CLIMATE CHANGE COMMUNICATION AND EDUCATION
2. Climate change education and training in the country
3. Climate change communication in the country
i. Climate change context
Ethiopia is a landlocked country in the Horn of Africa. Politically, Ethiopia is structured as a Federal Republic with 11 regions: 9 regional states and 2 city administrations. The World Bank indicates that Ethiopia has about 115 million people living in an area of 1,104,300 km2, making it the second-most populous country in Africa.
The World Bank describes Ethiopia as having a diverse climate and landscape that ranges from rainforests with high rainfall in the south and southwest to desert-like conditions in the east, northeast, and southeast lowlands. Ethiopia is vulnerable to climate change. Its updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) report that some parts of Ethiopia, such as the south-central region, have seen a 20% decline in rainfall since the 1960s and that the frequency of droughts and floods has intensified in the last decade to affect its key sectors, mainly agriculture.
The Global Carbon Atlas ranks Ethiopia as a low-emitting country, with 0.1 t CO2 per person in greenhouse gas emissions in 2020 from industries of land use and forestry (48%), livestock (45%), and energy (3%).
Ethiopia is a United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Non-Annex I country that ratified the Kyoto Protocol in 2005, the Doha Amendment in 2015, and the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017.
ii. Relevant government agencies
The current system of governance devolves powers and mandates to regional states, below which are Woredas (districts) and Kebeles (villages). Introduction of this devolved system has transformed Ethiopia from a highly centralized system to a federated and increasingly decentralized system.
The current Environmental Protection Authority was created through several changes in the institutions that were previously responsible for the environment. The Authority has numerous powers and duties, including the establishment of an environmental information system that promotes efficiency in environmental data collection, management and use; and promoting and providing non-formal environmental education programs and cooperating with stakeholders to integrate environmental concerns in the regular education curricula. The Authority is the Action for Climate Empowerment’s (ACE) focal point for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Ethiopia and reports on climate change activities in Ethiopia to the UNFCCC.
The Environment, Forest, and Climate Change Commission is the federal lead agency, under the Environmental Protection Authority, that is responsible for promoting governance frameworks and coordinating the implementation of environment and climate change-related activities across all levels and sectors in Ethiopia. According to the Nationally Determined Contributions (2021), the Commission is mandated to formulate or to initiate and coordinate the formulation of strategies, policies, laws, and standards and procedures and, upon their approval, to monitor and enforce their implementation. The Commission is also responsible for the synergistic implementation and follow-up of international and regional environmental agreements.
For mining or petroleum projects, the Authority delegates responsibility for administering environmental and social impact assessments to the Petroleum, Environment and Climate Change Directorate of the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum or to regional governments, depending on the project. A secretariat for the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) was established, comprising finance and technical teams. The secretariat reviews and appraises projects and programs and prepares funding decision notes for the management committee.
The National Meteorology Agency of Ethiopia is responsible for disseminating climate change information. The Agency prepares and publishes bulletins on climate change and weather forecasts to benefit a wide range of users involved in socio-economic activities such as planning, disaster mitigation, and environmental protection.
The Ministry of Agriculture is also involved in climate change in Ethiopia. The National Forest Sector Development Programme (2018) designates the Ministry as responsible for providing sustainable land management programs, coordinating watershed-based water and soil conservation activities with the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) on agriculture, and implementing water harvesting and small-scale irrigation for climate change mitigation and adaptation.
The Ministry of Health aims to “Improve resilience of the health system towards climate change [and] reduce the health system’s contribution for climate change.” (n.p.) The Hygiene and Environmental Health Directorate also focuses on building a climate-resilient health system. This Directorate has a Climate Change and Social Conformity case team.
The Planning and Development Commission of Ethiopia is responsible for coordinating, monitoring, and reviewing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals. This is the main government agency that provides the necessary policy analysis support and guidance on economic, social, demographic, spatial, environmental, and institutional development.
The Ministry of Finance oversees implementation and development programs, including those responsible for climate change. The Ministry engages in climate resilience and resource mobilization partnerships for initiatives such as watershed management, afforestation, and low-carbon transport systems. The Ministry is also responsible for the financial aspects of implementing the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) and its monitoring and evaluation.
The Ministry of Water and Energy is also involved in climate change-related activities by implementing measures that reduce risks to the ecosystem or risks that exacerbate climate change impact. Activities include supporting local communities to adopt measures that conserve natural resources.
