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Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – The first National Climate Change Conference was held today in an effort to bring about coordinated and urgent action from all sectors on mitigation and adaptation to climate change in Ethiopia. Conference participants deliberated on the impact of climate change on agriculture and other sectors, the importance of raising public awareness on the risks in relation to climate change, along with the opportunities presented by “green” economic growth.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi opened the conference and called upon all national and international organizations to join the National Climate Change Forum that is being established to address the climate change challenges faced by the country.
Participants in the conference included representatives from the government, non-government and civil society organizations, UN agencies, embassies, donor agencies, research and academic institutions, religious and community leaders, and the business community. Scholars, academics and practitioners who have long experience in the area of environment and development engaged in a discussion panel to determine ways forward.
“The establishment of the National Climate Change Forum that promotes and facilitates awareness, adaptation, and mitigation efforts in the country at all levels is critical. It is timely and appropriate to bring and coordinate our resources to tackle climate change in Ethiopia.” said Abera Tola, Oxfam America’s regional director for the Horn of Africa.
It is apparent that Ethiopia must quickly move towards the formation and implementation of adaptation and mitigation measures to combat the negative impacts of climate change. The conference highlighted that there are several institutions in Ethiopia that have responsibilities that directly or indirectly relate to climate change. However, their efforts are not well articulated, documented, and shared for the purpose of developing national policy. And it is envisioned that the National Climate Change Forum will to do just this, playing a vital role in bringing this issue to the attention of political leaders, philanthropists, and the general public.
State Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development (MoARD) and the chairperson of the Forum, Dr. Abera Deressa, emphasized that, “We come together to address this crucial issue affecting the whole world through the efforts of the Ethiopian people. The National Climate Change Forum (NCCF) calls upon all sectors for effective and coordinated national response.”