Ethiopia is land of origins (origin of human kind, origin of Arabica Coffee, origin of the Blue Nile, origin of rare species ... etc.) and a country of diversity too. Under a system of decentralized government administration, diverse nations, nationalities and people with varying languages, religions, traditions and geographic areas made a covenant to share the country voluntarily and with due respect to each other's rights. Ethiopia has a land area of l. million square kms and its population size in 2016/17 reached about 92.3 million (CSA' s projection).
Integrating with its national development frameworks, Ethiopia has implemented the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which spanned the period 2000 to 2015 and registered remarkable achievements. The MDGs were implemented through effective government leadership and coordination of all stakeholders in an organized and structured manner throughout the country. Lessons have also been drawn from the experience of implementing the MDGs and indeed, Ethiopia has made significant contributions by sharing these lessons as inputs to the preparation of the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Ethiopia has been pursuing pro-poor policies, implementing development plans and programs with in which global development agendas such as the MDGs, the Brussels Program of Action and its successor the Istanbul Program of Action for Least Developed Countries have been mainstreamed with remarkable achievements in economic growth, social development and environmental management. This, in turn has, helped in gaining replicable development experiences over the last decade and half. Informed by these experiences and having recognized future opportunities, Ethiopia has accepted and endorsed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with national commitments and ownership to implement the 2030 Agenda and its sustainable development goals (SDGs) as integral part of its national development framework. Accordingly, with full sense of national ownership, implementation of SDGs has been and is well in progress in Ethiopia.
Based on the invitation from the United Nations Economic and Social Council (UN-ECOSOC) Ethiopia has been volunteered to prepare the 2017 Voluntary National Reviews (VNRs) on SDGs, and this summary report has been extracted from the full report of the 2017 VNRs on SDGs of Ethiopia .
2. THE PURPOSE, METHODS AND PROCESSES OF THE VNRS
A number of consultations on the 2017 VNRs have been conducted at federal, regional and city administration levels. The purpose of these consultations is to ensure participation of all development actors and stakeholders including representatives of the government, the private sector, the civil society and non-government organizations, professional associations, women, persons with disabilities and youth associations, farmers and pastoralists, the parliament, political parties and development partners in the 2017 VNRs of SDGs, so that they can be cognizant the fact that where Ethiopia stands in terms of readiness and implementation of SDGs and provide constructive feedbacks to improve both contents and quality of the draft VNRs report .
The Government led 2017 VNRs on SDGs conducted in Ethiopia has followed three approaches/methodologies. These included the following.
I. Review of existing government laws and development policies and plans and collection of statistical data/information from official sources including the Central Statistical Agency (CSA) and other government institutions. In this regard, survey and census related statistical data were collected from the CSA, while administrative data/information on the implementation of SDGs were compiled from pertinent federal line ministries which are responsible for planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of their respective sector development plans, i.e., the Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) with which SDGs have been mainstreamed.
2. Organizing and analyzing statistical data and/or information collected from official sources and drafting the 2017 VNRs report as per the proposal for voluntary common reporting guidelines of the Secretary General of the United Nations for VNRs at High Level Political Forum (HLPF). The draft VNRs report has been used as the
basis for national consultations at the federal, regional and city administration levels. 1 CSA is the sole Government Central Statistics Agency in Ethiopia.
3. Conducting inclusive national consultations (federal and regional levels) on the draft 2017 VNRs. Government officials and senior experts from relevant ministries as well as other key stakeholders representing the private sector, the civil society institutions and the professional associations were consulted on the purpose, the methodology and the data requirements of the VNRs at the beginning of the review processes. All actors and stakeholders including representatives of the government, the private sector, the civil society and nongovernment institutions, professional associations, women associations, youth associations, persons with disabilities,farmers and pastoralists, the parliament, political parties and development partners were also participated in the national consultations. The national consultations conducted at regional levels were complemented by group discussions on four topics (1) Leaving no one behind (2) Eradication of poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world (3) achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls and (4) strengthening the means of implementation for SDGs in Ethiopia.
The VNRs processes recognized Ethiopia's contribution to the formulation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Just like it did in the course of implementing the MDGs, Ethiopia has integrated the SDGs with in its Second Five Year Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) spanning the period 2015/16-2019/20 with full sense of national ownership. All Stakeholders at all levels of government administration had participated in the preparation of GTP II through their representatives. The GTP II is, therefore, an integrated medium-term national development plan which has been financed from one national budget and facilitating more harmonious leadership and coordination for its effective implementation nation-wide. Thus, in the context of Ethiopia, implementing the current Second Growth and Transformation Plan (GTPII) and its successors means implementing the SDGs. There is and will be one national development plan in which the SDGs are mainstreamed. This will be further pronounced in the formulation of Ethiopia's 15 Years Perspective Development Plan spanning the period 2015/16-2029/30 currently under preparation and fully aligned with the period of the SDGs. Awareness on integration of SDGs with GTP II and the process the 2017 VNRs on SDGs of Ethiopia was created to all regional government officials through a two days' workshop jointly organized by the Government of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and UNDP Country Office in November2016.