Education and communication
The Ministry of Education is the lead agency coordinating all education programs in Ethiopia and is engaged in climate change communication and education. The Ministry is responsible for integrating climate and environmental aspects into school curricula. At the time of this review, the Ministry was reforming its education system to incorporate climate change education in the country’s education curricula at all education levels. The Ministry has included higher education since October 2021, but its involvement in higher education for climate change communication and education is not clearly defined. In the reform process, the Ministry, together with the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn) and the Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission, developed Integrating Climate Change into the Ethiopian Curriculum – An Annotated Guideline for Curriculum Developers (2019) to strengthen the National Curriculum Framework for primary and secondary levels. The Environment Protection Authority also has competencies on environmental education.
Another essential agency for climate change communication and education in Ethiopia is the Ethiopian Environment and Forest Research Institute. The Institute established the Climate Science Research Directorate to generate and disseminate knowledge that enhances climate change mitigation and adaptation, builds capacity in climate science, and builds partnerships with relevant local and international stakeholders.
iii. Relevant laws, policies, and plans
The Constitution (1995) Article 44 includes environmental rights, to indicate that all people have the right to a clean and healthy environment. Article 92 outlines environmental objectives: 1) government will endeavor to ensure that all Ethiopians live in a clean and healthy environment, 2) design and implementation of development programs and projects will not damage or destroy the environment, 3) people have the right to full consultation and to express views in planning and implementation of environmental policies and projects that affect them directly, and 4) government and citizens have a duty to protect the environment.
Ethiopia uses existing environmental protection laws that overarch to encompass climate change. Article 4 section 33 of the 2013 Proclamation No. 803/2013 of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia mandates the Environmental Protection Authority to
(c) prepare a mechanism that promotes social, economic and environmental justice and channel the major part of any benefit derived thereof to the affected communities to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases that would otherwise have resulted from deforestation and forest degradation. (p. 2)
(d) coordinate actions on soliciting the resources required for building a climate resilient green economy in all sectors and at all governance levels, as well as provide capacity building support and advisory services. (p. 2)
(o) prepare and disseminate a periodic report on the state of the country’s environment and forest as well as a climate resilient green economy. (p. 5)
More generally, Ethiopia has integrated climate change objectives in broader national plans and policies.
Ethiopia also developed the Environmental Pollution Control Proclamation No. 300/2002 to control human activities that could be detrimental to the environment and contribute to climate change. For instance, subsection (4) of Article 2 states that
Any person who causes any pollution shall be required to clean up or pay the cost of cleaning up the polluted environment in such a manner and within such a period as shall be determined by the Authority or by the relevant regional environmental Agency. (p. 3)
In 2011, Ethiopia developed the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) to guide the country’s development, to achieve a green, resilient economic middle-income status by 2025, and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. Ethiopia’s Green Manufacturing Strategy (2019) and National Adaptation Plan (2019) ensure implementation of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030). This ambitious Strategy has a National Adaptation Plan Roadmap (2020) for its implementation that outlines steps and components, including Agriculture and Water, Climate Services and Adaptation Technologies, Natural Resource Management, Health, Livelihoods and Social Protection, and Infrastructure. For instance, the Agriculture and Water component of the strategy aims to reduce carbon emissions from livestock and deforestation through the Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) program under the UNFCCC. Activities include sustainable management of forests, conservation and enhancement of carbon stock mechanisms, investment in renewable energy sources, and use of efficient energy and energy-saving stoves in rural areas.
The Green Manufacturing Strategy (2019) identifies the main categories for greening: energy, agriculture and land, transport, and green building. It includes greening manufacturing within national and private industrial parks in Ethiopia to accelerate the reduction of greenhouse emissions and impact on climate change. The Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy has two components: Climate Resilience and Green Economy. The main focus of the Climate Resilience component, launched in August 2015, is adaptation to climate change effects in agriculture and forestry and in water and energy. The main focus of the Green Economy component, launched in 2011, is carbon-neutral economic growth (mitigation).
Ethiopia has developed a 10 Years Perspective Development Plan (2021–2030). The Plan focuses on building Ethiopia into a green economy by mainstreaming climate change responses into all sectors of the economy. Specific to building a climate-resilient green economy, the Plan focuses on increasing basin development efforts to fight land degradation and to reduce pollution, improving productivity and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, increasing forest protection and development, increasing production of electricity from renewable sources for domestic use and for export, and focusing on modern and energy-saving technologies (p. 14).
