BY DANIEL ALEMAYEHU
Following the new administration led by the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) had taken initiative to expand green development; the people of Ethiopia have joined the initiative in planting seedlings throughout the country. To meet the specific year’s plan to plant seedlings, both citizens and the government of Ethiopia have been aggressively participating in the movement entitled “Green Legacy.”
It has been three years since the movement had launched. In 2019, Ethiopia has started the Green Legacy initiative of five years plan to plant 20 billion trees by the end of 2024. During the first year, 2019, it had planted 4 billion seedlings. During the same period, Ethiopia planted 353 million seedlings in a day which is a record breaking. In the following year, 2020, 5 billion seedlings were planted.
This year, Ethiopia expects to plant 6 billion seedlings across the country. What makes this year’s green Legacy Movement unique is that the government has planned and undertaking to incorporate neighboring countries to be the part of the initiative by giving them one billion seedlings to plant in their respective lands in order to make Africa green starting from the Horn.
During the beginning of this year’s campaign, the Prime Minister stated: “When I call upon all Ethiopians to ‘Let’s Adorn Ethiopia’, the call is to make our country Green; to see beyond lines of division like regional, ethnic, religious, gender and in unity to dress Ethiopia with the prosperity and dignity the people of this great nation deserves.”
Again, according to United Nations, The Ethiopian Green Legacy can also be considered in line with the following global initiatives: (i) the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration for which many UN agencies are engaged; (ii) UNEP vision for 2020 as Super Year for nature; (iii) the Nature-based Solutions and building back better after COVID-19; (iv) global environmental agendas including Paris Agreement on climate change, the Targets on Land restoration, the post-2020 biodiversity framework, planet pillar of UN Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF), among others.
All these plans and achievements of the United Nations and Ethiopia are to promote green economy. So, ‘what are the economic benefits of having a green economy in countries like Ethiopia?’ is the main concern.
From the document of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia on Ethiopia’s climate-resilient green economy strategy, it has been a decade plan that strives to make Ethiopia become a middle-income country by 2025 with the help of a green economy.
A study from Lund University by Macha Epp, green economy has plenty of advantages for countries located in sub- Saharan Africa. But first it is better to define what green economy is? Based on the study, “A green economy is defined as growth that reconciles economic growth and capitalist development with ecological sustainability.” In this case, there are two major words: that are ‘economy’ and ‘ecology’ in growth. Marking growth by low carbon emission and preservation of the ecosystem is the main goal of the green economy. Hence, Africa is the best continent to work on the ecosystem because when we compare Africa and the rest of developed continents, it is a wise solution to work with better natural resources found in Africa.
According to Jemal Mohammed (PhD), an economist, the major economic impact of building a green economy is to preserve the soil, water, and other natural resources in order to protect life in the world. Preserving and rehabilitating the nature and building a better green economy is one of the ways to have better agricultural achievements in the country.
The Economist explained that any pollution in any place is a pollution to everywhere in the world because the world is highly interconnected. There are countries, especially the developed ones that are responsible for pollution. Therefore, countries like Ethiopia got the burden to clean their mess by protecting and preserving the ecosystem.
There is an agreement known as Carbon Trading, which stands for the reduction of carbon emission and compensating countries which have been protecting the ecosystem through protecting forests with finance and other resources. For instance, China is one of the countries that compensate for this program. To be more productive and beneficiary by this trade, it would be better for countries like Ethiopia if all are abided by the law of the agreement. Unfortunately, it is not, remarked Dr. Jemal.
To support the above idea on what is carbon trading, Tamra Gilbertson and Oscar Reyes in their article explained: “Carbon trading is a complex system which sets itself as a simple goal: to make it cheaper for companies and governments to meet emissions reduction targets – although, as we will show, emissions trading is designed in such a way that the targets can generally be met without actual reductions taking place.” This idea simply depicts that even though it is an international agreement, it will only help the developed and the rich not the poor.
Jemal also highlighted that this movement, the green legacy, is much more important to the country, Ethiopia, than the rest of the world. In the course of sustaining life, everything is connected with nature and the people of the country are responsible to preserve the ecosystem. This has many benefits. For instance, with the help of the green legacy initiative, the country can increase its agricultural production and this in turn helps to be independent in food security. Besides, it is good to make tangible change on the people to overcome health related problems, especially the respiratory diseases.
Gebrie Adugna, Officer of Natural Resources Development and Protection Directorate at the Ministry of Agriculture, said that there are more than 4.2 billion seedlings that have been planted this year.
Gebrie also explained that the people of the country have planted seedlings that are endemic and overseas plants. Furthermore, these trees are categorized under their uses and advantages. From the types of the seedlings planted, there are seedlings that are needed for forestry purposes, seedlings that are mixed agricultural forestry that incorporates edible fruits like avocado and mango, seedlings that are utilized for the fodder of animals, and seedlings that are designed for beautifying cities.
This shows that the initiative is not for a mere planting of seedlings. It has many more advantages such as recreation, tourist attraction thereby income generation and others. In this regard, the people of the country, on top of keeping their cities clean and their country green will benefit economically from planting the seedlings.
This initiative has been started to plant 20 billion seedlings by 2024. Therefore, according to Gebrie, in the coming years, the government plans to meet the expected number of seedlings to be planted.
THE ETHIOPIAN HERALD AUGUST 3/2021