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Updated to: 26 September 2013

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Distinguishing features of the EIA/SEA system

In Ethiopia, EIA is legally required since 2002 when the EIA proclamation was issued. This proclamation also made a reference to SEA as it requires the assessment of public instruments. The EIA system is decentralized vertically to regional state environmental agencies. However, responsibilities regarding EIA review have been delegated to sector institutions. Finally, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as central EIA authority in Ethiopia has been transformed into the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Forestry in June 2013.

Administrative system: relevant features

The Administrative system for EA governance is organized based on federal system principle. Until June 2013, it was arranged in such a way that at Federal level EPA was responsible for development initiatives that require an EIA/SEA and require permits from federal state organs or owned, financed or implemented by the same. In addition initiatives having trans-regional impacts fell under EPA. There were 9 autonomous regional and two city’s administrations environmental agencies dealing with EIA/SEA governance in their respective regions and administration respectively.

Establishment of Sectoral environmental units is to make them responsible for coordination and follow-up so that the activities of the competent agency are in harmony with this EIA proclamation and with other environmental protection requirements. The Environmental units do not strictly and equally play a regulatory role with environmental agencies. The functional linkage or accountability among these entities however has not been established.

In 2013, the EPA was upgraded to the Ministry of Environmental Protection and Forestry. It is expected that the rights and obligations of the EPA (as re-established under the existing proclamation No. 295/2002) will be transferred to Ministry of Environment and Forest. However, clear provisions regarding this change yet have to be defined.

D. Mellese and M. Bayou (2008). Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment in Ethiopia: Gaps and Challenges. Proclamation 295/2002) Solomon Kabede, Ethiopia Environmental Protection Agency

Relevant international conventions

Ethiopia is in the process of becoming a party to the Ramsar Convention, but does not yet have party status. It is party to the Convention on Biodiversity by ratification in 1994.

Convention on Biodiversity website

Environmental Standards: relevant features

There are several references to environmental standards in the regulation and in guidance material, but there is not yet a comprehensive standards framework.  The Ethiopian Standards Regulation No. 12/1990, which was declared by the Council of Ministers, formally recognizes the Ethiopian quality standards and makes specific provision for a Drinking Water Specification. In addition, the Environmental Pollution Control Proclamation (Proc. no. 300/2002) has been implemented to mitigate pollution. However, as yet, no effluent and emission standard guidelines have been established for Ethiopia.  For water quality control, the standard guideline established by World Health Organization (WHO) is commonly used as a reference. No standards are adopted as yet for solid waste and noise in Ethiopia.

Country specific terms or acronyms

Public instruments = a policy, a strategy, a programme, a law or an international agreement.

EPC=Environment Protection Council                                                                 
EPA=Environmental Protection Authority
REA=Regional Environmental Authorities