According to Ethiopia’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) and the National Forest Sector Development Programme (2018), Ethiopia has set an ambitious target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 to achieve its broader Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030). The Contributions indicate that Ethiopia has put in place a robust policy framework for climate change by developing multiple policies and strategies to achieve an overall climate-resilient green economy tailored to provide specific sectoral interventions. As outlined in the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan II (2015–2020), these include the Climate Resilient Strategy for Agriculture and Forestry (2015), the Climate Resilient Strategy for Transport (2015), and the Climate Resilient Strategy for Urban Development and Housing (2017).
Education and communication
Ethiopia has developed a Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) that focuses on strengthening climate change education. The Strategy, jointly developed by the Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry of Education, covers 2017–2030 and is Ethiopia’s comprehensive framework for climate change education. The Strategy encompasses three cycles of strategic guidance and priority actions. The first cycle (2017–2020) of the National Strategic Guidance and Action Plan focuses on strengthening the integration of climate change education into the formal education system, with special attention on primary and secondary levels.
The Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) was developed with four strategic objectives: 1) to facilitate the setting up and enabling of awareness policies and institutional frameworks at all levels; 2) to ensure adequate levels of climate change education in the formal education curricula; 3) to support co-curricular activities in primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions such as student clubs and integration of climate change education in formal, non-formal, and informal education systems; and 4) to mobilize resources and strengthen partnerships for financing implementation of the broader Climate Change Education Strategy. For Strategic Objective 2, the priority interventions include developing and delivering supplementary or complementary teaching and learning resources to complement the existing curricula, providing capacity building training for teachers, and preparing a guideline/framework document to help curricular review in the future. This Strategic Objective has three sub-objectives, each with related activities. Strategic Objective 3 is meant to strengthen the practical aspect of climate change education. It encompasses specific objectives related to addressing climate change, including learning initiatives in school clubs, initiating a national green academy program, and strengthening the integration between formal, non-formal, and informal climate change education. The Climate Change Education Strategy also indicates implementation strategies including 1) promoting local ownership of the Strategy and priority actions in its implementation, monitoring, and review phases as critical to success; 2) increasing national awareness and promoting visibility and political engagement; and 3) the crucial importance of developing collaborations among stakeholders at all levels.
The Ministry of Education developed Ethiopia’s education sector plan, the Education Sector Development Programme V (2015–2020) to ensure full integration of cross-cutting issues in the country’s education system. Environmental education was included to “raise awareness and promote understanding of the essential linkage between the environment and development” (p. 28). The Programme states that environmental protection and control issues were included in curricula at all levels during curriculum revision of Grades 1–4 courses such as Civics, Social Sciences, Biology, and Ethical Education. Although the Programme does not explicitly mention the term climate change, it includes climate-associated actions such as ensuring that teachers and students understand “environmental issues better and improve the quality and resilience of their local environment” and that students become involved in activities that “favor drought-prone and environmentally insecure areas” (p. 43).
According to the Education Sector Development Programme VI (2020–2025), “Cross-cutting issues are mainstreamed and taken into account in the priority programmes. This summary section provides a quick check on whether the whole sector plan is gender-sensitive and whether the necessary attention is given to … environmental protection, and climate change. (…) Environmental protection, climate change and green legacy are high priorities at national level. As a result, education institutions and communities are strongly committed to tree planting on school grounds and soil conservation on and off school grounds.” (p. 126).
The Ministry of Education collaborated with the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn) and the Environmental Protection Authority in developing an Annotated Guideline for Curriculum Developers (2019) to integrate climate change into the national curriculum particularly, for Grades 1–12.
iv. Terminology used for Climate Change Education and Communication
The terminology used to refer to climate communication and education is diverse. Ethiopia’s terminology for climate communication and education is ‘climate change education,’ ‘environmental education,’ and ‘education for sustainable development.’
For instance, the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) indicates the need to provide additional knowledge and training in climate change for groups of people, particularly farmers, to build climate resilience.
‘Climate change education’ is gaining popularity and is increasingly used in official communication and policy documents. Ethiopia recently developed the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030), with the mission to ensure that “every school in Ethiopia becomes a champion of building a climate resilient and green economy by 2030” (p. 16). The Strategy explicitly mentions a lack of climate change education in Ethiopia’s education system.
