On 25-26 May 2011, the GEG project through the new Center for Governance and Sustainability co-organized a workshop in Ethiopia, entitled Rio 2012: Ethiopia’s Input to the Sustainability Summit, with the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre/Network at Addis Ababa University. The other co-sponsors were the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) and the two civil society organizations Forum for Environment and Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society.
The event’s purpose was to examine the state of environmental governance in Ethiopia and globally, and to contribute concrete ideas both to the continuing Ethiopian national dialogue and to the regional level discussions in the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 4-6 June 2012.
The Ethiopian EPA’s sponsorship signifies the importance the Ethiopian government places on the issue of international environmental governance and the institutional framework for sustainable development. It was the first national level workshop within Africa on this topic with such a diverse group of stakeholders. The workshop brought together nearly 60 participants, including NGO leaders, federal and regional government officials from Ethiopia, and representatives of academia, research institutions, international organizations and the diplomatic community.
The Sustainability Summit in 2012 is an opportunity to positively improve the global governance system’s ability to assist African countries in addressing their environmental problems. In the context of the ongoing regional African process to establish a consensus on positions for the UNCSD, national level workshops are a key step to finding actionable ideas.
The workshop format allowed for constructive open discussions which took advantage of the breadth of knowledge of the participants, and allowed for points of collaboration and needs for further work to be identified. In addition, a primary result was the agreement to support the EPA in establishing an ad hoc Sustainable Development Committee involving concerned stakeholders.
For further information about the workshop, see a more detailed summary of the event.