Commissioner Hedegaard's impressions of her visit to Ethiopia (17-18 October)
"One day of intense meeting activity in Addis Abeba at the Climate Change and Development in Africa Conference. Lots of talk and discussion with African partners on international climate negotiations and adaptation needs. All very useful to prepare Durban, but what matters is not only what we say, but very much what we do.
Therefore, the second day was spent in the Tigray Region in northern Ethiopia to learn more about a major EU-funded food security programme covering 7,5 mio people. This part of Ethiopia is extremely dry and it keeps getting worse. Much vegetation has disappeared, taken by the draught or used as cooking fuel. The land is eroding. Now, several mini dams, one of which I inaugurated, collect water during the rainy season from July to September. New irrigation systems will allow for two harvests a year instead of just one. Stone fences prevent further erosion and open up more land for new livelihoods for the rural population as well as new economic opportunities such as beekeeping. These simple constructions mean a lot of difference and help the people adapt to climate change. The local communities were engaged and motivated to move up the development ladder.
Mekelle, the capitol of the Tigray Region and the second largest city in Ethiopia, will soon be powered by wind. 120 wind turbines, each 1 MW, are being erected in a private-public partnership. End of this year the first 30 turbines will be operational. Wind power prevents further deforestation and ensures sustained electricity to the households. Tigray has beautiful sceneries. The wind turbines enhanced the beauty. They are a sustainable feast for the eye, also in Africa."