Other terminologies used in policy documents for climate communication and education include ‘training,’ ‘awareness,’ and ‘capacity building.’ For instance, the Green Manufacturing Strategy (2019) uses the terms ‘training’ and ‘raising awareness’ in reference to the need to train young people on environment and sustainability aspects in Ethiopia, to enhance their knowledge and skills compatible with the green economy that Ethiopia strives to create.
v. Budget for climate change education and communication
According to the World Bank, the Government of Ethiopia spent 5.1% of total GDP on education in 2018. There is no information indicating how much is allocated to climate change communication and education.
The Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) was allocated a total budget of US$ 2,042,218 (p. 38). The specific climate change communication and education activities funded under this budget include developing climate change-complementary materials for primary schools, providing refresher training for primary and secondary school teachers, and monitoring and evaluating climate change education strategy. The Strategy highlighted that before its development, funding for climate change communication and education was not strategically allocated and the lack of resources was problematic. Therefore, a core principle of the Strategy is mobilization of funds. The Strategy also indicates that 2% of the government’s US$ 20,000 budget allocated to schools is earmarked for environment and forestry clubs, to integrate climate change into in-school activities from 2017 to 2020. Annex 3 and 4 detail the budget needs.
The government also receives funding from external sources to support climate change-related activities. For instance, in 2021 the Green Climate Fund approved a budget proposal of US$ 141,000 for Ethiopia for climate change adaptation training, learning and conducting training, and adaptation knowledge management and communication.
According to the National Forest Sector Development Programme (2018), the Government of Ethiopia received US$ 11 million for 2013 to 2018 from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to fund the Land Administration to Nature Development project. Some of the climate change-related activities financed by this project include strengthening the capacity of land-use institutions and empowering community members to manage their natural resource assets. No amount is specified for climate change education and communication.
In 2017 Ethiopia received a grant from the Adaptation Fund for the Climate Smart Integrated Rural Project. Of the US$ 10 million allocated to the project, US$ 367,510 was for creating awareness of adaptation planning and another US$ 1,799,288 was for capacity building, monitoring, evaluation, and learning.
The Global Environment Facility (n.d.) indicates that it provided US$ 995,000 as a special climate change fund to Ethiopia and over US$ 22 million for climate change projects in the country. The figures do not specify an amount allocated to climate change communication and education. Between 2013 and 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) under the Global Environment Facility provided US$ 4.9 million for a climate change information service project with the National Meteorological Agency, which co-financed the project with over US$ 33 million from the Government of Ethiopia. The project aimed to improve the capacity of the Agency to provide timely climate information to key sectors such as disaster risk management and food security.
According to Ethiopia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021), the country budgeted to spend US$ 316 billion on climate change mitigation and adaptation, which includes capacity building activities. Ethiopia is committed to investing US$ 63.2 billion from domestic financing and mobilizing US$ 252.8 billion from international climate finance sources. Although this budget will finance planned activities such as community-based forest conservation, climate-smart agriculture, and afforestation and reforestation programs, climate change education and communication are not explicitly mentioned and no budget is specifically allocated.
i. Climate change in pre-primary, primary, and secondary education
Article 4 section 33 of the 2013 Proclamation No. 803/2013 states that the Environmental Protection Authority has a mandate to
(p) Promote and provide non-formal environmental education programs and cooperate with the competent organs with a view to integrating environmental concerns in the regular educational curricula. (p. 5).
The Curriculum Framework for Ethiopian Education (KG – Grade 12) of 2009, makes no mention of climate change. A description of the types of climate change-related keywords discussed in the curricula may be found in the MECCE Project Monitoring section of this profile.
An assessment of Ethiopia’s education sector in the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) indicates a belief that the level of integration of climate change education is very low in primary education (86.2% of respondents) and secondary education (78.5% of respondents). The Strategy also states that even during development of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030), climate change education was not among the priorities. The Climate Change Education Strategy responds to the lack of climate change focus in school study materials and curricula. Joint work by the Curriculum Development and Implementation Directorate (Ministry of Education), the Environmental Protection Authority, and the UN CC: Learn program has led to development and acceptance of Integrating Climate Change into the Ethiopian Curriculum – An Annotated Guideline for Curriculum Developers (2019). UN CC: Learn (12 May 2020, para 1) reported that in 2019 the Government of Ethiopia announced a curriculum reform process under the leadership of the Ministry of Education. Among the key aspects to be integrated in the curriculum is climate change. Suggestions from the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) of integrating climate change materials at primary and secondary levels have been incorporated in the National Curriculum Framework (2020), which includes environment and climate change in all study subjects for Grades 1–12 as a cross-cutting issue.
