President Dr. Mulatu Teshome addressed the participants of the first Partnership for Green Growth (P4G) and the Global Goals 2030 Summit on Saturday (October 20). The summit was held in Copenhagen, at the end of last week (October 19-20) under the theme “Global Leadership for a Sustainable Future”. P4G was officially launched in September 2017 by Ethiopia, Denmark, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Korea, Mexico, and Vietnam.
Dr. Mulatu, underlining that Ethiopia was working towards building a zero- carbon and climate resilient middle-income economy by 2025, briefed the Summit on its firm policy of realizing a national development strategy within which environmental protection and the issues of climate change mitigation were a central element. “Green growth, protection of the environment and sustainable development are important components of our strategy’ he stressed, adding
Ethiopia was working diligently to translate its vision of combating the adverse consequences of climate change into action on the basis of four pillars of its green economy strategy. These were: Improving crop and livestock production practices to increase food yields, leading to food security and stable farmer incomes while reducing emissions; protecting and re-establishing forests for their economic and ecosystem services, including operation as carbon stocks; expanding electric power generation from renewable sources of energy five-fold for markets at home and in neighboring countries; and leap-frogging to modern and energy-efficient technologies in transport, industry, and buildings. Ethiopia, he said, had given special focus to increasing resilience to climate change by investing in clean energy from renewable sources and modern and efficient technologies as well as by modernizing livestock and conducting climate smart agriculture. The government had invested on public transport, including a construction of an electrified rail line from Djibouti to Addis Ababa, one of the critical steps to pursue the principles of Green Economy.
The President affirmed that Ethiopia welcomed the P4G partnership commitment to reach the ambitious targets set out in the sustainable development goals in the five P4G areas of focus. These are food and agriculture, water, energy, cities and circular economy, the key sectors for climate vulnerable countries like Ethiopia. He said, “As one of the most vulnerable countries, Ethiopia can clearly see that the long-term goals of the Paris Agreement, and the objectives of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, require that we must transcend any business-as-usual approach. Putting these goals into action through properly directed and mutually supportive implementation strategies is vital”. He emphasized Ethiopia attached great importance to climate change, sustainable development and the eradication of poverty. He said: “Our Constitution and the 1997 Environmental Policy provide a broad constitutional and policy basis by recognizing the right to live in a clean and healthy environment and guarantees the peoples of Ethiopia ‘the right to sustainable development.’” He also stressed that Ethiopia foreign policy focused on sustained economic development, prosperity, promotion of democracy and peace as the pillars of the nation’s objectives, and “Guided by this policy and our Growth and Transformation Plans, we have succeeded to achieve double digit economic growth for about the last 15 years.”
President Dr. Mulatu made it clear that the challenges posed by environmental degradation affected every corner of the globe. Nations needed to collaborate to avert the negative effects of climate change which were causing damage on hard-won development gains, and to promote common interests. He stressed the need to change the usual business model and follow low carbon, climate-resilient, sustainable development. He also underlined that such initiatives demanded significant finance and investment, adding that fostering partnerships between governments, institutions and businesses for global green growth were indispensable.
The President also noted, in line with the Addis Ababa Action Agenda of July 2015 which promote enhanced global collaboration and Private Public Partnerships, the importance of involving the private sector had been given a pivotal place in the heart of Ethiopia’s development plans. He said: “The government is making every effort to engage the private sector and non-state actors in renewable energy, agriculture and sustainable industry development,” and emphasized the need for global partnership and cooperation to overcome climate change. He said: “Global partnerships and cooperation should provide adequate support for low-carbon development and the creation of resilient societies and ecosystems that give assurance no one is being left behind”. Ethiopia, he said, would create a carbon neutral economy, reducing emissions by 64 percent by 2030, adding, “We need to take bold actions and our partners need to support those actions”.
The President stressed that international commitments must be translated to a national perspective. He called on countries to revisit their policies across each sector of their economies. “This”, he said, “is where key policy decisions, guided by the internationally shared vision and agenda, get to be reshaped and redesigned”. Increased international political momentum must be translated to national governance. “If Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like us can resolve to create a carbon neutral economy, surely better placed nations can and should do much more.” He underlined that it needed a concerted effort to tackle the challenges and to tap the opportunities, concluding: “There is no time for shrinking responsibility. We owe this to our citizens, businesses, local governments and non-governmental organizations. Let us leave Copenhagen with a promising future for our common security and survival.”
On the sidelines of the summit, President Dr. Mulatu met Queen Margrethe, and other Danish officials including Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. His discussions with the Prime Minister covered issues of common interest including strengthening bilateral relation, development cooperation and technical support in the areas of climate change and gender equality. The President urged the Prime Minister to encourage investors from Denmark to invest in Ethiopia to enhance and consolidate the investment and trade ties between the two nations.
President Mulatu met also with the CEOs of Danish big companies like the wind energy company Vestas and Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company. Maersk has indicated its interest to invest in Ethiopia and it plans to send a delegation to Addis Ababa next month. Sileshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, and the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation, Ulla Tørnæs, also signed an agreement expanding the Danish-Ethiopian strategic sector cooperation and partnership on energy. The “Accelerating Wind Power Generation” program which started in 2017 will now run to the end of 2020. Denmark will increase financial support to the program contributing another 7 million DKK to the sustainable development of the Ethiopian energy sector with modern wind energy. The program supports the expansion of wind energy in Ethiopia as an important supplement to the country’s large hydropower reserves, mobilizing the private partner of the Ethiopian energy supply chain, and provides financial support for expansion for further growth and development in the country, using Danish experience it offers a quick and cost-efficient process of large-scale wind power projects.