Abstract—Ethiopia’s Therefore, the nation has encountered genuine harms,

Abstract—Ethiopia’s past development has been
exceptionally condemned because of absence of incorporating natural concerns
into the development strategies. It appears that exclusive little efforts have
been made in the know, regarding the standardization of the Environmental
Impact assessment (EIA) decree. Most advancement planning have concentrated on
here and now financial possibility and barely considered their ecological
effects. Therefore, the nation has encountered genuine harms, to the
environment, as well as to the public in general. Despite the insignificant
impacts of its execution, Ethiopia has established a framework for protecting
the environment through the presentation of the Environmental Policy and EIA
decree. This paper tries to investigate the ways of EIA in Ethiopia. It surveys
the historical backdrop of the improvement framework with an emphasis on issues
of the past advancement. It also addresses of a current controversial
development of a dam and the impacts it has on other countries in addition to
the impact it has on the environment. 
With a pressing need in the field of effect assessment in accordance
with the present requirements for development, the paper features the Ethiopian
natural arrangement, particularly focusing on the present execution of EIA
techniques. It additionally tries to address the difficulties the nation has as
of late to completely execute EIA


Key words: dam
construction, development, Environmental Impact Assessment



is a landlocked nation placed in Eastern (horn) part of Africa surrounded by
Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, and Sudan. It is located in a
position of 3-15° N latitude, 33-48°E longitude (Fig. 1.). The
administration system (government) is a federal republic; the head of state is
the president, and the head of government is the prime minister. Ethiopia has a
customary financial framework in which the designation of accessible assets is
made on the premise of primitive strategies, and numerous residents take part
in subsistence agriculture. Ethiopia is an individual from the Common Market
for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA).

Fig. 1. The map of Ethiopia

is extremely sensitive to Environmental degradation, for the most part because
of imprudent utilization of natural resources and unwise improvement ventures,
provoked by quick populace development. That is because of no consideration
towards the environments in the agendas of development in the past since,   venture evaluation and the decision-making
concentrated just on short-term specialized attainability and financial
advantages (Tsion, 2008). Hence, disregarded ecological and social, and in
addition to long haul economic impacts have brought about a circumstance where
the nation encounters  degraded natural
environment that has outcomes on contrarily affecting the general wellbeing. The end goal which is to ensure sustainable
development so that it is basic to involve environmental concerns into
development agendas, projects, and policies.

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is outstanding amongst other environment
related management and it encourages the consideration of standards of
sustainable development ahead of schedule in a program. However, until the year
1997 Ethiopia did not have an inclusive environment policy (Mellese and Mesfin,
2008). Involvement in the past has demonstrated that diverse improvement plans
have caused huge environmental issues as the decision-making and basic
components depended on short term fix and financial gain. As the worry for
environmental deterioration has expanded as of late, the Environmental Policy
of Ethiopia (EPE) was issued in 1997 to give direction in the preservation and
economic use of the nation’s natural resources (Mellese and Mesfin, 2008). Among
the particular goals that the EPE looks to accomplish are guaranteeing
conservation, development and sustainable utilization of basic procedures
system of life support, biological diversity and renewable natural resources
and the strengthening and interest of the general population in environmental
management. The EPE establishes the framework for EIA in the
nation. The EPE stipulates the nation’s approaches with respect to EIA. It
accommodates the sanctioning of a law which requires that a proper EIA and
natural reviews are attempted on private and state development ventures.




Environmental Policy

primary far reaching proclamation of Environmental Policy for the Federal
Democratic Republic of Ethiopia was affirmed by the Council of Ministers in
April, 1997 (Mellese and Mesfin, 2008). It depended on the approach and
methodology discoveries and proposals contained in Volume II of the
Conservation Strategy for Ethiopia. The Environmental Policy is predicated on
an increasing worry for the deterioration of the natural resource base, and
considers how that base is influenced by, and influences, the general
profitability of the agribusiness area in the nation. The ‘general approach
objective is to enhance and improve the wellbeing of all citizens and to
advocate sustainable social and economic development by a thorough
administration (management) and utilization of common, human-made and social
resources and the environment in general in order to be able to supply to the
current generation without reducing the capacity of future ages to meet their
own needs. The following are derived from the policy objective explanations and
policy components within the Environmental Policy explanations and strategy
components inside the National Environmental Policy (Environmental Policy,


• Incorporate the
full economic, social and environmental costs and benefits of natural resources

• Appropriate and
affordable technologies which use renewable resources efficiently shall be adopted,
adapted, developed and disseminated.