Some extracurricular initiatives in Ethiopia at primary and secondary levels are fostering climate change education, but are not formally integrated into study curricula. These include the UNESCO Green Academy’s engagement with school clubs to teach practical environmental education and climate change to students in primary and secondary schools. The Ministry of Education is partnering with organizations such as UNESCO to promote the green schools initiative in Ethiopia that gets schools to engage in climate change-related extracurricular activities such as rainwater harvesting and storage, using green roofs for insulation with Indigenous flora, and using biogas digesters for cooking. The UNESCO Green Academy report indicates that at Beza Bizuhan, a school participating in the initiative, 25% of students and teachers indicated that they enjoyed the benefits of practical environmental education to build resilience to combat climate change vulnerability.
In Ethiopia, some teaching resources (referred to as study activity plans) for early primary school children in Key Stages (KS) 1 to 4 focus on the environment and climate change. For instance, the activity plan for KS1/2 is designed to equip students to understand the importance of taking care of plants and animals. In KS 3 and KS 4, some activity /lesson plans focus on climate change, carbon emissions, drought, and El Nino. These activity plans were designed to help students analyze data in tables, comparing carbon emissions by different countries to gain global awareness of how other countries contribute to atmospheric CO2.
The Integrating Climate Change into the Ethiopian Curriculum – An Annotated Guideline for Curriculum Developers (2019), developed by the Ministry of Education and partners such as UNESCO, identified Basic Science and Environmental Science as carrier subjects for climate change at the primary level. The Guideline suggests that in Grades 1–6, students learn about environmental problems associated with the earth, air, and water in Environmental Science and topics related to the local natural environment and human activities in Basic Science. In curriculum for Grades 7–8, Biology and Social Sciences were identified as carrier subjects for climate change. Students enhance their cognitive understanding by learning about human intervention in the environment and its potential impacts. In curriculum for Grades 9–12, Biology and Geography were identified as practical subjects to integrate climate change. The Guideline suggests that subjects should have, at minimum, 30% of their content on climate change.
ii. Climate change in teacher training and teaching resources
Climate change as a topic in Ethiopia’s teacher training and teaching resources is still low. The United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR), which provides innovative learning solutions to individuals, partners, and institutions, highlights that its partnership with Ethiopia’s national and regional education ministries focuses on developing supplementary materials for teachers to build their capacity in teaching climate change.
Ethiopia has developed a new National Curriculum Framework (2020) with a goal of creating an “all-rounded, ethical, self - reliant and responsible lifelong learners…equipped with 21st century skills instrumental to thrive in a knowledge - based and technology - led economy.” (p. 15). The framework identifies environment and climate change as cross-cutting issues for integration in Ethiopia’s study curricula at all education levels (Grades 1–12) to “promote positive attitudes, values and behavioral changes necessary for meaningful personal and social life” (p. 73).
A UNESCO Teacher Training and Development Needs Assessment Report (2013) showed the need to introduce cross-cutting subjects in teacher training in Ethiopia and in environmental education and protection.
The Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) states that climate change education’s level of integration in teacher training materials and curricula is low and encourages mainstreaming of climate change in teacher training curricula and teaching resources. The Strategy focuses on primary and secondary levels but will gradually reach teacher training colleges. The Strategy indicates that climate change topics in learning materials for teachers at training institutes is greater than in tertiary or post-secondary education. Teachers, however, lack climate change training resources and materials such as textbooks and teaching guides.
The Strategy provides for development of such materials by the Ministry of Education with the Integrating Climate Change into the Ethiopian Curriculum – An Annotated Guideline for Curriculum Developers (2019) for integrating climate change in primary and secondary school curricula. The Guideline was developed by stakeholders including the Ministry of Education and the Environmental Protection Authority in 2018 in response to suggestions in the Climate Change Education Strategy. The guideline helps curriculum developers review curricula and study materials to integrate climate change. The new National Curriculum Framework (2020) has included environment and climate change in course materials for Grades 1–12.
iii. Climate change in higher education
According to the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030), higher (tertiary) education in Ethiopia is better integrates climate change into learning materials and curricula than primary and secondary school levels. In an assessment of climate change integration, reported in the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030), 49.8% of respondents describe the level of integration of climate change into tertiary education as moderate to very high, compared to 13.8% and 21.5% for primary and secondary schools, respectively. However, 50.2% of surveyed teachers and education sector experts ranked climate change integration as low or very low. The Climate Change Education Strategy suggests that climate change be further integrated into tertiary education curricula by curriculum developers in the Ministry of Education creating new materials for study programs. The Strategy, though, focuses more on primary and secondary school levels.
