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  • Ethiopia, Tigray Region wins Future Policy Award 2017 for combating Desertification


    In partnership with the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), the 2017 Future Policy Award highlights laws and policies that effectively address land and soil degradation, and the related risks to food security and livelihoods, and help secure a sustainable and just future for people living in the world’s drylands.

    The Winners


    Ethiopia, Tigray Region: Conservation-Based Agricultural Development-Led Industrialization (1994), supported by Mass Mobilization Campaigns (1991) and the Youth Responsive Land Policy (2008)

    The Tigray region’s interpretation of Ethiopia’s development strategy focuses on food self-sufficiency and economic growth by conserving land and promoting sustainable agriculture. Thanks to a unique combination of collective action, voluntary labour and the involvement of youth, the people of Tigray are restoring land on a massive scale.


    Brazil: Cistern Programme (2003, enshrined into law in 2013)

    This programme is a participative,bottom-up way to provide water for consumption and for growing  food and keeping livestock in Brazil’s drought prone Semiarid region using simple rainwater collection technology. It empowers millions of the region’s poorest people to be in control of their own needs, to generate income and enhance their food security.

    China: Law on Prevention and Control of Desertification (2002)

    This is the world’s first integrated law dedicated to combating desertification. It provides a framework for China’s National Action Programme and a host of projects aimed at rehabilitating land at risk. Over the last 15 years, China has reversed the trend of desertification. It is no coincidence that the country lifted more than 700 million people out of poverty during the same period.


    International: The 4 per 1000 Initiative – Soils for Food Security and Climate (2015)

    This awareness raising, high-level political initiative communicates a new concept for mitigating climate change through the annual increase in soil organic carbon by 0.4 per cent in the top 30-40 cm of the agricultural soils. It encourages a paradigm shift in agricultural practice.


    Australia: Indigenous Protected Areas Programme (1997) and Working on Country – Indigenous Rangers Programme (2007)

    Indigenous Rangers are at the forefront of turning around environmental degradation right across Australia. 75 Indigenous Protected Areas, covering over 67 million hectares, now make up more than 44 per cent of the National Reserve System and have created largest contiguous area of protected arid land in the world.

    Jordan: Updated Rangeland Strategy (2013/2014)

    Bedouin people in Jordan have governed their rangelands through their own land tenure systems and grazing rights known as “Hima” for millennia. The Rangeland Strategy embraces this traditional, holistic concept, which effectively integrates natural resources, community life, ethics, animal welfare and more.

    Niger: 3N Initiative ‘Nigeriens Nourishing Nigeriens’ – Strategy for food security, nutrition, and sustainable agricultural development (2011-2015, 2016-2021)

    This is a large-scale, cross-sectoral initiative that is enhancing the sustainable agricultural development and socio-economic resilience of farmers and herders. The policy was developed in an inclusive and participatory process. Since 2011, Niger has reduced the proportion of people suffering from hunger by 50 per cent.

    The award ceremony will be held in September 2017in Ordos (Inner Mongolia, China) during the 13th Conference of the Parties (COP).


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  • Ethiopian government plans to privatize part of national road network

    Ethiopia plans to privatize part of its road network through public-private partnerships. The finance minister says the government will look to corporates to help fund its ambitious infrastructure development projects. Ethiopia plans to double its road network by 2020. Currently, the country has over 113,000 kilometres of paved roads. Parliament has approved a $13.9 billion budget, most of which will be allocated to infrastructure development. The planned privatization of the road network is the latest step Ethiopia is taking to open up and modernize the economy. Earlier this year, the country offered foreign firms stakes in the government-operated Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Services Enterprise.

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  • Ethiopian exile on terror charges in UK

    An Ethiopian political dissident who campaigns against his government from the UK has appeared in court in London charged with nine terrorism offences.

    Tadesse Kersmo is accused of attending a training camp in Eritrea, and possessing information useful to terrorism, including texts on sniper training and urban guerrilla warfare.

    Mr Kersmo works for Ethiopian opposition group Ginbot 7, which is banned in Ethiopia but not in the UK.

    He was arrested after arriving at Heathrow Airport in January.

    Appearing briefly at Westminster Magistrates Court, Mr Kersmo indicated he would plead not guilty to all the charges at his trial.

    The case is the first terrorism charge in the UK in relation to a member of the opposition group which operates openly across Europe and the US.

    Judge Emma Arbuthnot bailed Mr Kersmo subject to certain conditions, including a security of $32,000 (£25,000)

    Mr Kersmo, who is also a management lecturer, was given political asylum in the UK after fleeing Ethiopia in 2009. He later became a British citizen.

    Mr Kersmo has appeared from time to time in the media to argue for democratic changes in Ethiopia and has spoken before of being detained and beaten by government agents.

    Three years ago, he and his supporters lobbied the UK's National Crime Agency to investigate whether the Ethiopian government had used novel surveillance techniques to install spying software on his computer.

    He will next appear in the Central Criminal Court, commonly referred to as The Old Bailey, on 20 July.

    Source: BBC

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  • Thousands of Ethiopians are still stuck in Saudi Arabia

    Thousands of Ethiopians are still stuck in Saudi Arabia after a 90-day amnesty for undocumented migrants expired on Tuesday without all of them leaving , the Ethiopian government has said.

    Communications Minister Negeri Lencho told the BBC that the government has asked for the amnesty to be extended.

    He said more than 45,000 citizens had so far returned but there were many more waiting to go back home.

    Ethiopians have been employed in Saudi Arabia in building and domestic work.

    Mr Negeri said that the government was expecting "a positive response" from the Saudi authorities for its request to extend the amnesty.

    Mr Negeri says that there was a slow uptake during the amnesty period because some people were sceptical the Saudi authorities would take action during the just ended period of Ramadan.

    Minister Negeri added that a taskforce and money has been set aside to receive and resettle the Ethiopian returnees.

    Source: BBC

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  • United Nations praises Ethiopia for its refugee handling


    The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, on Tuesday praised efforts made by the Ethiopian government in handling the regional refugee crisis.

    Grandi made the remarks during the World Refugee Day commemorative ceremony held in Ethiopia’s Gameblla regional state, which is housing most of the South Sudanese refugees.

    “Ethiopia is a very good model of how a country with a limited resources and a great challenge of its own keeps its doors open, its arms open to people from neighboring countries that are in trouble and seek protection here,” Grandi asserted.

    Ethiopia currently hosts more than 850,000 refugees from 21 countries with South Sudanese, Somalis, Eritreans, and Sudanese making up the majority.

    The east African country has registered an additional 54,107 refugees in just the first five months of 2017, with most of the arrivals being Eritreans, South Sudanese and Sudanese, according to recent figure by the Ethiopian Administration for Refugees and Returnees Affairs (ARRA).

    “We must help Ethiopia carry out this heavy responsibility and also be inspired by Ethiopia because it is a very shining example of African hospitality and international hospitality,” Grandi stressed.

    Grandi, prior to his arrival to Ethiopia, on Sunday visited a camp for internally displaced people in the South Sudan’s city of Bentiu, and pledged the global community to do more in helping the world’s youngest nation, a country with the fastest growing displaced population in the world.

    Ethiopian officials also vowed to continue the country’s open door policy for people affected by war and looming famine in South Sudan.

    With the world home to more than 65 million refugees, Ethiopia is playing its dutiful part as one of the top five refugee hosting countries globally, said Zeynu Jemal, Deputy Director of ARRA.

    Source: Xinhua


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