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EIA profile

Updated to: 26 September 2013

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EIA background

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Country contact on EIA

Ministry of Environmental Protection and Forestry (established in June 2013)

The Ministry is established through a transformation of the Environmental Protection Agency whose contact details are:
Environmental Protection Agency
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

History of EIA

In 1995, the Environmental Protection Agency was established by proclamation No 9/1995. The 1997 environmental policy laid a foundation for environmental management in Ethiopia. It provided for the integration of environment and development at policy, planning and management levels for an improvement of decision-making. In 2000, the EPA developed an EIA guideline, which was given a legal basis with the adoption of the EIA Proclamation No. 299 of 2002 by the House of Peoples’ Representatives. EIA then became a legally required procedure. Further, the EPA was re-established through the EPA proclamation No 295/2002 which gave the it a legal mandate in EIA. Since the EIA Proclamation was adopted, efforts have been made to implement the law by the EPA and the relevant regional environmental organisations, which were themselves established by the Proclamation. An EIA directive under article 5 of the EIA proclamation was issued in 2008. This directive gives a list of projects that require EIA. In 2013, the EPA was upgraded into the Ministry for Environmental Protection and Forestry.

D. Ruffeis et a. (2012). Evaluation of the environmental policy and impact assessment process in Ethiopia. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 28(1), pages 29-40.

Year of introduction of EIA legislation


Legal framework for EIA

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Year of introduction of enabling law

Constitution of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. However, Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation No 299/ 2002 issued by the House of People representatives guides the EIA process.

D. Mellese and M. Bayou (2008). Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment in Ethiopia: Gaps and Challenges

Approving authority of enabling law

Approved by parliament and signed by the president

Year of introduction of first national detailed regulation for EIA

Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation No 299/ 2002 issued by the House of People representatives guides the EIA process.

D. Mellese and M. Bayou (2008). Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment in Ethiopia: Gaps and Challenges


Approving authority of first national detailed regulation for EIA

House of People representatives

Recent updates and additions to the EIA legislation

In 2008, the Environmetal Council of Ethiopia issued a directive that lists the project activities that require an environmetal impact assessment (Directive No .1/ 2008).

website EPA:

Sector specific procedures or regulations on EIA



Ethiopia has developed General EIA guidelines (2000), EIA review guidelines (2003) and EIA procedural guidelines (2003)  which elaborate the framework EIA proclamation and provide for the schedules of activities and the level of EIA required as well as roles of various stakeholders. A number of EIA sector based, review and procedural guidelines have also been developed. Examples include guidelines for dams and reservoirs construction, for preparation of EMPs, for activities dealing with forestry, fertilizer, livestock, fisheries and range management among others. They can be downloaded from the following link of the EPA website.

Objective of EIA

Not specified in the EIA proclamation. However, the EIA guidelines of 2003 state that the primary purpose of EA is to ensure that impacts of projects, policy and programs, etc are adequately and appropriately considered and mitigation measures for adverse significant impacts incorporated when decisions are taken. The guidelines state that EA serves to bring about:

  • administrative transparency and accountability;
  • public participation in planning and decision taking on development that may affect the communities and their environment; and
  • sustainable development.

Scope of EIA application

There is a draft EIA directive based on article 5 of proclamation No. 299/2002 that lists a number of catogories of projects that are subject to EIA. THe directive also states that  all projects (government, private or international) which fall in any categories listed require an EIA.

Exemptions from EIA application

Not specified.

Institutional setting for EIA

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Central EIA authority

Until June 2013, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was in charge of EIA at the federal level and overall.  Regional Environmental Agencies were responsible for EIA within specific regions. Recently, the status of the EPA was upgraded as it was transformed into the Minstry of Environmental Protection and Forestry. The former director of the EPA, Dr. Tewolde Berhane Gebre Egziabher, is the advisor of the newly appointed Minister of Environment and Forestry, Ato Belete Tafere. It is expected that the responsibilities and rights of the EPA are transferred to the Ministry, also the ones on EIA.

Remark: It is yet unclear how the recent institutional changes will affect responsibilities regarding EIA in detail. As prevailing legal provisions still mention the EPA as the main authority, this country profile transitionally refers to the EPA until more specific information is available.

Proclamation 295/2002

Other key (governmental) parties involved in EIA, and their roles

  • Environmental Protection Council: Comprises of 8 members with competencies in specific issues related to environment management. It evaluates and approves directives and standards issued by the EPA;
  • Licensing institutions: e.g. Ministries of Trade and Industry as well as Mines and Energy: They are required to issue trading and investment licences and to ensure as per the EIA proclamation that an EIA licence is first obtained.

Mandate for exemption of EIA obligation

There is no competent authority with a mandate for exemptions.

