The document outlines four major themes of discussion that the Pre-COP26 is focusing on this year. These four areas are Youth Driving Ambition, Sustainable Recovery, Non-state Actors Engagement, and Climate Conscious Society. Ideas, comments and solutions are discussed under each of the four areas. In addition, organizations and individuals who have been actively participating in the movement in combating climate change and who are part of the climate-conscious society in Ethiopia have been consulted to give a comprehensive stance on this subject and represent their concrete ideas to climate solutions they would like to see put on the table.
Students in Addis Ababa university were consulted to add innovative climate solutions to the position paper. Young Women for Climate Justice, a newly formed group committed to climate justice, women's engagement in climate policy development, and recognition of their vulnerabilities to climate change, were also consulted. Involved young individuals such as Seble Samuel, an environmentalist and founder of Menged Le Sew and Lem Ketema, and Greta Iori, Director of Program Development at Elephant Protection Initiative Foundation and Women for the Environment (WE) Africa 2021 Fellow were consulted in the writing of this position paper. We also reached out to non-state actors like Kefta Real Estate which is the first residential building in Ethiopia to incorporate green building technologies that minimize carbon footprint and maximize inbuilt and natural efficiencies, and Kuriftu Resort, which is striving to incorporate eco-tourism and sustainability in their operations.
Ethiopia has been currently leading campaigns and joining the movement for a green and circular economy. Green Legacy, an initiative that was launched in 2019 to plant 20 billion trees across the country over four years, has gained popularity not only in our region but across the globe, inspiring nations like Canada and the UK to join the movement. Moreover, establishment of the national strategy Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) gives a strong indication of Ethiopia’s high ambitions and strive to move towards a greener economy. From an environmental, social and economic perspective, being the leader in the CRGE and the Green Legacy initiative has had many benefits; job creation, diplomatic advantages and protection of the environment are only a few. In addition, a large percentage of Ethiopia’s energy comes from renewable sources; hydropower is important for Ethiopia and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is expected to be a large source of energy, not only for the country but for the region as well. All of these climate conscious actions taken by our government can help our country foster green and environmental diplomacy in the continent which will inspire more nations.
Although our country is making more climate conscious activities, we still face many challenges in terms of lack of human and financial capacity. Environmental governance needs to be improved at all levels. Weak capacity in environmental management, law enforcement, monitoring and implementation are key challenges that need to be addressed.
Ethiopia’s newly updated Nationally Determined Contributions emphasizes the country’s aim for a climate compatible development which stands as hope that there will be solutions to the previously stated challenges. The 2021 NDC updated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions projections using the most recent national and sectoral emissions inventory data and even though Ethiopia’s contribution to global GHG emissions is tiny, the country has increased its overall mitigation ambition with a commitment to reduce economy-wide emissions by at least 68.8% by 2030 against the business-as-usual projection. The NDC also integrates the country’s national climate and development objectives by aligning the GHG emissions pathways with national development priorities and sectoral targets from Ethiopia’s new 10-year development plan.
In this position paper, Agenda 2063 the master plan to transform our continent to the Africa We Want, Ethiopia needs to actively participate in the green economy and climate conscious development plan and ensure the lasting protection of our natural resources.