PHE - Ethiopia Consortium: Population Health & Environment Ethiopia Consortium

"Healthy Families - Healthy Environment"


Opportunities for PHE in Ethiopia


Ethiopia’s current challenges cross all sectors and the development, relief and aid community have been working passionately to address all issues. The case for an integrated approach is strong for Ethiopia. Below is a snapshot of figures taken from PHE’s concept paper written by Professor Zerihun Woldu of Addis Ababa University. Please remember that these are not comprehensive statsistics and more information on Ethiopia f


» The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, which is the supreme law of the country, sets the overall environmental values to be preserved and protected in Ethiopia. The Constitution has provided a comprehensive basis for promoting sustainable development and has paved the way for taking subsequent actions. In effect it provides sustainable development and a clean and healthy environment as fundamental rights of citizens (articles 43 and 44). The provisions encompass among others, the right to participate and be consulted in national development programs, policies, projects and programs affecting livelihood. Citizens are also entitled to improved living standards, capacity enhancement for development and meeting their basic needs; appropriate compensation and state assistance when affected by development initiatives.

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» Population Policy of Ethiopia

The rationale for the National Population Policy (NPP) of Ethiopia is to match the rate of economic growth and development with that of the rate of population growth. It also sets out to integrate the efforts of achieving the rationale with other sectors directly or indirectly related to population. Objectives of the NPP include improving maternal and child health, a significant increase in contraceptive usage, and a dramatic reduction in fertility. The policy notes the need to educate people about the links between family size, human welfare, and environmental security.

The policy integrates issues of agricultural productivity, off-farm alternative livelihoods and the need to bring about a rational distribution of population commensurate with the carrying capacity. This makes the population policy quite relevant for environmental issues such as combating desertification and mitigating the effects of drought. to top


» Health Policy of Ethiopia

The Health Policy of Ethiopia is rooted in primary health care with an emphasis on education in personal and environmental hygiene, nutrition, immunization and family planning.

Specific objectives of the health policy relevant to population and environment are:

» Intensifying family planning for the optimal health of the mother, child and family;

» Accelerating the provision of safe and adequate water for urban and rural populations; and

» Developing safe disposal of human, household, agricultural, and industrial wastes, and encouraging recycling
Scrutiny of these objectives reveals that the health policy incorporates issues relevant to population and environment.

Download the policy Here


» The Environment Policy of Ethiopia (EPE)

Because the Constitution of the FDRE ensures all Ethiopians the right to sustainable development and the right to a clean and healthy environment, Ethiopia had to develop a comprehensive environmental policy on natural resources and the environment so as to harmonize development with sustainability and to rehabilitate the degraded environment.

The Environmental Policy also paved the way to adapting and ratifying several international conventions and agreements related to the environment.

EPE emanated from the Conservation Strategy of Ethiopia, which constitutes ten-sectoral and ten cross-sectoral policy pronouncements. The general objective of the Environmental Policy of Ethiopia is to improve and enhance the health and quality of life of all Ethiopians and to promote sustainable social and economic development through sound management and use of natural, human-made and cultural resources and the environment as a whole so as to meet the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Environmental Protection Authority, 1997). Specific objectives of the policy emanate from well-articulated guiding principles which include the right to a healthy environment, community empowerment, creation of an enabling atmosphere, sustainable use of renewable resources, use of appropriate technology, long-term economic development, security of land tenure, regular assessment and monitoring of environmental conditions, increased environmental awareness and interdependence on environmental issues at all levels. The most important policy pronouncements of EPE for PHE are Human Settlements, Urban Environment and Environmental Health, and Population and Environment. The Human Settlements, Urban Environment and Environmental Health sectoral policies of the EPE contains among others:

» To incorporate rural urban migration, human settlement and environmental health concerns which arise from urbanization created by social and economic development into regional, wereda and local level planning and development activities;

» To bring about a sound partnership between the government and communities in the development of an integrated sanitation delivery system, and to foster the supplementary role of NGOs;

» To integrate population planning, resources management and the rehabilitation of and care for the environment to achieve a sustainability of lifestyles;

» To tackle simultaneously the issues of poverty, health, education and empowerment as these are interlinked with those of population growth, availability and access to resources and the well-being of the environment;

» To ensure a complete empowerment of women especially to enable their full participation in population and environmental decision making, resource ownership and management; and

» To promote off-farm and on-farm income generating programs which aim at the alleviation of poverty, especially, among women whether they have access to land or not and among men who have no access to land. Download the policy


» The Establishment of Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission

The Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has established the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission by Proclamation N° 10/1995 based on the Constitution which is the supreme law of the country. The Constitution provides the following basic human rights, namely:

» Right to Life (Article 15) - No person shall be deprived of his or her life except for serious crimes
» The Right of the Security of a Person (Article 16) - All persons have the right to protection from bodily harm;
» Environmental Right (Article 44)

1. All persons have the right to clean and healthy environment

2. All persons who have been displaced or whose livelihoods have been adversely affected as a result of State programs have the right to commensurate monetary or alternative means of compensation, including relocation with adequate State assistance.
The National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Committee (NDPPC) was established under the Prime Minister’s office to implement the National Disaster Policy. The NDPPC deals with natural and man-made disasters occurring at the national level and is chaired by the Prime Minister. Its members include the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Water Resources and Development, the Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, the Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC), the National Meteorological Services Agency (NMSA) and the Ethiopian Mapping Agency.
The National Policies on Disaster Prevention and Management (1995) has provided guidelines for reducing the impacts of drought. In addition to the provision of relief in times of acute food shortages, the guidelines contain various interventions to avert disasters. These interventions include among others conservation and retention of soil moisture and the establishment of small-scale irrigation; construction of wells; training farmers to reduce run-off and exploit ground water and encourage forestation; mobilization of drought resistant agronomic practices; fodder and water distribution; pasture development; ground water exploitation; controlled grazing; organized migration and mobile abattoirs.

