It’s easy to feel pessimistic when scientists around the world are warning that climate change has advanced so far, it’s now inevitable that societies will either transform themselves or be transformed. The latest report (2022) from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) discusses changes ahead, but it also describes how existing solutions can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help people adjust to impacts of climate change that cannot be avoided. The issue is that these solutions are not being implemented as swiftly as they should be, and which necessitates a call to action from all stakeholders to work together to bring them to fruition.
To slow climate change and mitigate its effects, the world must adapt how it produces and consumes energy, moves people and goods, constructs buildings, and grows food and thereby to reduce the amount of Green House gases (GHGs) emission. It all starts with a willingness to accept change, partnership and experiment with new ideas.
Coming to Ethiopian context, there has been evidence of climate change over the last 50 years. At the national level, temperatures have increased by an average of around 1°C since the 1960s, at an average rate of 0.25°C per decade. Increases have been most noticeable from July through September. This increase has been felt across all regions. Rainfall nationally is subject to high variability between years, seasons and regions. Evidence from the Climate-Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE) evinces that yearly variation around mean rainfall levels is 25% and can increase to 50% in some regions. Despite this complexity, there is evidence of a 20% decrease in rainfall in the south-central region of the country.
In order to mitigate the detrimental consequences of current weather variability and future climate change on agriculture and forestry, Ethiopia has made vulnerability and food insecurity a development priority. In 2011 Ethiopia launched Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) Strategy envisioned to ensure economic growth that is resilient to climate change and results in no net greenhouse gas emissions. Besides, Ethiopia ratified the Paris Agreement (PA) on March 9, 2017, and as part of its commitment to the ambitious goals, it established a Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which is a climate action plan to reduce emissions and adapt to climate impacts. Ethiopia can only realize the ambitious objective described in the updated NDC with the help of its partners, according to the NDC document.
Recognizing the devastating impacts that climate change is already having on Ethiopia, the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF) devoted one of the three programmatic focus areas to Climate-Smart Conservation & Ecotourism (CSCET). Since its inception HRF has been leveraging its uniqueness and networks to support the efforts of the government, development partners, and communities in implementing climate smart conservation agriculture in mid and low land areas inhabited by pastoralists and agro-pastoralists with the greatest needs, with the goal of contributing to food security.
Protected areas, particularly national parks, are thought to have contributed to the conservation and regeneration of both flora and fauna species in Ethiopia, notably for plants and wild animals with restricted geographical coverage and numbers of individuals that are critically endangered. National parks and surrounding communities in Omo National Park, Mago National Park, Gambella National Park, Nechsar National Park, Bale Mountain National Park, Maze National Park, and Chebera-Churchura National Parks are among the intervention areas.
As part of its joint model initiatives (JMI), the foundation has been collaborating with communities around protected areas to promote and develop ecologically and socio-culturally harmonious and diverse types of ecotourism businesses that will help communities support their livelihoods while reducing their reliance on natural resources.
In the following month, HRF plans to host an annual assembly meeting of the multi-stakeholders’ platform to bring together key actors and policymakers on a single platform to present the progress so far made and alternate community livelihood investment options to save the Nechsar National Park. The platform is intended to bring together federal, regional, zonal, municipal, and wereda government officials from the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) and Oromia Region State, nearby universities (Arba Minch and Bule Hora) as well as relevant NGOs and the private sector, in order to better understand the park’s biodiversity degradation and livelihood crisis and to take swift collective action.
Hailemariam & Roman Foundation
May 2022, Addis Ababa