High-Level Environmental Diplomacy Workshop Held in Addis Ababa
The Center for Governance and Sustainability at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston), and the Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre & Network (HoA-REC&N), Addis Ababa University (AAU), are co-hosting a high-level environmental diplomacy workshop at the Gulele Botanic Garden in Addis Ababa for three days.
The workshop, known as the Regional Environmental Diplomacy Institute (REDI)-Africa, is the inaugural in an annual series convening officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Members of Parliament from Djibouti and Ethiopia as well as experts, practitioners and civil society advocates from Addis Ababa and Boston. The historic milestones in 2015 included the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, Sustainable Development Goals and 21st Conference of Parties (COP21) of the UN Climate Change Convention in Paris, France. Building on these achievements, REDI-Africa will cover key concepts in the field of environmental governance and will focus on the structure, negotiation, and implementation of global environmental conventions. Furthermore, it will place special emphasis on the political, economic, social and scientific implications of the development and implementation of various environmental agreements.
Ambassador Taye Atskeselassie, Ethiopia’s State Minister of Foreign Affairs, opened the meeting by stressing the importance of multilateral partnerships and congratulated the organisers for their joint collaboration. The opening ceremony also included remarks by Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebreegziabher, Advisor to the Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Ethiopia’s preeminent environmental authority, who advised the delegates as they participate in REDI-Africa to think broadly about the long-term consequences of our collective actions.
REDI-Africa aims to equip diplomats with necessary skill-sets in environmental diplomacy, enhance interdisciplinary understanding and dialogue, and promote sustainable learning and future collaborations among participants. “The COP21 Paris Agreement was a significant step forward in negotiating how to solve the global climate challenge,” said Dr. David W. Cash, Dean of the McCormack School. “Now, this workshop convenes researchers, policymakers and civil society to work on how to negotiate and mediate the regional, national and subnational decisions that will make the aspirations of a sustainable future into reality.”
Ambassador Desta W. Delkasso, Director General for Women, Children, and Youth Affairs at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs added, “I applaud REDI-Africa for engaging Ethiopian women diplomats and ensuring that we also have the tools and skills necessary to advocate for our country’s strategic climate objectives.” Maria Ivanova, Associate Professor of Global Governance and Director of the Center for Governance and Sustainability at the McCormack School, highlighted UMass Boston’s dynamic partnership with HoA-REC&N. “REDI-Africa engages stakeholders from the Horn of Africa and beyond, aiming to strengthen local capacity to address global challenges,” she added. Dr. Araya Asfaw, Executive Director of HoA-REC&N, expressed cautious optimism of the Paris Agreement saying, “The negotiations will continue in terms of financing, knowledge transfer, and implementation.” REDI-Africa will seek to inform various government agencies in environmental governance and management while also assisting them in aligning their respective policies to a uniformed agenda, he added.
The three-days workshop will conclude on January 15th.