Ethiopia has a high-level strategy to pursue agriculture-based industrialisation with a goal of achieving middle income country status by 2025 with no net increase in carbon emissions. As an economy currently heavily dependent on agriculture and forest resources, and with a historical legacy of widespread, severe environmental degradation, environmental issues are a significant obstacle to the successful achievement of this goal.
The historical and ongoing destruction and degradation of the soil and forest resources on which this development strategy depends represents a major policy and practical challenge. With the exception of climate change, the major environmental issues affecting Ethiopia are soil erosion and land degradation, deforestation and forest degradation, water scarcity, biodiversity loss, and various types of pollution. Whilst environmental issues are often considered separately, they are closely interlinked and studies increasingly attempt to consider them in an integrated manner, challenging as this is for researchers.
Analysis of the research literature demonstrates unequivocally that environmental degradation is widespread and severe in Ethiopia. In particular, the impacts of agriculture and deforestation – especially on soils – have been severe and increase the vulnerability of many people to food and water insecurity. A range of other environmental issues also present significant –and in many cases increasing – challenges for policy and management. These issues, their links to the Ethiopian economy, and their implications for economic growth, are the subject of this rapid, desk-based study.
Daley, B. Environmental issues in Ethiopia and links to the Ethiopian economy. Evidence on Demand, UK (2015) iii, 28 p