ADDIS ABEBA – The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) hosted a one-day seminar on strengthen the policy coherence of Ethiopia for sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) through integrated climate, land, energy and water (CLEWS) assessments and institutional strengthening.
The three entities of the United Nations are implementing a capacity building project to support the coherence of the East African country in the formulation of policies in the four areas.
At the opening of the workshop, the Minister of Economy, Water and Electricity, Seleshi Bekele, stated that Ethiopia's overall development objectives are ambitious, adding that the country is determined to do it.
"This requires that we do not do things in business as usual, we need to optimize our resources, including human, financial and natural resources," said the minister.
"For that to happen, we must work as a joint government in which ministries and departments with overlapping mandates capitalize on this overlap to work together on the basis of their comparative advantages and the efficient use of resources to achieve the goal of development of the country ".
He said that "our development goal depends a lot on how we invest and use our land, energy and water resources" that are also very sensitive to climate change.
"Therefore, although all SDGs are interconnected, the coupling between climate, land, energy and water is crucial and offers a unique opportunity for substantial efficiency and optimal investment planning in support of SDGs."
Climate, earth, energy and water systems
UN support for the Ethiopia government will focus on two related areas; the application of integrated quantitative analyzes to address the interconnections between climate, land, energy and water systems; and institutional arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate effective and structural coordination between stakeholders in these areas.
In his welcome remarks, Oliver Chinganya, an ECA official in charge of the Climate Change Management, Environment and Natural Resources Division, said the project will develop capacity for integrated assessment methodologies to address interconnections and trade-offs between policies, objectives and economic, social and environmental aspects dimensions of sustainable development.
"In fact, all SDGs are interconnected, but the link between land, energy and water is particularly strong, especially in the context of climate change," he said.
African countries are experiencing catastrophic climate change and impacts of variability in interconnected ways in many sectors, but African economies remain strongly dependent on these climate-sensitive sectors for their development.
"Therefore, the creation of sustainable and resilient economies to support the transformation of Africa requires climate-based strategies and approaches and integrated with particular attention to the nexus of climate, land, energy and water," said Chinganya.
For his part, Thomas Alfstad, advisor to the Economic and Political Analysis Division of UNDESA, shared the CLEW framework with expert participants from different Ethiopian ministries.
He said it will provide relevant information on policy, information and quantitative estimates and can help identify interconnections between sectors; to help determine the probable quantitative aspects of these interconnections; identify solid relationships, key risks, explore technologies and alternative policies to mitigate unwanted outcomes.
"It will also help to explore technology and policy alternatives to realize collateral benefits so as to maximize synergies," said Alfstad.
CLEWs is a methodology for the integrated assessment of resource systems that provides a means to analyze and evaluate the interconnections between energy, water and agricultural systems, as well as their impacts and vulnerability to climate change.