All the SDGs have been integrated with ten of the priority areas of the GTP 11. All SDGs targets which reflect the objective reality in Ethiopia viz. the GTP II's targets in macro-economy, economic development, infrastructure development, social development, democratic systems development and cross-cutting-sectors development target have also been integrated with GTP II. Those SDGs targets that may not match the objective realities are being identified. Ethiopia has deployed existing institutional and organizational arrangements as well as human resources and no new and/or parallel efforts have been made to implement SDGs.
The national reviews have confirmed that there exist enabling policies and environments to effectively implement the SDGs in Ethiopia. Political commitments at the government level are quite high. SDGs having been integrated with the GTP II, approved by the council of ministers and ratified by the House of Peoples Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FORE) and it has become legally binding to implement the SDGs in Ethiopia. This is an evidence for the high level political commitment and national ownership exhibited by government of the FORE.
Evidences have shown that in the last decade and half, well-coordinated and integrated implementation of pro-poor national development policies, strategies, plans and programs benefitted the broader citizenry at all levels of government administration. The outcomes of these policies manifested as economic and social development which in turn exhibited by significantly reduced national poverty. Reports of the Central Statistical Agency on Household Income and Consumption-Expenditure Survey and Welfare and Demographic Health Surveys have confirmed that Ethiopia's poverty-level have shown significant reduction. Remarkable achievements have also been registered in infrastructure development (road, rail, energy, and irrigation, digital etc.), education and health. It is, therefore, promising that Ethiopia will eradicate poverty by 2030 and there by realize its national development objectives and global commitment in tandem.
3. REVIEW FINDINGS
Findings of the 2017 VNRs on SDGs of Ethiopia are summarized under four main headings: Government commitment, national ownership, performance trends and lessons & challenges in the implementation of SDGs.
3.1 With respect to national commitments on SDGs: The high level of national commitments and transformative leadership that the government of the FDRE has exhibited to effectively implement SDGs are evidenced by (a) pro-poor policies, strategies, plans and programs which have been implemented since the last decade and half (b) decentralized administrative system with power devolution to regional states (c) full-fledged institutional and organizational arrangements (federal and regional) to effectively implement the pro-poor policies, strategies, plans and programs within a decentralized administrative system which is the main mechanism to closely identify and address the needs of the citizens and by equally engaging them in economic, social and political matters. These commitments have created conducive environment for effective implementation of SDGs.
3.2 With respect to national ownership on SDGs: (a) Mainstreaming SDGs into GTP II and getting approved by the Council of Ministers and endorsed and ratified by the House of Peoples Representatives (the parliament) (h) Inclusive engagement and participation of all actors and stakeholders in the preparation, implementation, follow up and annual progress review of the SDGs-Integrated GTP II and (c) additional allocation of financial resource to increase the 70 % poverty-oriented sectors spending to 75 %for accelerating the achievement of SDGs through effective mobilization of domestic resources (d) Effective coordination of SDGs-integrated GTP II implementation both at the federal and regional level are concrete evidences for strong national ownership of the Ethiopian Government to effectively implement SDGs.
3.3 With respect to performance trends of SDGs: Early performance trends on the principle "Leaving No one Behind", on the 2017 Thematic Analysis: "Eradicating Poverty and Promoting Prosperity" and on the six sets of sustainable development goals for the 2017 in-depth review of SDGs, which include Goals I, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14 have been assessed and the findingsincluded in the 2017 VNRs report on SDGs of Ethiopia.
3.3.1 Leaving No One Behind: Ethiopia's supreme law, the Ethiopian constitution, provides equal development opportunities to all its citizens. Accordingly, it is proclaimed in the supreme law of the land that Ethiopia has to follow a decentralized administrative system with devolution of power to local administrative levels which are very close to the communities in light of better addressing local communities' needs and engaging them in economic, social and political activities; government services are better accessed in decentralized system of administration. The Government has also undertaken affirmative action particularly to support women and girls and persons with disabilities and to build capacities of those who and/or which have been left behind because of historical reasons. The pro-poor policies of the government, the productive safety net program in rural and urban areas, the micro & small enterprises initiatives in urban areas with priority focus on women and youth are a few of the many showcases to address Leaving No one Behind in Ethiopia. With regard to financial inclusiveness, the country's financial system is being modernized, being made efficient, competitive and of high quality and of broad coverage to provide access to the citizens to equally participate in and more equitably benefit from the development across the nation. By expediting sustainable development in a coordinated and structured way opportunities for leaving no one behind and eradicating poverty have become more evident.
