Article | Last updated: 06/06/2016 | Ministry of Climate and Environment
Ethiopia is vulnerable to the effects of global climate change. As the first large country in Africa, Ethiopia has launched an ambitious green national development plan, where the goal is to maintain strong economic growth in the decades ahead and become a so-called middle-income country by 2030, but without increasing national greenhouse gas emissions.
Ethiopia is the world's most populous landlocked country, located on the Horn of Africa. With a land area of over one million square kilometers, it is almost as large as France and Spain combined. The country has several climate zones, with both hot desert areas and mountain plateaus with seasonal snow cover.
The national economy has traditionally been reliant on the productivity of its rain-dependent agriculture, but the authorities are increasingly emphasising industrialisation and energy generation, particularly from hydroelectric power.
The population of about 100 million people growing rapidly. 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas, according to FAO, but a growing number are moving into the cities.
Coffee originated in Ethiopia and is one of Ethiopia's main export commodities. Ethiopia is already experiencing the consequences of climate change. Changes in rainfall patterns and frequent drought makes agriculture vulnerable and create food shortages for millions of Ethiopians. Ethiopia's Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE Strategy) aims to address this.
Ethiopia has both savannah forest and other natural forests in the highlands. Natural forests have a significant wealth of endemic species. Forests are natural water towers for wetlands and river systems that supply millions of Ethiopians with electricity, drinking water and irrigation. Deforestation leads to changed microclimate and rainfall patterns, and also contributes to global climate change.
It is important that Ethiopia's forests are protected from further deforestation. Moreover, reforestation in Ethiopia is key. By supporting Ethiopia's Climate Resilient Green strategy for growth without increased greenhouse gas emissions, Norway will help to protect Ethiopia's forests.
In August 2013, Norway and Ethiopia one climate and forest agreement to reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation and increase the uptake of carbon in forests. This agreement builds on a broader climate cooperation signed during the UN climate summit in Durban in 2011, Norway pledged to support the implementation of Ethiopia's green strategy (Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy - CRGE).
By supporting Ethiopia's green strategy for growth without increased greenhouse gas emissions, Norway will help to preserve Ethiopia's remaining natural forests. The development strategy will provide reductions of 200-250 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions (4-5 times Norway's annual emissions). Meanwhile, the strategy is intended to protect large natural forest areas, which could have great significance for Ethiopia's food security, water supply and microclimate.
Ethiopia's green development plan alone could give reductions of 200-250 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions. That is substantial. At the same time the plan will contribute to protecting large expanses of natural forest with significant species diversity. Protecting the forest is also important for national food security, water supplies and the microclimate.
Ethiopia is active in climate negotiations, and has presented an ambitious national climate policy. Before the Paris climate
change negotiations, Ethiopia submitted a very ambitious INDC (Intended Nationally Determined Contributions) to the UNFCCC. Ethiopia shared its Forest Reference Level with UNFCCC in January 2016.
Ethiopia has a leading role on climate policy in Africa. The African Union (AU), the African Development Bank and other African institutions are all headquartered in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Abeba.
Norway is a part of the Climate Partnership with Ethiopia established in Lima in 2014, togeheter with France, UK, US, EU, Germany, Sweden and Denmark, to support the implementation of Ehiopia's green development plan.
Forestry efforts in Ethiopia
Ethiopia's remaining natural forests contain significant species diversity. The forests are also natural water towers for wetlands and river systems that supply millions of Ethiopians with electricity, drinking water and irrigation. It is very important for these areas to be protected from further deforestation. Increased reforestation, for its part, is the key to safeguarding the local microclimate, supplying the villages with bioenergy and binding the soil where food is grown.
In total, Norwegian support for the development of a national REDD mechanism will contribute to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, binding carbon and strengthening the country's natural resource management.
In 2015, Ethiopia included forest protection and rehabilitation in its overall national development plan called Growth and Transformation Plan II 2016- 2020.
2016 markes the transition between phase 1 and 2 in the partnership. The first phase has focussed on designing a REDD+ strategy, a framework for safeguards, institution building and developing a system for monitoring and reporting carbon emission from deforestation. In phase 2 Ethiopia will develop concrete projects to reduce deforestation, restore forest and enhance the legal framework in the forest sector.
For Ethiopia's safeguards framework, see: https://reddplusethiopia.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/oromia-forested-landscape-program-sesa-social-assessment-14-october-2015-rev-wb.pdf
Similarities and differences with other Norwegian-supported REDD work
REDD+ implemented in Ethiopia is somewhat different from REDD+ implemented in the Amazon region or Southeast Asia.
For example, measures for afforestation i.e. planting and managing forests, are assessed to have greater potential significance in Ethiopia than in classic “rain forest countries” since they can contribute to greater food security, reduced erosion, improved microclimate and offer other benefits.
The Norwegian support to Ethiopia's REDD work is provided through several channels. Agreements have been signed with both the World Bank and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). At the same time Norway is working to increase Ethiopia's national capacity by building on Ethiopian institutions and holding the Ethiopian authorities responsible for both management and results. This is taking place in close consultation with other donors and partners, and reviews and assessments are shared between the donors.
The collaboration has a time horizon up to 2020, which coincides with the aim of implementing a new climate agreement.
External sources referring to Ethiopia's climate work (in English):
In an interview in the Government-controlled newspaper The Ethiopian Herald, Ethiopia's Minister of the Environment and Forests Ato Belete Tefera presents the authorities' and Ministry's work on the climate and the national low emissions strategy (Climate Resilient Green Economy, CRGE).
Ethiopia receives technical and financial support through the World Bank's Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF). The collaboration is described in more detail on FCPF's website:
Ethiopia's work on its low carbon development strategy CRGE and the national climate fund CRGEFacility, through which the money from Norway is channelled, is referred to on the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED, website: http://www.iied.org/ethiopia-can-it-adapt-climate-change-build-green-economy
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is one of several partners and refers to its work with CRGE.
The UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) participates as a technical advisor on forest monitoring. It is also an important and authorised source of statistics on forest resources globally and in specific countries. It has collected forest facts on Ethiopia here.
Ethiopia collaborates closely with the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI) in the planning of CRGE. It refers to CRGE here.