• When a
compromise between short-term economic growth and long-term environmental
protection is necessary, then development activities shall minimize degrading
and polluting impacts on ecological and life support systems.

• Regular and
accurate assessment and monitoring of environmental conditions shall be

• Ensure that
environmental impact assessments consider not only physical and biological
impacts but also address social, socio-economic, political and cultural

• Recognize that
public consultation is an integral part of EIA and ensure that EIA procedures
make provision for both an independent review and public comment before
consideration by decision makers.

• Establish the
necessary institutional framework and determine the linkages of its parts for
undertaking, coordinating and approving EIAs and the subsequent system of
environmental audits required to ensure compliance with conditions.   

• Develop detailed
sectorial technical guidelines in EIA and environmental audits.

• Ensure that
preliminary and full EIAs are undertaken by the relevant sectorial ministries
or departments, if in the public sector, and by the developer, if in the
private sector.

The above policy articulations and directing standards
were exceptionally imperative as they have molded the draft EIA framework plan
and their operation.

History of EIA legislation in Ethiopia


encountered environmental concerns before the introduction of
industrialization. By the 19th century, Bureau of Ministers was presented
initiating the Ministry of Agriculture according to the articles 8 and 14 of
the 1893 constitution. established the framework for the multi-sectorial nature
of the environment and responsibility regarding set up a central domain
organization and suitable legitimate administration for the assurance of nature
and the implementation of approaches, systems and procedures went for
accomplishing reasonable improvement in Ethiopia.

In the
present day, the Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
(FDRE) discusses environmental issues in Articles 43, 44 and 92 where the
conception of Sustainable development, environmental protection and
environmental rights radiate. In expectation of the direct of the Government to
adjust to a Bill of Rights, the Constitution requires present and future
enactment where the Rights of Peoples in Ethiopia for sustainable development
are consistent
(No.1/1995 Constitution of Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (FDRE).

43 states that “the People of Ethiopia have the right to sustainable
development and improved living standards and the right to participate in
national development regarding policies and projects affecting their

indicated by article 44, all people have the privilege to live in a healthy and
clean condition, while the individuals who have been uprooted or whose
vocations have been antagonistically influenced because of state programs have
the privilege to money related or other means of compensation such as,
incorporating movement with the state help.

92 states the responsibility of the Government in striving to ensure a clean
and healthy environment for all Ethiopians, in maintaining the ecological
balance while conducting any economic development activity. The people
concerned shall be made to give their opinions in the preparation and implementation
of policies and programs concerning environmental protection, while the state
and citizens shall have the duty to protect the environment


Environmental Protection Authority (EPA)

The foundation of the Federal Environmental Protection
Authority (EPA) by decree No. 9/1995 has been the most imperative advance in
setting up the lawful system for the environment in Ethiopia at the government
level. The Federal
Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) was established in 1994 under the
Ministry of Natural Resources Development and Environmental Protection
(MNRD&EP, which is now the Ministry of Agriculture). In 2002, the EPA was
re-established as an independent institution by decree no. 295/2002, with a
mandate to regulate and monitor all activities in the country that have an
impact on the environment. The EPA is also the main institution responsible for
climate change policies and it is the national focal point for the Global
Environmental Facility (GEF) in Ethiopia. The responsibility of EPA for the
management of environmental protection at the government level is selective
with environmental matters.  The EPA was the leading governmental
institution behind developing the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE)
Strategy and it is now the main coordinating body for implementing this
Strategy, together with a number of national and international supporting
bodies. . The EPA has a well set up hierarchical structure with a
specialized division input concerning EIA

Structural arrangements of the Federal Environmental Agency of Ethiopia

development activities of Ethiopia of past

show ill-conceived advancement attempts and hasty utilization of natural
resources have undermined and extended Ethiopia’s past financial, environmental
and social wellbeing. In spite of the fact that the reasons for Ethiopia’s
environmental deterioration are, various and related; chronic poverty, populace
development, combined with the absence of important logical information,
irregularity on an institutional level and absence of natural and venture
approach and declarations, are among the significant drivers of Environmental
deterioration of the nation.

