Delivered by H.E. Mr. Professor Fekadu Beyene Aleka, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change of Ethopia.
Honourable Ministers and Heads of delegations,
Acting Executive Director,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me first, on behalf of the Government of Ethiopia, to express my deepest condolences to the families, friends and colleagues of the victims of the accident on the Ethiopian Airlines that claimed the lives of our loved ones on March 10 2019 while they were en route from Addis Ababa to Nairobi. My prayers are with all families of the victims, member states and international organizations that have lost their colleagues in this tragic accident. I wish quick recovery for all families and friends of victims, and eternal peace for the deceased.
Allow me also to express my sincere gratitude to the People and Government of the Republic of Kenya for the warm welcome accorded to me and my delegation since our arrival in the evergreen and beautiful city of Nairobi.
I would like also to extend my sincere appreciations to H.E. Mr. Siim Valmar Kiisler, Minister of Environment of Estonia and current President of the United Nations Environment Assembly for his wonderful leadership.
Like many other countries in the world, Ethiopia is currently facing pressing environmental challenges related to climate change, food security, land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss and pollution, among others.
Ethiopia has put in place numerous policies and strategies that are geared towards addressing environmental challenges in the country. Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy, which was introduced in 2011 is worth mentioning in this regard. Ethiopia aspires to become a middle income and carbon neutral status country by 2025, by reducing emissions by 64%.
Our CRGE follows a sectoral approach and is built upon four major pillars that are key to address major environmental challenges related to food security, land degradation, pollution and waste, among others, and build green economy.
Since the strategy was launched, my country has taken various innovative actions through policy formulations, institutional building and programme development and delivery. In this regard, significant progress has been made in areas such as forest management and conservation, biodiversity and ecosystem conservation and waste management,
Ethiopia is also doing its level best to ensure the conservation of biodiversity and the whole ecosystem. As part of this effort, we have endorsed a new and innovative strategy on Payment for
Ecosystem (PES) to address environmental challenges related biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. Now the process of promulgating a legal framework for the strategy is being finalized.
In addition, Ethiopian has put in place the second largest afforestation and reforestation programme in the world, as part of its ambition to achieve green economy by 2025. Practical works are underway across the country under various programme and initiative, including through Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiatives.
Furthermore, we are working hard to ensure sound management of waste and chemicals in the country. After the third United Nations Environmental Assembly Ethiopia has passed a regulation titled “Electrical and Electronic Waste Management and Disposal Regulation”, which aims at addressing pollution from electrical and electronic waste. Additionally, the government of Ethiopia passed a regulation to limit the total concentration of leads in paint or any paint product to ninety (90) parts per million. The adaptation of these proclamations by the parliament clearly shows the commitment of Ethiopia to address pollution challenges and implementation of the UNEA-3 resolutions and declarations. These achievements demonstrate the effective and exemplary collaboration between the Government, development partners and civic societies.
I firmly believe that innovative solutions, as defined as “business as unusual” approaches are the viable and presumably the only way to address daunting environmental challenges.
This, in turn, necessitates collective actions at national, regional and international levels as well as effective means of implementation if addressing our environmental challenges via innovative solutions is sought. Hence, Ethiopia calls for international cooperation and assistance to address environmental challenges in innovative and sustainable way.
In conclusion, Ethiopia wishes to reiterate its unwavering commitment to work with all concerned actors to address our planet’s environmental challenges as well as to achieve sustainable development.
I thank you, Mr. President!