3.3.2 Eradication of Poverty and Promoting Prosperity in a changing world: The core development objective of the Ethiopian Government is poverty eradication, while economic growth is the principal, but not the only means to achieve this objective. All development policies, strategies plans and programs are geared towards eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity. This is evidenced by inclusive rapid economic growth, countrywide infrastructure development, remarkable social development, well organized, integrated and community based environmental development as well as building democratic systems in order to be able to eradicate poverty and bring about the prosperity of the people. The year 2025 has been marked as the target year to attain the National Vision for Ethiopia to join the Lower Middle Income status. The combined efforts of the nation are focusing on ensuring accelerated transformation and renaissance- the journey of the nation towards eradicating poverty and bringing about prosperity. The annual regular national budget allocation (about 70 %) has been focusing on
poverty oriented sectors such as agriculture, education, health, water & sanitation and rural roads. The SDG-integrated GTP II has targeted to attain a national poverty level of 16.7 % by 2019/20.
3.3.3 Early performance trends of the six sets of SDGs (1, 2, 3, 5, 9 and 14)
3.3.3a End poverty in all its forms everywhere: Though unemployment and poverty in Ethiopia are still high, performances in economic growth, economic infrastructure development, social development and environmental development have been impressive. High unemployment rate of women, persons with disabilities and youth in particular requires special attention for increased and concerted efforts to continuously build capacities of women, persons with disabilities and youth, accelerate the all-inclusive economic growth, infrastructure development, social development and building of democratic systems that would lead to eradicate poverty in all its forms and adequately address unemployment issues more expeditiously. In this regard, the SDG-integrated GTP II has prioritized unemployment issues of women and youth for addressing through integrated and organized approaches. In 2015/16, the Ethiopian economy grew on the average by 8 %. This average real GDP growth rate was registered in the 2015/16, despite the fact that climate change caused drought and its severe impact and despite the slow-down in the global economy; in all fairness it is a remarkable achievement Compared with economic growth rate of 7 %, the threshold that low income countries should maintain to achieve the creation of desirable work opportunities and sustainable economy, the growth performance of the Ethiopian economy in 2015/16 is considered to be high. The GDP per capita has also significantly increased from 373 USD in 2009/10 to 691 USD in 2014/15 and further to 794 USD by 2015/16. According to the poverty analysis based on the Household Income and Consumption Expenditure Survey (IDCES) of the Central Statistical Agency, national poverty level has declined from 44.2% in 1999/00 to 38.7% in 2004/05 and to 29.6% in 2010/11. The proportion of the population living below the national poverty line was estimated to decline from 29.6 % in 2010/11 to 23.4 % in 20 I 4/15 and at the end of the GTP II period (20 19/20), poverty level (head count poverty rate) is projected to decline to 16.7 %. With effective implementation of GTP II, and its next generations five year development plans to be implemented in the coming decade through integrated and coordinated manner, it is possible to eradicate poverty in all its forms by 2030.
3.3.3b End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture: The Government of Ethiopia has strived to expand agricultural productivity through continuous capacity development of smallholder farmers and pastoralists, ensuring access to improved technology and agricultural extension services and transform the economy from that of agricultural development led to industrial economy with a realization of food security while aid-dependency ceases to exist. Agricultural productivity, preparedness for disaster prevention and management, urban employment generation and food security program have received priority attention in light of eliminating hunger, achieve food security & improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture. The SDGs integrated GTP II has also given top priority to Climate Resilient Green Agriculture Development in an endeavor to increase productivity and ensure sustainability of agricultural development. Though climate change induced drought the worst ever seen in the last 50 years, had occurred in most parts of the country during 2015/16 and 10.2 million people became victims of the drought, the Government of Ethiopia has successfully managed the effects of the drought without any loss of human life largely through effective domestic resource mobilization and the supply of nutritious food items to mothers and children. The government has also registered an average real GDP growth rate of 8 %.despite the worst drought occurred in the country. The productivity of food crops was affected by the drought, as a result, production of major crops (cereals, pulses and oils seeds) declined from 270.3 million quintals in 2014115 to 266.8 million quintals in 2015/16. However, the decline in crop production due to the effects of drought was compensated by irrigation in non-drought victim areas of the country. On the other hand, in light of ascertaining food security, massive natural resources development works were executed by mobilizing the rural communities in 2015/16.
