Greening Ethiopia, One Seedling at a Time

17 Jun 2019

Prime Minister Abiy Launches National Green Development Programme that will see Ethiopians plant four billion trees.

A significant day in recent history – Sunday 26th May 2019 – saw Ethiopia once again leading by example in the global fight against climate change and environmental degradation. It was on this day that Prime Minister Abiy, at a gathering of National Agricultural Transformation leaders at a conference in Adama, announced the launch of the National Green Development Programme – an initiative which will see Ethiopians plant four billion trees across the length and breadth of the nation.

This ambitious afforestation programme, launched to coincide with the start of the rainy season, is rooted in the country’s world-leading Climate Resilient Green Economic plan (CRGE), which envisions Ethiopia’s transformation as a carbon-neutral middle-income country by 2025. The programme also compliments the “Beautifying Sheger” and “Together for a Clean Ethiopia” initiatives currently being spearheaded by the Government.

According to the Prime Minister’s Office, the four billion trees programme is set to mobilise national reforestation at 40 trees per head, going some way towards mitigating the recurring impacts of climate change in the country, namely drought. When planted, the trees are expected to cover over a million hectares of land with forest.

Since the launch, the Prime Minister, himself has walked the talk – committing to planting seedlings with all guests who grace his offices at the Jubilee Palace. This has seen officials including the Somali President and Rwandan Foreign Minister, as well as members of Sudan’s Transitional Military Council, planting seedlings following discussions with the Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Abiy and the Head of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, General Abdul Fattah Burhan plant seedlings within the Office of the Prime Minister’s compound.

In a further bid to promote the programme and expand on its far-reaching impacts, the Prime Minister’s Office organised a public discussion forum on 6th June under the theme, “Cleaning and Greening Ethiopia”. Discussants at the Forum included: Engineer Sileshi Bekele (Ph.D), Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity; Dr Amir Aman (M.D), Minister of Health; Mrs Meskerem Tamiru, Chief Advisor to the Mayor of Addis Ababa and President of the Association of Ethiopian Architects; and Dr Mehret Debebe, a prominent psychiatrist and personal development professional.

Engineer Sileshi focused his remarks on the mutually reinforcing relationship between afforestation programmes and climate resilience in the face of a changing climate.

Similarly, Dr Amin highlighted the significant public health benefits tree planting and cleaning can have within society, particularly in preventing the transmission of diseases and bolstering early childhood development.

Mrs. Meskerem pointed to the complementarity which exists between the “Beautifying Sheger” project and the Prime Minister’s greening programme, explaining that the project will support the preservation of a safe and healthy environment for future residents of Addis Ababa.

Finally, Dr. Mehret emphasised the critical role surroundings can play in influencing the mindset and contentment of human beings. He went on to explain that environmental stress in our surroundings can translate into personal stress, thereby acting as an obstacle to our ability to live dignified lives.

Together with the Prime Minister’s earlier call on young people to engage in volunteerism in service of their local communities, the four billion trees programme is expected to act to further connect people with their environment.

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In pursuing the 40 trees per person planted in Ethiopia, our country will once again lead on climate change, for the sake of the 7.7 billion people who call our planet home. One seedling at a time, 4 billion trees will rise.

 

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