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Implementing Human-Rights-Related Environmental Obligations in Ethiopia

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Human Rights and the Environment under African Union Law

Abstract

Many African countries have hitherto incorporated environmental rights recognized under international standards. This chapter analyzes the coverage of environmental rights in the Ethiopian environmental legal regime. Despite the different challenges that compromise the realization of these rights, this chapter examines only the legislative and institutional drawbacks. The finding shows the major environmental rights common in many jurisdictions and international mechanisms: the right to a clean and healthy environment, the right to information, the right to public participation, and the right to access to justice are generously recognized in the 1995 Constitution of Ethiopia and the 1997 Environmental Policy as well as in some relevant proclamations and a few regulations. However, the realization of the rights suffers from lack of adequate framework laws and standards. Moreover, institutions working in the environmental protection sector lack coordination, adequate human resource, and technological infrastructure.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Principle one of the Declaration: ‘Man has the fundamental right to freedom, equality and adequate conditions of life, in an environment of a quality that permits a life of dignity and well-being, and he bears a solemn responsibility to protect and improve the environment for present and future generations. In this respect, policies promoting or perpetuating apartheid, racial segregation, discrimination, colonial and other forms of oppression and foreign domination stand condemned and must be eliminated.’

  2. 2.

    Günther Handl, ‘Declaration of the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (Stockholm Declaration), 1972, and the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, 1992’ (United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law 2012) http://legal.un.org/avl/pdf/ha/dunche/dunche_e.pdf, accessed 5 July 2019.

  3. 3.

    Donal Worster, ‘The Vulnerable Earth: Towards a Planetary History’ in Donal Worster (ed) The Ends of the Earth (Cambridge University Press 1989) 3.

  4. 4.

    United Nations Environment Programme, Environmental Rule of Law: First Global Report (United Nations Environmental Program 2019). https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/27279/Environmental_rule_of_law.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y, accessed 4 July 2019.

  5. 5.

    Jan Glazewski, Environmental Law in South Africa (Butterworths 2000) 4.

  6. 6.

    Handl (note 2 as above).

  7. 7.

    Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis, ‘Introduction’ in Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis (eds) The Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law in Africa (Pretoria University Law Press 2012) xxix.

  8. 8.

    Mekete Bekele, ‘The Scope of Citizens’ Environmental Rights Protection under Ethiopian Law’ in Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis (eds) The Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law in Africa (Pretoria University Press 2012) 113.

  9. 9.

    Bugalo Maripe, ‘Development and Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law: The Case of Botswana’ in Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis (eds) The Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law in Africa (Pretoria University Press 2012) 63.

  10. 10.

    Oliver Fuo and Sama Semie, ‘Cameroon’s Environmental Framework Law and the Balancing of Interests in Socio-Economic Development’ in Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis (eds) The Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law in Africa (2012) 75.

  11. 11.

    Kihangi Kennedy, ‘The environmental Law Framework of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Balancing of Interests’ in Michael Faure & Willmien Plessis (eds) The Balancing of Interests in Environmental Law in Africa (Pretoria University Press 2012) 95.

  12. 12.

    United Nations Environment Programme (note 4 as above).

  13. 13.

    Dinah Shelton and Alexandre Kiss, Judicial Handbook of Environmental Law (United Nations Environmental Program 2005) xix.

  14. 14.

    Friends of the Earth International, ‘Our Environment, Our Rights: Standing up for People and the Planet’ (Issue 106 August 2004) https://www.foei.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/our-environment-our-rights.pdf accessed 03 July 2019.

  15. 15.

    James Krueger, Aman Gebru, and Inku Asnake, ‘Environmental Permitting in Ethiopia: No Restraint on “Unstoppable Growth?”’ 1(1) Haramaya Law Review (2012)73.

  16. 16.

    United Nations Environment Program (note 4 as above).

  17. 17.

    The 1995 FDRE Constitution (Proclamation 1 of 1995) under sec 44.

  18. 18.

    The 1997 Environment Policy under sec 2.3(a), hereafter the Policy.

  19. 19.

    Labor Law Proclamation 377 of 2003 under secs 12(4) and 92.

  20. 20.

    Federal Civil Servants Proclamation 515 of 2007 under sec 48.

  21. 21.

    Prevention of Industrial Pollution Council of Ministers Regulations 159 of 2008 under sec 11.

  22. 22.

    Sec 29(2).

  23. 23.

    Sec 37(1).

  24. 24.