(De)centralisation of EIA mandates

The EIA system is decentralised vertically. The EPA is in charge of EIA at the federal level and decides on EIAs for projects that are likely to produce trans-regional impacts. Regionally, EIA administration is mainly by regional state environmental agencies. Above all, the Environmental Protection Council (EPC) is in place for overseeing and coordinating environmental matters. Powers to evaluate and review EIAs have been delegated to 6 sector institutions mainly; Ministry of Mines and Energy, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Communications and Transport, Ministry of water and energy, Ministry of Trade and Industry, and the Ministry of Agriculture and rural development. These sector institutions are expected to establish environmental units to undertake EIA monitoring.

Proclamation 295/2002; Article 14 and Adugna A (Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Ethiopia). Environmental Impact Assessment: A legislative handbook for Eastern Africa Region. CLEAA PD ellows 2007-2008 Alumni (un-published)

EIA procedure

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Overview EIA procedure

Screening may be done in the form of an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) process, as the EIA guidelines suggest. Scoping is also a voluntary step of the procedure. Thereafter, the assessment is done, review  and a decision on whether an environmental clearance licence is issued or not. Finally, compliance monitoring is conducted.

Important documents as outcomes of the EIA process are the following: IEE report for screening (advised), scoping report (advised), EIA report, environmental clearance licence.


Screening process

Screening is based on a list of projects provided under the EIA directive issued in 2008 under article 5 of the EIA proclamation No 229 of 2002. This list contains both projects that require EIA and those that do not require EIA. Additionally based on the EIA procedural guidelines (non-legally binding), the proponent is responsible for undertaking an initial environmental evaluation (IEE) to determine whether or not a given project requires a full EIA. The IEE report should have details that include location, size of the proposed project, likely impacts and proposed mitigation measures. On the basis of the IEE, the regulator will approve the project (with conditions of approval necessary), request a full EIA study, or reject the project outright.

Screening requirement and authority

Screening is required in Ethiopia.

Provision for sensitive areas

All projects located in environmentally sensitive areas are considered to cause significant impact and require a full EIA process irrespective of their nature. It is now suggested that a minimum of 300 m distance is kept from any sensitive areas.

Contents of the starting document

The starting document is the IEE. It should contains the title of the proposed activity:

  • the name of the proponent and the consultant(s) representing the proponent;
  • the address of the proponent and the consultant(s) representing the proponent (including telephone numbers, fax numbers and e-mail address);
  • location of the proposed development and characteristics of the location (sensitivity of the area); size  (small, medium and large scale);
  • the description and extent of the proposed activities; and any potential environmental issues identified by the proponent to be affected as potential impacts);
  • public concerns;
  • institutional requirement, environmental mitigation measures and monitoring considerations.

Adugna A (Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Ethiopia). Environmental Impact Assessment: A legislative handbook for Eastern Africa Region. CLEAA PD ellows 2007-2008 Alumni (un-published)

Timeline Screening

No information


Scoping process

The EIA guidelines suggest that the proponent (consultant) is supposed to prepare a detailed plan of study for scoping, identify and consult with the interested and affected parties. The competent authority is suggested to ensure that all potentially significant impacts have been included in the study.

Contents of the scoping document

It is suggested in guidance provided that the scoping report should contain:

  • a brief description of the activity to be undertaken;
  • a description of all tasks to be performed during scoping;
  • a schedule setting out when the tasks contemplated will be completed;
  • an indication of the stages at which the relevant authority will be consulted; and
  • a description of significant effects and factors to be considered and the proposed methods of identifying the environmental issues and alternatives.

A ToR is produced during scoping for use in the impact study.

Adugna A (Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Ethiopia). Environmental Impact Assessment: A legislative handbook for Eastern Africa Region. CLEAA PD ellows 2007-2008 Alumni (un-published)

Timeline scoping

No information.

Assessment and reporting

Assessment process

There are no specified steps. Nevertheless, the proponent is required to submit a EIA report to EPA or the relevant regional authority alongside other required documents as determined by the relevant authority. This report is supposed to be prepared by experts that meet certain standards as set by EPA.

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 7 (2)

Contents of the EIA report

The EIA report should contain a description of:

  • the nature of the project, including the technology and processes to be used;
  • the content and amount of pollutant that will be released during implementation as well as during operation;
  • source and amount of energy required for operation;
  • information on likely trans-regional impacts;
  • characteristics and duration of all the estimated direct or indirect, positive or negative impacts;
  • measures proposed to eliminate, minimize, or mitigate negative impacts;
  • contingency plan in case of accident; and
  • procedures of self auditing and monitoring during implementation and operation.

Additionally, the EIA report should be accompanied by a non-technical summary.