Several tertiary institutions, especially universities, have introduced climate change education programs. For instance, Arba Minch University currently offers a Master’s of Science in Climate Change and Development in the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology. Haramaya University offers a doctoral research program in climate-smart agriculture and bio-conservation studies. Jimma University established the Ethiopian Institute of Resilience to Climate Change to advance scholarship and research on resilience and climate change adaptation. The goal of this Institute is to “increase the resilience and sustainability of vulnerable communities to climate change through research, education, communication, and decision support” (n.d., para 4).
Other tertiary institutions focusing on climate change education and research include Addis Ababa University, which hosts the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Center and Network. This Center focuses on environmental and sustainability concerns and conducts education and research in climate change mitigation and adaptation, sustainable energy, and carbon projects. Hawassa University offers climate change-related Master’s programs, including a Master's in Climate Change and Development, a Master's in Climate Change and Sustainable Agriculture, and a Master's in Climate Smart Agricultural Land Management. It also offers a PhD in Climate Change and Bio-Energy Development.
iv. Climate change in training and adult learning
The Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research offers training in climate change and geospatial research (using GIS to locate areas with changing weather patterns) to the researchers affiliated with the Institute. This training supports them in contributing to robust research for sustainable agricultural growth and development in Ethiopia. The Melkassa Agricultural Research Center also provides a climate and geospatial research program that teaches students to think critically about how to best align climate analyses and integrate them into crop and livestock technology.
Several international non-governmental organizations are involved in climate change training in Ethiopia. For instance, in 2021 the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society of Columbia University partnered to conduct climate change training for 26 selected staff of the National Meteorology Agency of Ethiopia to strengthen their capacity on climate and weather forecast aspects related to climate change. According to the Training Report, the training was primarily on the application and use of the advanced Python Climate Predictability Tool to assist the Agency in generating accurate seasonal forecasts.
Ethiopia’s Voluntary National Review (2017) reports that the country organizes workshops to create awareness for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), including SDGs related to climate change, among stakeholders such as heads of bureaus from all regions and administrations and representatives of civil society organizations. The workshops promote a sense of stakeholder ownership of the SDGs. The workshops will continue for the foreseeable future.
The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) and the One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn) are involved in climate change training in Ethiopia. In 2017, for instance, UNECA conducted a capacity building Trainer of Trainers course on climate information and services, attended by multiple stakeholders including parliamentarians, academics, and media representatives. This training built capacity of trainees to mainstream climate information services in legislation, policy, and development planning in Ethiopia.
The Sustainable Land Management Project offers training to Ethiopia’s public on land management and climate-related issues. The Project targeted 500,000 beneficiaries from rural households in 35 large watersheds with an average size of 8,500 ha, in areas such as Tigray, Oromia, and Amhara. Beneficiaries learn about sustainable land management practices for climate resilience. Over 100,000 people received training about the environment and climate change, including training on community land management, water harvesting, and climate-smart farming methods.
i. Climate change and public awareness
Building public awareness of climate change in Ethiopia is spearheaded mainly by non-state actors such as non-governmental organizations. The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn), together with selected schools, creates public awareness of climate change in Ethiopia by involving youth in school environment clubs in climate change-related activities. For instance, students and other youth in refugee camps in Ethiopia carry out tree planting and weekly refugee camp clean-ups to create public awareness about climate change and environmental protection.
Climate change awareness is essential to ensure broad-based participation and local ownership of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030), as indicated in the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030). The Climate Change Education Strategy prioritizes climate change awareness. One of its objectives is to “facilitate the setting up of an enabling awareness policy and institutional frameworks at all levels with a view to fostering sustainable [climate change] education” (p. 17). Climate information and awareness are built through enhanced climate extension services to implement climate-resilient options in local context.
Ethiopia’s National Forest Sector Development Programme (2018) has outlined measures through which it intends to ensure public awareness of climate change. The government plans to implement public education and awareness to inform communities about laws governing the broader natural resource management strategy.