developments were not ready to maintain the environment since improvements had
no vision for the long term and the coming generation. There was no recognition
concerning the condition of the environment. There was no record of monitoring
and conservation and because no action was taken, the breaking down of not only
local communities but also the environment in general was observed. Later on in
acknowledgment of this, and after recognizing how critical this issue is, the
nation made significant move and arranged an EIA framework, including
Procedural Rules, which is utilized for a wide range of improvement extends in
any segment. Nonetheless, the nation still has difficulties with fully
implementing this system, regardless of a major investment program for the
implementation of large scale development schemes and industrialization.

the internationalization and regulation of the EIA system, there are
significant difficulties preventing the nation from full execution of the
current EIA policies. Some of the major reasons can be poverty,
underdevelopment and absence of essential foundation. There are significant
reasons recommending why EIA usage in developing nation frequently falls
considerably short on its impact in comparison to several other developed
countries. Structural and resource constraints on introducing and implementing
EIA arrangements could be more on the previous reasons. And the less developed
a country is the more noticeable this problem is. Constrained open inclusion in
the political decision making process, frail usage and requirement of laws and
controls, low attention to the significance of environmental administration
among government parts and the general population, and poor coordination at
national level and amongst national and nearby levels are likewise real driving
elements keeping down powerful execution of the EIA in creating nations.

A good
example of an ill-conceived development attempt which mostly focuses on the economic
development (hydropower) is the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which is also
known as GERD


Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)


It is Africa’s
tallest and most controversial dam. After years of delay, due primarily to
funding shortages, the prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegne, at last
inaugurated the 243-metre   Gibe III dam on the Omo River. Its
hydroelectric plant has the potential to double the country’s measly energy
output at the flick of a switch.  This
Dam is still under construction and it has been said that it is 63% complete
and it is still being built around the clock (Fig. 2.).

Gibe III is the
latest in a series being built along the Omo River by the government, which is
also constructing what will be the largest-ever dam in Africa which is
estimated to be open in a year: this project is intended to turn Ethiopia,
which has scarce minerals but enormous hydropower potential, into a
renewable-energy exporter.



Fig. 2. The flow of the Nile River and Grand
Renaissance Dam


Impact of GERD project on Downstream Countries

On a report that has
been submitted by 2013, they have stated that impact in Egypt will be a
reduction in power generated at Aswan High Dam when the water levels of Lake
Nasser is decreased, salinization of Egypt’s agricultural lands in the Nile
Delta due to the increased upstream withdrawals resulting from GERD operation
and large scale loss of flood recession agriculture in Sudan during GERD
impounding and operation. Further studies done by professionals in Egypt show
that there will be even worse impacts such as reduction of drinking water and
so forth. In more details, The water that arrives at Khartoum (where the Blue
Nile meets the White Nile) and that flows to Aswan in the Nile is composed of
68 percent Blue Nile (Abay), 14 percent Atbara (a tributary of the Blue Nile),
and 18 percent White Nile. Both the Blue Nile (Abay) and the Atbara originate
in the Ethiopian Highlands, which means that 82 percent of the Nile at Aswan
originates in the Ethiopian Highlands. The evaporation rate in Lake Nasser, the
reservoir of the Aswan Dam, is 2,970 mm/year, which amounts to nearly 10 BCM or
12 percent of the total annual discharge of the Nile at Aswan. Conversely,
evaporation rates in Ethiopia are much lower at 1,520 mm/year. The floods
arrive in Aswan in late August/early September and the waters are then stored
in Lake Nasser. The peak agriculture season in Egypt, when farmers irrigate the
most, falls in July, which means that the water is stored – and left to
evaporate – in Lake Nasser for ten months without being fully utilized,
generating an enormous loss for Egypt. In order to better capitalize
upon this water, several studies, have looked at the option of storing water in
the GERD in Ethiopia, where the climate is more temperate and evaporation rates
are lower for certain parts of the year and discharging downstream at
intervals. From here, water could be released in phases to downstream countries
just ahead of their peak agricultural season. By gradually discharging water to
downstream countries instead of the sudden discharge of floodwaters, the volume
of water stored in Lake Nasser could be reduced in turn reducing evaporation
rates considerably. A reduction in evaporation losses at Lake Nasser would
generate a 5 percent increase in the total volume of water reaching Aswan
annually. Another study shows that the implementation of the GERD would help
increase water during the dry period, increasing the minimum flow of the Blue
Nile at Khartoum fivefold on average. In addition to that, it can benefit Sudan
and Egypt by removing up to 86% of silt and sedimentation. It will regulate the
steady water flow throughout the year and it will avoid un-expected flooding to
downstream countries. GERD will also conserve the water in Ethiopian highlands
by having lower evaporation.

