A two-day national consultation in Ethiopia, held from 11-12 April 2022, brought together stakeholder groups to dialogue to feed into the Stockholm +50 global conference scheduled for June this year under the theme: Stockholm+50: A healthy planet for the prosperity of all – our responsibility, our opportunity.
The national dialogue and upcoming global conference offer an opportunity for Ethiopia to demonstrate the progress it has made in integrating the environment into its development agenda, map out challenges and opportunities, reach out to partners and expand partnerships to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs.
In his opening speech, the Director-General of the Environmental Protection Authority, Dr Getahun Garedew, touched upon Ethiopia’s policy, strategy and development plan, several multiyear and multi-sectoral natural resource management national initiatives to address the multifaceted environmental problems.
Deputy Head of Mission of the Swedish Embassy, Mr Stefan Roos Isaksson, said that Sweden understands the need for concerted efforts to address the global environmental problems and is preparing to host the Stockholm+50 summit. He quoted from the closing remark of former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme to the 1972 World Summit on the Human Environment, who had said, 'Our Future is Common. We must share. We Must Shape it Together'.
On Behalf of the UN Regional Coordinator, Mrs Worknesh Mekonnen highlighted various development initiatives on which the UN agencies, especially the UNDP, have supported Ethiopia. She noted that the Stockholm+50 Summit was designed to help accelerate the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals during the Decade of Action, including through a sustainable recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
During the two-day meeting, presentations were made on the national and sector themes. Mr Muluneh Gebremariam from EPA made a presentation on Ethiopia’s climate compatible development journey, including the updated NDC. He said that the country would continue to be heavily impacted by the effects of climate change and the cost of inaction is very high unless we act in a coordinated manner. Ethiopia was said to have heavily invested in climate change actions. Over the last ten years, Ethiopia has invested around 600 Billion Ethiopia Birr. NDC requires over US$316 Billion in both adaptation and mitigation, of which 80% is conditional and is expected to be externally funded by donors.
Other presentations include: National Responses to the Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) in Ethiopia by Mr Mensur from EPA; Landscape Restoration and Livelihood Improvement for Building Social-ecological Resilience by Dr. Adefires from UNDP; the implementation of CBD objectives in Ethiopia by Dr. Melese Maryo from EBI; Meaningful Youth Engagement on Environment and Climate in Ethiopia by Mr. Yared Abera, a youth representative; National Implementation Plan and Ethiopia’s effort to reduce and eliminate Persistent organic pollutant (POPs) by Mr. Girma Gemechu from EPA; Pesticide management and efforts to dispose stockpile to avoid legacy HHPs by Dr. Mesfin Redi from Addis Ababa University; Generating knowledge and communicating the evidence base to influence policy , practitioners and decision-makers by Mr. Yitatek Kelemu from Policy Studies institute; impacts of environmental and climate change disaster on women by Mrs. Mastewal Habtamu from Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association.
Presenters highlighted how Ethiopia's green legacy initiative inspired millions of people to think of addressing land degradation and restoring degraded land all over Ethiopia, including how community participation has contributed to biodiversity conservation in situ. Ethiopia was said to have reduced the average annual rate of deforestation from 92,000 ha to 33,000 ha.
Presenters also indicated how pollution and other environmental problems are posing development challenges, stressing the need for the active participation of all stakeholders in environmental actions. They also underlined that youth and women participation is crucial in environmental governance and needs to be supported by policies and strategies, including institutionalizing the efforts from the current voluntary engagement.
During the discussions, participants stressed that the issue of environment and biodiversity conservation is not a one-sector issue and that collaboration between sectors and different stakeholders is crucial.
Developed countries' financial and technical support was said to be crucial for the implementation of multifaceted environmental and climate actions. Development partners also play a role in mobilizing resources for investments in climate actions in developing countries.
Ethiopia's national consultation will continue with virtual and in-person meetings until the end of May 2022.
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