Dear Gashe Tewolde,
First of all, kind greetings and melkam Genna.
I listened to your radio interview of last Saturday with the Voice of America with great disappointment. The main question was on the causes of the historical vicious cycle of socio-economic and environmental crises and the of the current human suffering in Ethiopia. You put the main blame on pollution arising from North America and Europe. When you were asked about local causes, you mentioned that it has nothing to do with the policies of the current government. You also went a bit further and mentioned that the economic crisis in the Country is only limited to few areas. Thanks to the genuine Ethiopian Researcher, Ato Dessalegne Rahmatu, the actual causes and extent of the effects were rightly explained during the same interview. I should also say that even the government Representative who was also on the same interview rightly witnessed the wider extent of human sufferings than what you tried to cover up.
2. Your Roles under the 3 Regimes
During the Imperial Regime, you were one of the few most highly privileged persons: highest education, University Department Head and Dean of Science at Haile Selassie I University (now called Addis Ababa University). During the Military Regime, you were promoted further to the highest position of the President of Asmara University. During the current Regime, you were given a luxurious position of the Head of the Ethiopian Environment Agency.
3. Your Contributions
You had great reputation in your field during the Imperial Regime, during which you made some interesting contribution to environmental science. I am not very sure about your efficiency as the President of Asmara University. Even worse, your efficiency has been under a serious question regarding your current contribution to the protection of the environment:
· All trees have been removed from Addis, that is making what used to be our green City look like a desert. It is not enough to blame pollution coming from North America.
· Ecologies in the rural areas have been severely degraded. Even the Dergue had the National Policy that for every tree felled; two should be planted as the replacement. How about during your long Regime as the Head of the Ethiopian Environment Agency? As you said, the Government has good policies on papers. You also had the opportunity to collect millions, if not billions of Dollars from International Donors for the protection of the environment and food security. What happened then?
4. In Conclusion
It is true that the industrialised nations, especially North America, are the most pollutants, making the highest contribution to Climate Change and Global Warming, posing a great threat to humanity. Yes, those nations have to be persuaded to make their due contribution to the mitigation of those threatening effects. Equally, also, responsibilities and concerted actions have to be taken at individual, household, locality, Woreda, Zone, Regional and national levels. Please understand my frustration when you put the entire blame on externalities, completely denying the most important local causes, responsibilities and actions.
Those types of blind supports to the paper policies are not enough. The biggest handicap of most government advisers and decision makers is their failure to provide true and scientific advices to the Regimes, with the fear that they may be less favoured. The end result will be a collective failure, as observed especially over the last 40 years.
With great sadness for my Lecturer that I used to respect.
Hilinachnin Yimelislin. Melkam Gena.