Environmental impact of GERD project

The environmental impact of the implementation of
the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam include direct and indirect impacts on the
biological, physical and chemical features of the river and the environment
where it is located.

Due to the transformation of the riverine ecosystem
upstream of the dam into an artificial lake, the river’s natural plant and
animal species are undermined. Riverine plants and animals are often not
adapted to live in a lake environment. The changes in water temperature,
dissolved oxygen, chemical composition, salinity and the physical properties of
the impoundment generally happen too fast for the species to adapt themselves In
addition, the survival of natural animals and plants could be further
undermined by the presence of non-native and invasive species (International
Rivers, 2012b)

A second undermining factor could be the separation
of animals? spawning habitats and rearing habitats due to the dam. Also, the
distribution of wild life and vegetation in the river catchment is affected.
The inundation of the forests and riverbanks will force animals and plants to
migrate uphill

Quick habitat changes could threaten animals and
plants with extinction, which endangers the catchment’s biodiversity.

The (involuntary) resettlement of inhabitants
living in the project region is one of the most challenging and controversial outcomes
of large dam projects

Newly created water bodies can produce water
related diseases such as malaria and bilharzia that affect public health.

II.       Positive and
Negative impacts of Dam

 This is an
overall impact of the dam.

· it can be the factor of physical
displacement and resettlement for some local communities or ethnicities: Dam
construction results in considerable cons or disadvantages to local people. Due
to the newly created reservoir, some people may lose their land whilst the need
to be resettled. People, who remain in the construction area, may find their
livelihoods affected by changes in river flow.

. Local communities do not share the same benefits
of the hydropower project, while they carry most of the burden due to the
construction of the dam. The agricultural lands and the resettlement of
millions of families will be also affected due to the reduction in the water
share of downstream countries.

· The construction of this dam could have an
impact on the public Health: Newly created water bodies can produce water
related diseases such as malaria and bilharzia that affect public health. Some
infectious diseases can spread around hydroelectric reservoirs, in specific in warm
climates and densely populated areas.

It could affect the water supply to some areas:
Dams create reservoirs that supply water for many uses, including domestic,
industrial and agricultural. The seasonal and annual changing in stream flow
may cause water rarity problems to people in the riparian countries. It is
expected that the livelihoods of farmers and other rural people in downstream
countries would be substantially impacted.

The increase in the water surface area will lead to
Irrigation by increasing the evaporation loss from the water reservoir. As the
result, water shortage will impact the water efficiency reached in the
agriculture by means of irrigation that has substantial economic impact. Also
diversion of water through irrigation further reduces the water supply for


TABLE I: Potential health
impacts of large dam project (Lerer and Scudder, 1999))




1995 Constitution of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia provides a
strong constitutional foundation for the introduction and effective
implementation of the EIA system. It stipulates that development programs and
projects in the country should not be conducted in a way that cause damage to
the environment. In addition, it provides the right of citizens to live in a
healthy and clean environment and the right to be consulted and to express
their views on the planning and implementation of plans, programs, strategies,
policies and projects that affect them. The Environmental Policy of 1997 set
out the guiding policy directions to be pursued pertaining to EIA. More
importantly, the Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation ? 299 of 2002 has
subjected development projects and public instruments in the country to pass
through an EIA process prior to commencement of operation. Even though EIA has
been introduced as a legal requirement, it is seldom enforced. That many
development initiatives and Overview of EIA in Ethiopia 59 investment projects
are causing huge damage to the forest and wildlife resources of the country
indicates the absence of effective EIA process. There are various gaps and
challenges that hinder the effective enforcement of EIA. EIA needs an extensive
human and resource capacity, which is lacking in the major implementing organs
of the EIA system. The EIA Proclamation is a framework law that needs specific
regulations, directives or guidelines. The impacts of constructing such a dam
were addressed from social, environmental, and economic aspects