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About Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Ethiopia

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.

Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Vision, Mission, Objectives and Core Values

Policy Framework

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.

Legislative Framework

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 77 of 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.

Power and Duties of the Ministry

  • The major duties and responsibilities of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change as stated in the Proclamation No. 916/2015 are as follows:
  • Coordinate activities to ensure that the environmental objectives provided under the Constitution and the basic principles set out in the Environmental Policy of the Country are realized;
  • Establish a system and follow up implementation for undertaking environmental impact assessment or strategic environmental assessment on social and economic development polices, strategies, laws, programs and project set by the government or Privet;
  • Prepare a mechanism that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and channel the major part of 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 Regional levels; as well as provide capacity building support and advisory services;
  • Establish a system for evaluating and decision making, in accordance with the Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation, the impacts of implementation of investment programs and projects on environment prior to approvals of their implementation by the concerned pectoral licensing organ or the concerned regional organ;
  • Prepare programmes and directives for the synergistic implementation and follow up of environmental agreements ratified by Ethiopia pertaining to the natural resources base, desertification, forests, hazardous chemicals, industrial wastes and anthropogenic environmental hazards with the objective of avoiding overlaps, wastage of resources and gaps during their implementation in all sectors and at all governance levels;
  • Take part in the negotiations of international environmental and climate change agreements and, as appropriate, initiate a process of their ratification; play key role in coordinating the nationwide responses to the agreements;
  • coordinate, and as may be appropriate, carry out research and technology transfer activities that 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;
  • Establish a system for development and utilization of small and large scale forest including bamboo on private, communal and watershed areas, and ensure implementation of same;
  • Establish a system to rehabilitate degraded forest lands and ensure its implementation to enhance their environmental and economic benefits