Step beyond climate change mitigation


Ethiopia launched the Green Legacy Initiative, which was implemented from 2019 to 2022. The main aim of the initiative is to reduce the vulnerability of the country to desertification by planting tree seedlings nationwide. It also improves forest conservation, reforestation, and the restoration of degraded land and soil. Besides, it is important to ameliorate the promotion of sustainable forest management.

Though the country planned to plant 20 billion tree seedlings, the initiative has concluded with the planting of 25 billion seedlings through the mobilization of more than 20 million citizens throughout the country. The initiative helped prepare over 120,000 nurseries that created over 767,000 jobs, mostly for women and youth.

Taking the initiative into account, the country has finalized preparations to plant tree seedlings for the coming rainy season. According to Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, as part of the fifth year of the Green Legacy Initiative, seedling preparations are underway to plant 6.5 billion saplings this year. “Ethiopia will continue planting billions of tree seedlings, and the share of seedlings for fruit trees is also substantially higher this year”.

Ethiopian Forestry Development (EFD) Green Legacy and Artificial Forestry Director Aberu Tena told the Ethiopian Press Agency (EPA) that Ethiopia’s green legacy initiative has been gathering momentum as the country has finalized preparations to plant 6.5 billion seedlings in the coming rainy season.

The country has envisioned planting 6.5 billion seedlings in the coming rainy season; among these, 2.2 billion would aim to contribute to forest development, and the balance would be for agro-forestry.

Some 88 percent of the seedlings that were planted last year have proliferated. The country has made 719,000 hectares of land ready to plant seedlings in the forthcoming rainy season throughout the nation. Among the total reserved areas for plantations, more than 157,000 ha are granted on lease. Similarly, some 1,200 tons of seed were collected and distributed.

“In the green legacy initiative, it was possible to establish more than 120,000 seedling stations to produce and provide concerned bodies with qualified seedlings, keeping the standard at about 2.5 million seedlings in the aforesaid stations.” “Alongside the preparations to carry out the operation in the coming months of June and July, we are jointly working with various stakeholders to facilitate the intended initiative,” the director remarked.

Legal entities, such as the government, individuals, communities, and associations, cultivate and protect the seedlings. Because the green legacy initiative brought significant results with the participation of people across the nation, Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture State Minister Professor Eyasu Elias said that the country has been preparing to plant seedlings during the upcoming rainy season as part of the national green legacy initiatives. Out of the total 6.3 billion seedlings, 45% are trees, while the rest (55 percent) are fruits, animal fodder, and other vital plants.

Over the last four years, some 25 billion seedlings, including trees, fruit, and cattle feed, have been planted as part of the national Green Legacy Initiative. The initiative launched in June of 2019 has been helping Ethiopia build a green and climate-resilient nation by rehabilitating degraded land across the country.

Most importantly, tree planting has also become a culture among Ethiopians, as more than 30 million people participate every year in tree planting activities. Besides, the initiative is designed to reforest the country and help the nation enhance its agricultural activities, as the state minister noted.

Mostly, the second phase of the Green Legacy Initiative focuses on the quality of seedlings. Currently, the Ministry is working and encouraging nursing to prepare quality seedlings since the lack of quality tree saplings is the biggest challenge across the country.

In the future, emphasis will be placed on indigenous plants suitable for environmentally friendly and quality tree seedlings. Moreover, the Ministry is working to support the initiative through land management and use policies that control overgrazing. To expand the promissory result of the initiative that gained momentum over the last four years, he called on researchers to research forestry, private investors to invest in forestry, and development partners to support forest development.

Ethiopian House of Federation Speaker and Prosperity Party Deputy President Adem Farah noted that five principles need to be implemented to make a green legacy initiative program more successful: Understanding the purpose of the Green Legacy Preparation of executive bodies to achieve the program, planting various saplings under the initiative, cultivation and monitoring of the seedlings planted by the initiative, and benefits from trees of green legacy.

Furthermore, the people and the country should be able to sustainably benefit from forests and establish climate-resilient green development, he said.

Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture Minister Girma Amente explained that Ethiopia has been wondered about and recognized at regional and international levels for the Green Legacy Initiative’s noteworthy contributions. Accordingly, the country, both at the federal and regional levels, is working to sustain the green legacy initiative as phase II in the coming rainy seasons. For this, genuine support and commitment are needed.

Indeed, the Green Legacy Initiative is a clear indication of Ethiopia’s long-term commitment to fighting the impact of climate change through environmental forest sector development, greening and renewal of urban areas, and integrated water and soil resource management.

The initiative also makes an immense contribution to Ethiopia’s efforts to meet its international commitments, such as the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and Agenda 2063. Therefore, everyone, regardless of everything, should work for the achievement of planting the 6.5 billion saplings since they have significant contributions to food security and climate change mitigation.

It is true that, one way or another, the initiative is very important for Ethiopia to achieve national, regional, continental, and global environmental agreements and goals. It is also very helpful to ensure national food security objectives since, in 2022 alone, over 500 million tree seedlings such as avocados, mangoes, apples, papayas, and so on were planted.

Ethiopia is using the Initiative for its long-term commitment to give critical responses to the negative impacts of climate change and environmental degradation, such as agro-forestry, forest sector development, greening and renewal of urban areas, and integrated water and soil resource management. Therefore, in the coming rainy seasons, it is imperative to be committed to cultivating and planting the seedlings in a way that gives further benefits to the country.


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