Other activities in Ethiopia that promote public awareness of climate change, as reported in Ethiopia's 2nd National Communication (2015), include the publication of monthly newsletters (aligning with the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030)) by the former Ministry of Environment and Forest, radio broadcasts on environmental issues, and promotion of establishing environment clubs in schools. The National Communication suggests that more needs to be done to raise public awareness of climate change.
Ethiopia’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) has no clear focus on creating public awareness of climate change. However, they mention the need to provide the public with information to facilitate an understanding of adaptation plans and climate change mitigation benefits to sectors in Ethiopia.
ii. Climate change and public access to information
The National Meteorological Agency manages meteorological stations that assist the public in accessing climate change information. The Agency provides monthly, seasonal, and annual climate information. The Agency supplies “climatological information to different services of the community involved in various socio-economic activities related to planning, disaster mitigation, and water resources management, construction, environmental protection, transportation, recreation, tourism and others.” (n.d.).
Building Resilience and Adaptation to Climate Change Extremes and Disasters (BRACED), a non-governmental international organization implementing climate change projects in Africa, is changing the narratives on climate change by working with local community groups through listening group exercises. BRACED brings climate information services to vulnerable communities using weather forecasts in everyday language through the Climate Information and Assets for Resilience in Ethiopia. Listening groups are given solar radios to access weather forecast information and updates.
According to the international research and development consortium Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), the International Research Institute for Climate and Society developed an online data library in Ethiopia through the Enhancing National Climate Services repository. This data library improves availability of, access to, and use of climate information to bring climate knowledge into decision making.
Between 2013 and 2016, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) partnered with the National Meteorological Agency on a project to enhance the speed of access to climate information using mobile phones. This project was specific to Oromia and Affar regions, Lake Tana, Awash River, and Amahara. The project intended to improve the ability of sectors such as disaster risk management and food security to get information for early warnings and long-term adaptation.
Ethiopia’s 2nd National Communication (2015) emphasizes the necessity of public access to information to improve environmental protection and a sustainable environment. According to the Communication, the public in Ethiopia accesses climate change information through monthly newsletters from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change and radio broadcasts. The government unveiled a Sectoral Reduction Mechanism framework that is mandated to increase public access to climate-related information and initiate action to deliver the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030). Local communities and Indigenous peoples in Ethiopia access seasonal and monthly climate information and weather forecasts through listening groups and radios.
iii. Climate change and public participation
The One UN Climate Change Learning Partnership (UN CC: Learn) fosters public participation related to climate change through engagements such as the youth climate change dialogues in Ethiopia. For instance, in April 2017, the 6th annual youth climate dialogue entitled Youth Climate Dialogues Leaving No One Behind! took place between Lycée International de Ferney-Voltaire, France, and the primary and secondary schools from the Sheder Refugee Camp, Ethiopia. Some activities that engage youth climate change-related initiatives involve school environmental clubs and youth in refugee camps. Beyond climate dialogues, youth participate in climate change activities such as piloting street trees in all administrative zones in the camp, recycling, tree planting campaigns, and weekly refugee camp clean-ups.
Climate Change, Agriculture, and Food Security (CCAFS), an international research and development consortium, has been involved in mobilizing stakeholders to participate in climate change initiatives in Ethiopia. For instance, in 2011, the CCAFS co-sponsored a climate change conference that brought together over 50 decision makers from Ethiopia’s governments, journalists, researchers and academics, and private sector experts to discuss the impact of climate change on food security and ways forward.
The UNESCO Green Academy engages the public, teachers, and students in Ethiopia in environmental and climate change school projects and events such as science exhibitions, training campaigns, and shared experiences. Of the participants in programs organized by the Green Academy in schools, 25% say they have built climate resilience and reduced climate change vulnerability by being involved.
Ethiopia’s Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) states that Ethiopia has made public participation an integral part of its 10-Year Perspective Development Plan. In finalizing the Contributions, the government consulted ministries and conducted workshops with multiple sectoral representatives, non-state actors, and donors on the country’s ambitious plans. To achieve the objectives of the updated Contributions, the government of Ethiopia has made public engagement with local communities and Indigenous peoples a top priority.
