SWITCH Africa Green Programme Launch and Inception Workshop in Ethiopia

Ethiopia will continue its unwavering commitment to working with the UN Environment Programme to meet its national and international long-term objectives.

Opening Statement by Pro. Fekadu Beyene, Commissioner for Environment, Forestry and Climate Change

Your Excellency the Acting Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the United Nations in Ethiopia and World Food Programme Representative in Ethiopia, Mr. Steven Were Omamo

Your Excellency the EU Delegation Head of Cooperation, Mr. Erik HABERS

Distinguished guests, colleagues, and friends,

A Very Good morning to you all, and thank you very much for being here today.

It is indeed my great honor to be amongst you at this launching of SWITCH Africa Green Programme in Ethiopia. From the very outset, I would like to express my greatest appreciation to the European Union for Funding this Project in Ethiopia, as well as United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) not only for taking the initiation to bring the initiative to Ethiopia but also for being co-implementer of the Project in Ethiopia with the Commission, and for co-organizing this timely workshop.

The importance of green economy as a driving tool to achieve sustainable development and eradicate poverty has increased significantly since it was brought to discussion on international stage for the first-time during Rio Plus 20 Summit in 2012. It has now emerged as a strategic priority and alternative for many governments and development partners to address the adverse impacts of the conventional economic growth paradigm, which encourages widespread environmental risks as well as wasteful consumption and production practices. There is now a universal consensus that building green economy is a silver bullet to tackle major environmental challenges that we are facing collectively in the 21st century, ranging from severe food insecurity to climate change and ecosystem degradation.  

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

In 2011, the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has declared that a climate resilient green economy (CRGE) is the development strategy to be pursued. The CRGE strategy is designed as a national response to build a green economy with overarching objective to achieve a middle-income country status by 2025. The strategy follows a sectoral approach and is built upon four major pillars that are key to realize the aspiration to build a green economy in the country. Agriculture, forestry, energy, industry and buildings, including waste management, are among sectors given due attention by this strategy.

Looking back at the past 9 years, Ethiopia has gone through a significant progress in its endeavor to build green economy across the country. We have been carrying out various practical actions that geared towards achieving our ambitious goal of becoming a low-middle income country as well as building a green economy. CRGE implementation has moved from project-based approach and now fully mainstreamed into the National Development Plan, Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II).

Recognizing the importance of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the journey to realize a middle-income status by 2025, Ethiopia has also developed a strategy that puts Micro Small and Medium Enterprises at the centre of its green growth development path. Through the formulation of a National Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Development Strategy in 2011, Ethiopia has given a premium attention to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises as a critical instrument in its poverty alleviation targets through decent job creation to reduce unemployment rate.

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

Today’s inception workshop is organized with the main objective to officially launch the SWITCH Africa Green Programme in Ethiopia. In so doing, the workshop will sensitize all concerned stakeholders on priorities of SWITCH Africa Green Programme in Ethiopia as well as their respective roles in ensuring the effective implementation of this programme. In addition, the workshop will provide a platform for involved stakeholders to discuss the existing opportunities for strengthening an enabling environment for eco-entrepreneurship, eco-innovation, sustainable consumption and production and green economy in the country. 

The full implementation of the SWITCH Africa Green Programme in Ethiopia will support the uptake of innovative green business and sustainable consumption and production practices across three national priority sectors, namely agriculture, manufacturing and integrated waste management. Activities on the ground will focus on growing green sectors and capturing market opportunities for resource efficient green goods and services and supporting local green entrepreneurs to start up and develop green business ventures in the selected sectors.

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

The launching of SWITCH Africa Green Programme in Ethiopia comes at a time the country is undertaking a critical journey of all rounded and deep reforms that geared towards addressing various socio-economic problems, including the creation of decent jobs for millions of youth and ensuring environmental sustainability.

It is my adamant belief that the launch of this programme will have significant contributions not only in realizing our long-term national objective of building a green economy but also support the ongoing national reforms by creating green jobs as well as by providing opportunities to private sector to engage actively in green industries and low carbon technologies investment. The inception of the programme will also reinforce Ethiopia’s endeavour to achieve its various global commitments, including the 2030 SDGs and Paris Agreements. In addition, it will play its own role in strengthening the partnership between public and private sector as the programme is expected to engage multiple state and non-state actors at different stages of its implementation.

Excellencies,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and Gentleman,

As I conclude, I want to assure you that Ethiopia will continue its unwavering commitment to working with the United Nations Environment Programme(UNEP) to meet its national and international long-term objectives. I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contribution of the European Union (EU) for providing this kind of support at the time we need it most. I have to underline here that the continued support of our development partners remains critical, and thus, I call upon both UNEP and EU to continue their commitments in supporting Ethiopia’s aspiration to build a green economy in various sectors.  

With this remark, I would like to thank you all for listening and I wish you a fruitful deliberation.

Thank you!

Speech by
Author
Pro. Fekadu Beyene
Commissioner for Environment, Forestry and Climate Change
Pro. Fekadu Beyene
UN entities involved in this initiative
UN ECLAC
United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
UNEP
United Nations Environment Programme