The DPPC has a crisis management group consisting of nodal officers of government ministries to assist in disaster management. Relevant ministries and agencies have a designated technical person as a member of the National Committee for Early Warning (NCEW) under the Federal DPPC.

There are early warning committees at various levels of government i.e. the Federal DPPC, Regional Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Bureaus (RDPPBs), Zonal Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Departments (ZDPPDs) and the Wereda Early Warning Committee. The NCEW depends on these committees to acquire and analyze information pertaining to weather, crop, food, market trends, commodity prices, livestock conditions, water and pasture, and food and nutritional conditions. It appears that DPPC has limited itself to disaster prevention and management and pays little or no attention to population pressure under normal conditions. There seems to be opportunities to encourage the NPPC to also engage in reproductive health services and the prevention of the HIV/AIDS pandemic at times of disaster management. to top


» Opportunities with NGOs Operating in Ethiopia

Non-governmental organizations are usually non-profit organizations that gain at least a portion of their funding from private sources.
Both foreign and local NGOs can be established in Ethiopia by registering with the Government. Following registration with the Ministry of Justice and obtaining ofCertificate, NGOs are required to sign an Operational Agreement with the FederalDisaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC). After the signing of Operational Agreement with DPPC, an NGO is expected to enter into specific project agreements with the concerned regional government offices depending upon the type and the nature of the project prior to implementation. As a result of the historical background of the registration of NGOs and the persistence of NGOs after establishment, Ethiopia has become the home to many NGOs operating in different areas of health services, rehabilitation and development.
It is almost 30 years since many NGOs first began working in Ethiopia. The leading ones, both national and international, originally became involved in mitigating the effects of the droughts of 1973-74 and 1984-85. Since then, their emergency response and relief activity roles have gradually declined and today the important operations are in the fields of rehabilitation and development. Some of the larger international NGOs have withdrawn from operations and have turned themselves into donors.

There are more than 2,000 NGOs engaged in development in Ethiopia. Most NGOs in Ethiopia are organized in associations and the Christian Relief Development Association (CRDA) is the largest organization representing an alliance of over 320 local and international NGOs. The missions of NGOs in Ethiopia are diverse, ranging from research and policy to advocacy and the environment. Most NGO investments in the health sector are in reproductive health and family planning. The biggest investments for environmentally focused NGOs are in agriculture and food production, specifically soil and water conservation, with a smaller segment devoted to conservation and natural resources management. NGOs have also made significant contributions in the water sector, in the provision of safe water and small-scale irrigation schemes.

The NGOs in Ethiopia collaborate loosely in development and rehabilitation activities but the extent of collaboration among NGOs, the private sector and government organizations varies according to the nature of their respective operations. However, oftentimes collaboration is impeded by many factors including, in some cases, lack of a specific modus operandi for interaction, disagreement on priorities, and different styles of operation. Some even occasionally engage in rivalry. The contribution of NGOs is constrained by a lack of sufficient policy and program guidelines as well as inadequate mobilization of communities and stakeholders by government and program managers. At other times, activities have tended to reflect mainly the orientation and concerns of program managers and specialists, including researchers, as opposed to the concerns of those who would be directly affected by such activities. The same can be said about government organizations. This insufficient collaboration among organizations, whose inputs are expected to reach the end users almost on a daily basis, may have failed to make use of the comparative advantages of different types of institutions.Back to top

» Opportunities with Resettlement Programs


Ethiopia has suffered more from severe and frequent droughts and associated famines in the last three decades than from the environmental degradation which has a longer history. A large portion of the country's population has been forced to depend on food aid for survival.

Since 1974, the government has increasingly relied on resettlement as a strategy for alleviating of the disaster on victims of drought, reversing environmental degradation and reducing population pressures. The Emergency Resettlement Program initiated in November 1984 in response to the 1983-85 droughts, relocated some 205,000 families from the drought-prone northern areas of the country to the better-watered western regions. The massive and highly coercive resettlement program of the mid 1980s, which had left a bitter taste in the mouths of both donors and many Ethiopians, was terminated in 1990.

A new resettlement plan was announced in June 2003 with the aim of moving 2.2 million people over a period of three years with a rationale of improving the food security of the settlers while also providing better opportunity for rehabilitation of the abandoned areas.

The program is being implemented purely on a voluntary basis, and each settler household is guaranteed assistance with packages which take advantage of PHE integration.

If the assistance packages do not include PHE integration, pressure on available water, grazing land and soil fertility will be intensified at a much higher scale. Resettlement would therefore be counterproductive to the sound environmental management and livelihood improvement programs when conducted without due consideration of the population growth rate. What is most likely to succeed, therefore, is to put in place the necessary precautionary and proactive measures which consider PHE integration focusing on improving all aspects of the livelihoods of the settlers.Back to top