climate change is a current and lived reality. While we did not cause climate change, we must protect ourselves form its impact. We have the opportunity to demonstrate that in the 21st century a new form of green growth is possible, which can avoid the mistakes of the developed world and create a pathway to green growth,” said Mr. Zenawi.

Under current practices and growth forecasts, Ethiopia, one of the world’s fastest growing economies, would double its greenhouse gas emissions between 2010 and 2030, including through land use, deforestation and cattle rearing.

While contributing to global emission mitigation efforts, the initiative is expected to have a broad impact on human development in Ethiopia, boosting growth and creating jobs across the country, as well as expanding energy access for all through cheaper renewable sources.

The strategy also aims to strengthen rural economic development and food security through the sustainable management of land, forests and ecosystems upon which people depend. For instance, preserving soil quality and increasing crop yields would help to boost agricultural production and livelihoods significantly in a country where droughts have now become frequent.

At the same time, important spillover benefits are expected, such as improved air and water quality, which will have important implications for public health and living standards.

The strategy also projects important savings and revenues in areas presently dominated by fossil fuels. For instance, embracing renewable energy could generate USD one billion in annual savings from fuel-wood expenditures in rural areas. It could also unleash the country’s potential to become a major energy exporter.

“Going forward, the world needs developing and developed countries to be following low emission climate resilient growth strategies,” said Helen Clark, the Administrator of UNDP. “This strategy being launched here in Durban places Ethiopia at the very forefront of countries planning for that transition to a green economy. We see Ethiopia playing a leadership role in Africa and in the world at large on climate change issues,” she added.

The strategy was supported by a coalition of partners, including UNDP, the government of Korea, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, the German government, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) as well as the private sector, including management consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

UNDP supported the climate resilience aspect of the strategy, financed the development of Ethiopia’s green strategy and helped to conduct studies on Ethiopia’s forest carbon.

In addition, in 2012, UNDP will be expected to manage a national, multi-donor trust fund that will attract domestic and international climate financing, including from the private sector, so as to translate the strategy into practical action on the ground.

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