    Environmental Pollution Control Proclamation 300 of 2002 under sec 11(1) says, ‘everyone’ has the right to environmental standing without necessarily asserting a vested interest. Moreover, Prevention of Industrial Pollution Council of Ministers Regulations 159 of 2008 under sec 27 lays down the legal regime on the environmental standing.

  25. 25.

    Rose Mwebaza, Philip Njuguna Mwanika & Wondowossen Sintayehu, Environmental Crimes in Ethiopia’ (July 2009 Situation Report) 10, available at http://globalinitiative.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/ethz-environmental-crime-ethiopia.pdf accessed 03 March 2017.

  26. 26.

    The only or one of few court cases is the following: According to the Constitution, ‘any person’ or ‘everyone’, including NGOs and environmentalists, have the right to environmental standing. However, the practicality of the rights given by the FDRE Constitution and Proclamation 300/2002 are being tested in court even though infrequently. A famous case for NGOs is Action Professionals’ Association for the People (APAP) vs. Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). This was the case where APAP sued EPA for the latter’s failure to stop industries (leather industries) from polluting rivers and causing suffering to residents. First APAP requested for an administrative remedy at EPA, but the latter replied it is trying its best but could not stop since there was no then an ambient environmental standard. APAP took the case to First Instance Court which ruled that EPA cannot be sued for it is not the polluter. APAP took the case again to Federal High Court which gave similar decision: sec 11(2) of the Proclamation cannot apply to EPA since it is not polluter.

  27. 27.

    Secs 43(4), 89(6), and (7).

  28. 28.

    Sec 4.2.

  29. 29.

    Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation 299 of 2002 under sec 15.

  30. 30.

    Susannah Fisher, ‘Low Carbon Resilient Development in the Least Developed Countries’. (IIED Issue Paper 2013) http://pubs.iied.org/pdfs/10049IIED.pdf. Accessed 12 August 2019.

  31. 31.

    Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, ‘Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) 2010/11–2014/15’. (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development 2010).

  32. 32.

    Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, ‘Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) 2015/16–2019/20’. (Ministry of Finance and Economic Development 2016).

  33. 33.

    Mahlet Eyasu, ‘Ethiopia: Taking Climate Change Issues Seriously’ (Climate Action Network International 15 June 2011) http://www.climatenetwork.org/can-blog/ethiopia-taking-climate-change-issues-seriously 23 November 2019.

  34. 34.

    Desalegn Amsalu, ‘Environmental Rights in Ethiopia: Shifting from Theory to Practical Realization’ (2018)9 Journal of Sustainable Development Law and Policy 2, 48−66. https://www.ajol.info/index.php/jsdlp/article/view/181258/170652 accessed 20 June 2019; Mwebaza (as in 25 above).

  35. 35.

    Lulit Mitik, Solomon Lemma, & Befekadu Behuta, ‘Public Spending, ADLI, and Alternative Scenarios for Ethiopia: A Dynamic CGE Framework Analysis’ (8th PEP General Meeting June 2010).

  36. 36.

    Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia (as in 31 above).

  37. 37.

    Haftu Gebreegziabher, ‘Ethiopia: Chemical, Construction Input Industries Begin Production’ The Ethiopian Herald (Addis Ababa, 29 July 2016).

  38. 38.

    Chemical and Construction Inputs Industry Development Institute, ‘The Institute Holds Consultation with Investors and Stakeholders in the Sector’ (in Amharic). https://www.facebook.com/Chemical-and-Construction-Inputs-Industry-Development-Institute-280553259018222/, accessed October 9, 2019.

  39. 39.

    MoARD, ‘Official Report of the Africa Stockpiles program’ (MoARD 2007).

  40. 40.

    Ethiopia acceded ‘Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal’ in 2000, and ‘Rotterdam Convention on the Prior Informed Consent Procedure for Certain Hazardous Chemicals and Pesticides in International Trade’ in 2003.

  41. 41.

    See for example Amsalu (as in 34 above) and Maripe (as in 9 above).

  42. 42.

    Proclamation No. 1090 of 2018 ‘Hazardous Waste Management and Disposal Control Proclamation’.

  43. 43.

    Proclamation Number 513 of 2007 ‘Solid Waste Management Proclamation’.

  44. 44.

    Stephen Hamilton and Till Requate, ‘Emissions Standards and Ambient Environmental Quality Standards in Stochastic Receiving Media’ (2010) JEL Classification: D62; Q38; Q50. Available at: https://arefiles.ucdavis.edu/uploads/filer_public/2014/03/27/hamilton-emissions-standards.pdf accessed 28 September 2016.

  45. 45.

    Proclamation 300 of 2000.

  46. 46.