3.3.3c Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages: It has been proclaimed in the constitution of the FDRE that the Government has the obligation to allocate ever increasing resources to provide to the public health, education and other social services. The national health sector policy, strategy, plan and program of the Government have therefore, emanated from this constitutional provision and they are focusing on preventive rather than curative health services to address critical issues and problems of the health sector in Ethiopia. With the main objective of ensuring easy access to and quality of basic health services for all Ethiopian citizens, the
Ethiopian Government has made massive investment in expanding health infrastructure and building the human capital in the health sector. Health Extension Program has been operational and rolled out to all rural and urban areas of the country for effective implementation of the national health sector policy by deploying about thirty eight thousand trained health extension workers. Accordingly, the national health services coverage reached 98 % through expanding health institutions, training and deploying sufficient human resources and increasing health service accessibility. Maternal and infants health has improved significantly with reduced maternal mortality rate per100,000 live births to 420 in 2014/15 while that of under-five child mortality rate declined to 64/1000 live births in the same period. Incidences & spread of communicable diseases have been restrained and life expectancy has shown tremendous progress. Healthy and productive labor force is thus availed for the economy to maintain its accelerated pace and achieve the goal of eradicating poverty in all its forms by 2030.
3.3.3d Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls: As per the constitution of the FDRE, all persons are equal before the law and that women have equal rights with men in all economic, social and political affairs. On the basis of this constitutional provision, the Ethiopian Government has formulated and put under implementation of women's policy and development packages and youths' policy and development packages. These policies and development packages aim at ensuring women and female youths' equality and ensuring that they benefit from the economy. Youth policy gives priority to female youth and is focusing on educating and training them in various professions and skills such that they equally participate in and equitably benefit from economic & social development, good governance and democratic affairs and that they get organized and stand for their rights. Affinitive actions have also been taken by the government to compensate women and girls for what they lost historically in areas of Civil Service Employment Schemes and entrance of tertiary education. Rural women were deployed to various works and were made to own lands. Land is principal economic resource in the rural areas of the country. During 2015/16 alone, 276.1 thousand women jointly with their husbands and 61.7 thousand women headed households have received second degree entitlement on rural land ownership. Furthermore, 442,011 women jointly with their husbands and 71,169 women headed households received second degree entitlement for rights to land use during the first six months of 2016/17. In Ethiopia, women participation in the political sphere has been increasing. Their representation in the house of peoples' representatives (parliament) reached 38.7 percent, while at lower level of government administration, i.e. at regional and woreda (district) levels, representation of women in the house of people representatives reached 48 percent and 50 percent respectively. Gender parity index in primary education (grades 1-8) reached 0.91 in 2015/16. This clearly shows that women in Ethiopia are getting empowered to achieve gender equality in all sphere of development.
Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation: Ethiopia has set a new vision of becoming a leader in light manufacturing in Africa and one of the leaders in overall manufacturing as well. The vision on manufacturing sector is set to sustain the rapid economic growth over the previous years. Accordingly, in SDGs-integrated GTP II, a priority has been set to ensure rapid, sustainable and reliable industrial growth by building climate resilient green industry through developing national capabilities in technological searching, selection, import, adaptation and effective utilization, enhance quality infrastructural capacity to support the manufacturing sector to become competitive in the international market in terms of quality and price. Sustaining infrastructure investment by promoting export expansion and import substitution of goods and services so as to reduce the strain on foreign exchange demand and meeting the infrastructure need of the economy through building strong institutions, utilizing infrastructure delivery as a vehicle to create jobs and addressing the financial constraints in investing in infrastructure development are also the focus of SDGs-integrated GTP II.
With regard to infrastructure development, the total length of all weather-roads increased from 11 0,414 kms in 2014/15 to 113,067 kms in 2015116 and the average time taken to access all-weather roads has been reduced to 1.6 hrs in 2015/16. Remarkable progresses have also been made in rail infrastructure development, digital infrastructure development, air transport, etc. With regard to road transport, though passengers and freight transport services have been on the increase, traffic accidents are also increasing and reaching at 63/10,000 deaths during 2015/16, which requires critical attention to address the problem. Constructions of renewable energy generating infrastructure (hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar) have also been progressing including the
Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Darn on Abay River with electric power generating capacity of 6000 MW which is the largest in Africa and the new electric power generating plant based on solid wastes which is second to none in Africa. While the national electric power generation capacity in Ethiopia has reached 4,269.5 MW in 2015/16, renewable energy generation from renewable sources has been prioritized in SDGs-integrated GTP II and the Government is aggressively working to increase the existing national capacity to 17,208 MW by 2019/20. Ethiopia is working to become East African Power Hub and currently exporting electric power to Djibouti and Sudan and in the pipeline to export power to Kenya while memoranda of understanding were signed with other African Countries. With regard to industrial development, the Ethiopian Government is aggressively working in developing strong and able human capital, creating enabling environment to attract developmental investors, fostering Green-Industry development and encouraging socially responsible and environmentally safe sustainable manufacturing industries through building of industrial parks and clusters which are envisaged to provide single-window shopping and suitable access to the required infrastructure and services in facilitating and expediting efficient and effective deliveries of the manufacturing industries.