Ethiopia’s National Statement at the UN Climate Summit

by Zelalem

Prime Minister Hailemariam delivered Ethiopia’s National Statement at the UN Climate Summit in New York on Tuesday (September 23). The Prime Minister noted that the country had set a long-term, national vision of ensuring its renaissance as well as a medium-term goal to become a middle-income country by 2025.

To achieve this it had rejected the conventional business-as-usual path of development in favour of building a green climate-resilient middle-income economy, with zero-net carbon dioxide emission. The Prime Minister said economic growth had historically been associated with increased emissions of greenhouse gases, but Ethiopia had been working for continued double-digit economic growth without increasing emissions, rather indeed reducing them. It had implemented agricultural intensification, rehabilitation of degraded land, investment in water storage and irrigation schemes, improved inputs, practices and marketing systems, improved access to veterinary health services, increased generation of power from renewable energy sources, rural electrification, extensive use of energy efficient technologies and practices, and investment in railway systems powered by electricity generated from renewable energy.

He said the country has put in place the required policy and institutional frameworks for a climate resilient green economy. It had already started implementing some of the measures, investing in the generation of clean and renewable power. By the middle of 2015 or shortly afterwards, it expects to increase power generation capacity from the baseline of 2000 MW to 10,000 MW. The energy regulatory body has been given an expanded mandate and authority to regulate energy efficiency. A series of afforestation and soil and water conservation measures are being taken across the country. The first stage of the light-railway system, powered by electricity from renewable energy sources, is set to start operation at the beginning of next year.

Efforts are underway to ensure a major modal shift in the transportation of freight through investment in electric-powered railway lines. Ethiopia long ago abolished fossil fuel subsidies; it has started to produce bio-fuel by rehabilitating degraded land. Other sectors are developing strategies of ensuring resilience in the face of current and expected climate changes. Most importantly, Ethiopia, by mainstreaming climate change considerations in planning, has determined that its next generation development plans will be green and climate resilient.

Equally, Prime Minister Hailemariam said, Ethiopia alone cannot guarantee success in building a green, climate resilient and middle-income economy. It needed support in finance, technology and capacity. While it was deeply grateful to partner countries for their help, it also believed the solution for such a complex and urgent challenge must be sought, developed and implemented everywhere. Ethiopia therefore called on those able to do so to devote substantial resources to the development and transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies.

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