Environment and Climate Research Center (ECRC) is a new research center established in the Ethiopian Development Research Institute (EDRI) in partnership with the Environment for Development Initiative (EfD), and the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI). The new research center will support green and climate-resilient development in Ethiopia as a knowledge backstop.
“Yes, this is the ‘new EfD Ethiopia’. The Ethiopian hub of EfD, the Environmental Economics Policy Forum for Ethiopia, is now transformed into the Environment and Climate Research Center,” says EfD fellow Haileselassie Medhin (PhD), coordinator of the establishment process, and recently assigned as a director of the new center.
The new center is established as a partnership between EDRI, EfD and GGGI. It will also be based in EDRI. The center will have a wide focus area and will collaborate with a number of stakeholders working on implementing Ethiopia’s Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy.
“The main rationale for the change is to cope with the knowledge demands of the policy processes in the country. Implementation of the Climate Resilient Green Growth stagey is now starting, which will involve major policy and investment interventions in all the major sectors of the economy. The new center aspires to be the knowledge backstop for successful implementation of the CRGE strategy,” says Medhin.
“The fact that EDRI is both a partner and a host of the center means that the new center has solid standing within the country’s top economic think-tank. GGGI’s partnership offers the center a strong link to local and international policy processes, as well as opportunities to access funding.”
The CRGE strategy was initiated in 2011 with the ambition of making the country, which has a low carbon emission, a middle income economy by 2025. It has been driven by seven sectoral teams involving 50 experts from 20 leading government institutions under the leadership of the Prime Minister’s Office. EfD Ethiopia’s research fellows were among the contributors to the development of the strategy. The strategy has garnered a strong international support since its launch, and a consortium of developed countries signed a declaration to strengthen their support for the strategy in Lima 2014.
The new center’s core functions will include undertaking policy oriented research on the economics of climate and environment in Ethiopia, conducting real time impact evaluation of the CRGE’s implementation process and serving as an interaction hub for research and policy in the country. The center also aims to be a hub for research-policy interaction as well as contribute in capacity building
“EfD’s decade long work in Ethiopia through EEPFE has been critical for the establishment of ECRC, and will continue to be critical for its success. The main rationale for establishment of the new center – conducting high quality and policy relevant research in a sustainable manner – is well in line with EfD’s core objective of supporting research in developing countries. In many ways the transformation of EfD Ethiopia into the new center is critical step in the fulfilment of EfD’s vision,” says Medhin, who completed his PhD in 2013 at the Environmental Economics Unit at the Department of Economics, University of Gothenburg.
EfD’s Director Gunnar Köhlin will be one of three permanent members of the center’s Steering Committee, the highest level decision making body of the center. The others are Newai Gebre-ab, Executive Director of EDRI and Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister in the rank of minister, and Myung Kyoon Lee (Prof) director of Knowledge Services Department at GGGI.
The center will also have a National Advisory Committee (NAC) with representatives from government offices and non-government stakeholders involved in the design and implementation of the CRGE strategy including ministries, government agencies, universities and research institutions, civil society and the private sector.
“We will undertake a comprehensive planning of the center’s research and other programs over the coming months, and gradually build up the programs. We expect a full-fledged launch of the center’s core programs in the beginning of 2016.”, says Medhin.
GGGI, with the support of the Norwegian government, will contribute 500,000 dollars for the planning and start up phase of the center. EfD will also make a significant core support to the center, and also continue its support to specific research projects, according to Haileselassie Medhin.
The combination of EfD’s academic excellence and a rich network of local and international scholars, GGGI involvement and experience in global policy processes, and EDRI’s critical mass of highly qualified researchers and central place in Ethiopia economic policy research will be instrumental for the center to achieve its objectives according to Medhin.