Ethiopia’s updated Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) strongly emphasize comprehensive multidisciplinary, cross-sectoral stakeholder engagement in implementing climate change plans to achieve the country’s Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030). However, the Contributions offer top-down high-level engagement with ministries and bureaus and do not indicate specific actions that enhance public participation in climate change activities.
i. Country monitoring
The National Planning Commission of Ethiopia is responsible for coordinating, monitoring, and reviewing implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include climate and education. However, no reports on climate education monitoring could be found. The information accessed indicates that the Environmental Protection Authority is charged, according to Proclamation No. 803/2013, to conduct environmental monitoring and assessment. Article 4(e) specifically mandates the Ministry to assess the impact of investment projects on the environment.
Other agencies in Ethiopia that report on climate change include the Environmental Protection Authority and the Ministry of Finance, which monitor implementation of the Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (2011–2030) and report on climate change to international strategic partners and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The Voluntary National Review (2017) reported on Ethiopia’s progress toward SDGs that include climate change and education at a broader level. The Review indicates that rural communities, especially farming communities, received capacity building services for watershed conservation and development programs through education and training, creating shared understanding of the protection and use of natural resources. Climate change, especially drought in the 2016–2017 financial year, slowed Ethiopia’s economic growth from 8% to 7%. The Review includes no specifics on climate change education.
Echnoserve in 2014 tested the Tracking Adaptation and Measuring Development system to evaluate Ethiopia’s adaptation effectiveness, by assessing the contribution of the Sustainable Land Management Programme (2014) in building climate resilience through water and soil conservation. The system also monitors government staff’s education, training, and awareness of climate change at regional and district levels.
In light of existing non-integrated monitoring and reporting on climate change education in Ethiopia, the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030) suggests implementing results-based monitoring and evaluation of the Strategy at levels involving key stakeholders. It states that a Technical Committee chaired by the Ministry of Finance at the federal level should monitor Strategy implementation and report quarterly, biannually, and annually. At the regional level, a joint task force involving the Bureaus of Environment, Education, and Finance and Economic Development should undertake monitoring activities on a quarterly basis. At the regional and local levels, a committee comprising environment officers, teachers, principals, and education officers should monitor the implementation of the Climate Change Education Strategy (2017–2030), and report back for future improvement. No information on the results from climate change education monitoring could be found.
The Central Statistics Agency lists gender indicators in Sustainable Development Goals Annex 1, which includes the least-developed countries and small island developing states that are receiving “specialized support, and amount of support, including finance, technology and capacity building, for mechanisms for raising capacities for effective climate change-related planning and management, including focusing on women, youth and local and marginalized communities” (p. 18).
The 2nd National Communication (2015) recognizes the need for monitoring and reporting on climate change education, training, and public awareness in Ethiopia.
Reporting of information on activities relating to climate change education, training and public awareness can serve as a basis for the periodic review of the progress made in implementing Article 6 of the Convention (p. 215).
The National Communication includes the federal government’s plans to establish a sectoral reduction mechanism to direct sectors to monitor climate change vulnerability and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by compiling a web-based Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy. However, this has not been implemented.
The Nationally Determined Contributions (2021) integrate plans for Ethiopia’s commitment to monitoring and evaluating climate change in line with its development plan, which is part of the broader Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy. Accordingly, Ethiopia has developed a comprehensive suite of tools for monitoring climate change. These tools are ‘Mitigation Measuring, Monitoring, Verification’ and an ‘Adaptation Monitoring and Evaluation’ framework. Ethiopia plans to integrate these tools into its 10-Year Perspective Development Plan (2021–2030) and the national statistics data management system to monitor and report on climate change-related aspects. The Nationally Determined Contributions sees the monitoring tools as a prerequisite for successful implementation and critical for tracking, collecting, and reporting climate change data to the UNFCCC and other strategic partners.
ii. MECCE Project Monitoring
The Monitoring and Evaluating Climate Communication and Education (MECCE) Project examined the National Curriculum Framework (2020) and the Education Sector Development Plan (2015–2020) for references to ‘climate change,’ ‘environment,’ ‘sustainability,’ and ‘biodiversity.’
In the National Curriculum Framework (2020), ‘environment’ is referenced 14 times, and ‘sustainability’ 2 times.
In an analysis of Ethiopia’s Education Sector Development Plan (2015–2020), which is the country’s overall education strategy, ‘environment’ was referenced 21 times and ‘sustainability’ 10 times. ‘Climate change’ and ‘biodiversity’ were not referenced in either of the documents.
This profile was reviewed by Genene Mulugeta (Uppsala University) and Saba Abraham.