    See for example Article 8(2) and Article 10 of Proclamation 300/2000 (Environmental Pollution Control Proclamation) and Article 10 of Regulations No. 159/2008 (Prevention of Industrial Pollution Regulations).

  47. 47.

    See for example, Article 519 of the 2004 Criminal Code of Ethiopia.

  48. 48.

    Article 12 (1(a)) and 1(b) of Proclamation 300/2002.

  49. 49.

    Robert Benjaminson, Derebew Shenkute, Garrett Torgerson, Getaneh Gebre, and Rosemary Gallavan, ‘The Effect of gasoline-fueled Vehicle Exhaust Emissions on Air pollution in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’ (V-SAFE 2012) file:///C:/Users/3020/Downloads/The%20Effect%20of%20Gasoline-Fueled.pdf accessed 05 July 2019.

  50. 50.

    World Bank, ‘World Development Indicators’ The World Bank (2015), http://documents.worldbank.org/cuarted/en/795941468338533334/world-development-indicators-2015 accessed 12 March 2015.

  51. 51.

    See Addis Ababa City Government Transport Policy issued in 2011 at 8.

  52. 52.

    Ibid. at 14.

  53. 53.

    https://www.2merkato.com/news/alerts/5294-ethiopia-has-more-than-831000-vehicles-on-its-streets accessed 5 July 2019.

  54. 54.

    Ibid. at 153.

  55. 55.

    See proclamation No. 295/2002.

  56. 56.

    Mellesse Damtie and Mesfin Bayou, ‘Overview of Environmental Impact Assessment in Ethiopia: Gaps and Challenges’, (MELCA Mahiber 2008). Available at http://www.melca-ethiopia.org/EIA.html, accessed 5 September 2017.

  57. 57.

    Dominik Ruffeis, Willibald Loiskandl, Seleshi Bekele Awulachew and Eline Boelee, ‘Evaluation of the Environmental Policy and Impact Assessment Process in Ethiopia’ 28(1) Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal (2010) 29–40.

  58. 58.

    Proclamation No. 295 of 2002 A Proclamation to Provide for the Establishment of Environmental Protection Organs.

  59. 59.

    Proclamation No. 916 of 2015 ‘A Proclamation to Provide for the Definition of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’.

  60. 60.

    Proclamation No. 1097 of 2018 ‘Definition of Powers and Duties of the Executive Organs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Proclamation’.

  61. 61.

    Ministry of Finance and Economic Development (MOFED), ‘Ethiopia: Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction Program’ (Addis Ababa 2002).

  62. 62.

    Ibid.

  63. 63.

    For a study of environmental non-governmental organizations in Ethiopia, see Matthew Cheever, Katie Graichen, Daniel Homeier, Jillian Howell, Olivia Kefauver, and Tom Kimball, ‘Environmental Policy Review: Key Issues in Ethiopia’. (Colby College Environmental Policy Group 2011). http://web.colby.edu/eastafricaupdate/files/2012/01/Environmental-Policy-Review-2011_color_small.pdf accessed 12 November 2012.

  64. 64.

    Article 2.3(p) and (s) of the Policy.

  65. 65.

    Principle 4 of the Rio Declaration and Principle 13 of the Stockholm declaration also incorporate this principle.

  66. 66.

    Ethiopia Water Sector Policy 2001.

  67. 67.

    Proclamation 686/2010 Commercial Licensing and Registration Proclamation.

  68. 68.

    Ruffeis (as in 56 above).

  69. 69.

    Investment Proclamation No. 769/2012, Proclamation No. 769/2012, Official Gazette No. 63, 17 September 2012.

  70. 70.

    The Basel Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and Their Disposal, usually known as the Basel Convention, is an international treaty intended to reduce transboundary movements of waste in general, and specifically to prevent transfer of hazardous waste from developed to less developed countries. The Convention is also intended to minimize the amount and toxicity of wastes generation at the source, and to extend assistance to least developed countries in management of hazardous and other wastes they generate (see the Convention).

  71. 71.

    At 2(3)(e) and 4(8) (d & g).

  72. 72.

    Principle 7 of the Rio Declaration.

  73. 73.

    See Article 9 of Proclamation 299/2002 “Environmental Impact Assessment Proclamation”.

  74. 74.

    Expert informant, Addis Ababa Environment Protection Authority, 12 January 2017.

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Amsalu, D. (2020). Implementing Human-Rights-Related Environmental Obligations in Ethiopia. In: Addaney, M., Oluborode Jegede, A. (eds) Human Rights and the Environment under African Union Law. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-46523-0_11

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