ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations Department of Economics and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on Thursday hosted a day-long workshop aimed at enhancing Ethiopia’s policy coherence for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through integrated climate, land, energy and water (CLEWS) assessments and institutional strengthening.
The three UN entities are implementing a capacity development project to support the East African country’s coherence in policy formulation in the four areas.
In opening remarks to the workshop, Ethiopia’s Water, Irrigation and Electricity Minister, Seleshi Bekele, said Ethiopia’s overall development goals were ambitious, adding the country was determined to make it.
“This requires that we do not do things in the business as usual way. We must optimise our resources, including human, financial and natural resources,” the Minister said.
“For this to happen we must work as a joint-up government where ministries and departments with overlapping mandates capitalise on that overlap to work together based on their respective comparative advantages and efficient use of resources to achieve the country’s development objective.”
He said achieving “our development objective depends very much on how we invest in, and use our land, energy and water resources” which are also very sensitive to climate change.
“Therefore, although all of the SDGs are interlinked, the coupling between climate, land, energy and water is a crucial one that provides a unique opportunity for substantive efficiency and optimal investment planning in support of the SDGs.”
Climate, land, energy and water systems
The UN support to the Government of Ethiopia will focus on two interrelated areas; the application of integrated quantitative analysis to address interlinkages between climate, land, energy and water systems; and institutional arrangements and mechanisms to facilitate effective and structural coordination among stakeholders in these areas.
In his welcome remarks, the ECA’s Officer in Charge for the Climate Change, Environment and Natural Resources Management Division, Oliver Chinganya said the project will build capacities for integrated assessment methodologies to address interlinkages and tradeoffs among policies, goals and the economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.
“Indeed, all the SDGs are interlinked, but the nexus between land, energy and water is particularly strong, especially against a background of changing climate,” he said.
African countries are experiencing catastrophic climate change and variability impacts in inter-related ways across many sectors yet African economies remain strongly dependent on these climate sensitive sectors for their development.
“Therefore, building sustainable and resilient economies in support of Africa’s transformation does require climate-informed and integrated strategies and approaches with a focus on the climate, land, energy and water sectors nexus,” said Mr. Chinganya.
For his part, Thomas Alfstad, Adviser in UNDESA’s Economic Analysis and Policy Division shared the CLEWs framework with participants who are experts drawn from various Ethiopian ministries.
He said it will provide policy relevant insights, information and quantitative estimates and can help identify interlinkages among sectors; help determine likely quantitative aspects of such interlinkages; identify robust relationships, key risks, explore technology and policy alternatives to mitigate unwanted outcomes.
“It will also help explore technology and policy alternatives to realize co-benefits so we can maximise synergies,” said Alfstad.
CLEWs is a methodology for integrated assessment of resource systems that provides a means to analyze and assess the interlinkages that exist among energy, water and agricultural systems as well as their impacts on – and vulnerability to – climate change.