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 8 (2) and 9 (1)


Review process

The EIA proclamation does not give a specific review process. However, it states that evaluation is done by taking into account any public comments and expert opinion. It is also not specified whether the review results are opened to public and if the public has the possibility to respond

Review expertise

External experts can be asked to give their comments for consideration by the EPA during EIA report review.

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 9 (2)

Timeline Review

15 days

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 9 (2)


Integration of EIA into decision-making

Approval of the EIA report means that an environmental clearance (EIA licence) will be issued. The project approval decision is taken by a separate authority , but in consideration of the results of the EIA.

Competent authority

EPA or the relevant regional environmental agency

Decision documents

No information.

Decision justification

Not specified under the EIA proclamation.

Decision publication

The EIA guidelines advise that the Record of Decision should be made available to the public upon request.

Timeline decision-making

15 days

Monitoring, Compliance and Enforcement

Compliance monitoring

EPA or the relevant regional environmental authority is required to evaluate compliance with approval conditions and where applicable may order the proponent to take corrective measures.

As part of the EIA report, the proponent is required to submit procedures for self auditing and monitoring to be used during implementation and operation.

External monitoring

No information.

Non-compliance penalties

No information.

EIA evaluation

No information

Payment system

The EIA proclamation states that the cost of undertaking an EIA and preparing an EIA report should be borne by the proponent.  The proponent is also required to pay an EIA processing fee to EPA

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 7 (3)

Public participation

Public participation requirements for EIA process stages

No information

Public participation guidance


Costs for public

Not specified

Public comments

No information.

Public comments in decision-making

Part Five of the Proclamation on EIA (2002) determines that the EPA or the relevant regional agency shall ensure that the comments made by the public are incorporated into the EIA report and its evaluation. How these comments should be used for decision-making processes is not specified.

Timeline for public comments

No information.

Access to information

There are provisions in the EIA proclamation, 2002 for EPA or the relevant regional environmental agency to make any EIA study report accessible to the public and solicit comments on it. Access to other documents and/ or decision is not specified.

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 15

Information dissemination

Not specified in the EIA proclamation but the EIA guidelines (not legally binding) advises to have on-site advertisement, media advertisement using radio and TV in the local language. It also advises placing an advert in local language in an appropriate newspaper (within the locality of the project). The advertisement should be placed in a official government gazette that provides service for public notice.

Legal recourse

Possibilities for appeal

No information.

Decisions that can be appealed

Any decision by EPA or the relevant regional environmental agency

Proclamation 295/2002 Article 17

Who can appeal

No information.

EIA practice

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Annual no. of EIAs

Estimated approximately 30 EIA's are produced at the Federal level annually.

Central EIA database

Completed EIAs are kept at EPA or at the regional environmental agencies under which the EIA was conducted

Practice reviews

D. Mellese and M. Bayou (2008). Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment in Ethiopia: Gaps and Challenges.

D. Ruffeis et al. (2012). Evaluation of the environmental policy and impact assessment process in Ethiopia. Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal 28(1), pages 29-40.

Accreditation of consultants

An independent consultant or the firm requires registration and licence issued by EPA to practice.  There is however no accreditation system for consultants

Adugna A (Institute of Biodiversity Conservation and Research, Ethiopia). Environmental Impact Assessment: A legislative handbook for Eastern Africa Region. CLEAA PD ellows 2007-2008 Alumni (un-published)

Professional bodies

  • Movement for Environmental Learning and Community Action (MELCA): MELCA's objective is to promote research on the relationships between cultural /traditional/ people with their environment; to promote the diverse traditional ways of transferring knowledge and practices from generation to generation; to campaign, advocate and lobby for policy and legislation that effectively protects the rights of local communities as well as the integrity of cultural and local governance systems; and to promote endogenous development. 
  • Ethiopian Association of Environmental Impact Assessment (EAEIA): Established in 2004 with the objective to; a) create and develop capacity to reduce or avoid harm to the environment and natural resources; b) Facilitate the development of EIA resource centre and training thereof.
  • Member of the Horn of Africa - Regional Environment Centre and Network.

Non-governmental EIA guidance

The Ethiopian Floriculture Association has developed a Code of Conduct that requires EIA for the purpose of accessing the EU market

Capacity development

Professional Development (PD) Fellowship Program for East and Southern Africa.  CLEAA works with various environmental assessment leaders nationally, regionally and globally, in partnership with IUCN East and Southern Africa Regional Office (ESARO), with financial support from Swedish International development Agency (SIDA)  to promote and enhance Africa’s capacity in Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA), for better environmental governance and sustainable development.

EIA links

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Links to laws/regulation

Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (1994)

Environmental Policy of Ethiopia (1997)

Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation No 299/2002 (2002)


Other relevant links on EIA

  • EIA review study by Ethiopian NGO