The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the lead government body responsible and legally mandated for environmental management. The vision of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is to ensure a clean and healthy environment in Ethiopia to create a better living environment to meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is responsible to ensure the realization of the environmental rights, goals, objectives and basic principles enshrined in the Constitution as well as the Environment Policy of Ethiopia through coordinating appropriate measures, establishing systems, developing programmes and mechanisms for the welfare of humans and the safety of the environment.
By ensuring sustainable environment and forest management, development and Utilization, Ethiopia achieves middle income status in a climate resilient green economy by 2025.
In order for sustainable environmental and forest resource management, development and utilization contribute to poverty eradication, the ministry of environment and forest is mandated to prepare regulatory instruments and insure their implementation, coordinate and carryout research and technology transfer, enhance education and awareness, coordinate climate resilient green economy development activities, build the capacity of development partners, enhance forest investment and marketing, spearhead and follow up the implementation of international environmental and forest related agreements, and prepare timely state of environment reports.
- Enabling the fast economic growth of the country to be sustainable and that ensures environmental safety.
- In an effort the country has planned to become the middle income country by 2025, ensure that climate resilient green economy (CRGE) strategy building is implemented in all sectors.
- By improving forest development, protection and utilization, increase the economic, social and ecological benefit to be obtained from forest resource.
Ethiopia has issued various strategic and institutional frameworks to be applied in the effort to manage the environment. The regulatory framework ranges from the supreme law of the country, the constitution, to various specific environmental standards whereas the institutional arrangements extended from the federal to the local levels.
Ethiopia’s Constitution incorporates a number of provisions relevant to the protection, sustainable use, and improvement of the country’s environment. Article 44 guarantees “the right to a clean and healthy environment,” while Article 43 pledges “the right . . . to sustainable development.” Additionally, Articles 89 and 92 require national policy and government activities to be compatible with environmental health. Article 89 further obliges the government to ensure sustainable development, work for the common benefit of the community, and promote the participation of the people, including women, in the creation of national development policies and programs. Moreover, according to Article 91, the government is duty-bound to protect and support cultures, traditions, natural endowments, and historical sites and objects.The incorporation of these important provisions into the supreme law of the land has raised environmental issues to the level of fundamental human rights.
The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the Federal institution for managing the Environment of Ethiopia. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is responsible to ensure the realization of the environmental rights, goals, objectives and basic principles enshrined in the Constitution as well as the Environment Policy of Ethiopia through coordinating appropriate measures, establishing systems,developing programmes and mechanisms for the welfare of humans and the safety of the environment.
It is mandated to formulate or initiate and coordinate the formulation of strategies, policies, laws and standards as well as procedures and up on approval monitor and enforce their implementation. It is also responsible for the synergistic implementation and follow-up of international and regional environmental agreements, including those pertaining to hazardous chemicals, industrial wastes and anthropogenic environmental hazards in which Ethiopia is a party. All MEA’s are currently being coordinated and monitored by the Ministry of environment, Forest and climate Change.
To reach its current existence, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change has passed through different institutional restructuring and changes in its legal formation. The Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and Ministry of Environment and Forest were key stepping institutions for the establishment of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change.
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was established as an autonomous government agency at the Federal level by Proclamation 9/1995 primarily responsible for environmental management and protection of the country in 1995. The institution was accountable to the prime Minister. Along with EPA, the Environmental Protection Council was also established to oversee the tasks and activities of EPA as well as the activities of sectorial environmental agencies and units responsible for environmental management. The proclamation establishing EPA also stipulated the need for the establishment of environmental organs by regions.
Following the need for better representation of environmental matters in the Council of Ministers, EPA upgraded to the Ministry of Environment and Forest showing the political will and increased momentum in managing the Environment and was subsequently re-established as an autonomous body responsible to the Prime Minister by the Environmental Organs Establishment Proclamation No. 295/2002 . The Ministry of Environment and Forest was established by the amended proclamation 803/2013 . The proclamation mandated the Ministry, inter alia, to Coordinate and ensure the environmental objectives stipulated in the 1995 constitution of Ethiopia and the basic environmental principles indicated in the 1997 environmental policy of Ethiopia. The Ministry took the the following powers and duties vested to it by proclamation No 803/2013 :
• Coordinate and ensure the environmental objectives stipulated in the 1995 constitution of Ethiopia and the basic environmental principles indicated in the 1997 environmental policy of Ethiopia
• Ensure that private, public and government projects do not inflict adverse social and environmental impacts. It also ensures that government social and economic development policies, strategies, laws and programmes are in line with the constitution and other law of the lands and never induce adverse social and environmental impacts;
• Prepare a mechanism that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and channel the major part of any benefit derived thereof to the affected communities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have resulted from deforestation and forest degradation;
• Ensure the implementation of internationally agreed and ratified environmental and natural resource issues are rightly implemented through the preparation of different policies and strategies as well as establishment of implementing institution(s);
• Propose incentives to encourage best practices or disincentives to discourage practices that may hamper the sustainable use of natural resource or the prevention of environmental degradation or pollution;
• Promotes the sustainability of the environment and the conservation and use of forest as well as the equitable sharing of benefits accruing from them while creating opportunities for green jobs.
In 2015, the Ministry of Environment and Forest was renamed and restructured to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change by Promotion No 916/2015 .The Ministry has, inter alia, the following powers and duties:
• Coordinate measures to ensure that the environment objectives provided under the constitution and the basic principles set out in the environmental policy of Ethiopia are realized.
• Establish a system for environmental impact assessment of public and private projects, as well as social and economic development policies, strategies, laws and programs.
• Prepare a mechanism that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and channel the major part of any benefit derived thereof to the affected communities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have resulted from deforestation and forest degradation.
• coordinate actions on soliciting the resources required for building a climate resilient green economy in all sectors and at all governance levels as well as provide capacity building support and advisory services.
• Establish a system for the evaluation of the environmental impact assessment of investment projects submitted by their respective proponents by the concerned sectorial licensing organ or the concerned regional organ prior to granting a permission for their implementation in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation.
• Take part in the negotiations of international environmental agreements and, as appropriate, initiate a process of their ratification.
• Establish an environmental information system that promotes efficiency in environmental data collection, management and use.
• Promote and provide non formal environmental education program and cooperate with competent organs with a view to integrating environmental concerns in the regular educational curricula.
One of the major policy framework document with respect to environmental management of Ethiopia is the Environmental Policy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia that approved by the Council of Ministers in April 1997. The general objective of this policy is to improve and enhance the health and quality of life of all Ethiopians and to promote sustainable social and economic development through the sound management and use of natural, human-made and cultural resources and the environment as a whole so as to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
The policy recognizes that the general and specific objective of the policy emanate from well articulated guiding principles which include the right to healthy environment, community empowerment, creation of enabling atmosphere, sustainable use of renewable resources, use of appropriate technology, long-term economic development, security of land tenure, regular assessment and monitoring of environmental conditions, increased environmental awareness and interdependence on environmental issues at all levels.
The other relevant policy is the National Policy on the Biodiversity Conservation and Research that was issued on April, 1998. The policy is formulated based on the rationale that conservation of biodiversity is one of the conditions of the overall socioeconomic development and sustainable environment management goals. It provides a general framework towards effective conservation, rational development and sustainable utilization of genetic resources.
Ethiopia’s Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy was developed through an initiative led by the Prime Minister’s Office, the then Environmental Protection Authority, and the Ethiopian Development Research Institute. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change is the lead organization for overseeing the implementation of this strategy. The objective of the strategy is to identify green economy opportunities that could help Ethiopia reach its ambitious growth targets (which are stipulated in the Growth and Transformation Plan) while keeping greenhouse gas emissions low. The strategy is currently being implemented and will require a boost in Ethiopia’s agricultural productivity, strengthening the industrial base and fostering export growth.
The primary legislative organ of the Federal Government is the House of Peoples’ Representatives. The highest executive powers of the Federal Government are vested in the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers that are collectively responsible to the House of Peoples’ Representatives. As per Article 77of the constitution, the Council of Ministers may be delegated by the House of Peoples’ Representatives to make secondary legislation.
The principal legislations translated into national proclamation, regulation and directive have been in place to facilitate and guide the environmental management activities Ethiopia is undertaking.