ADDIS ABABA – The American Academy of Achievement and the Global Hope Coalition recognized Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed with an ‘Outstanding African Leadership Award’ for his Green Legacy Initiative.
The PM received the award on Tuesday at a special event under the theme “Africa: The Urgency of a Global Mobilization” in Washington DC.
In his acceptance speech, Abiy appreciated the Academy of Achievement for extending a hand of friendship to the African continent and for recognizing Ethiopia’s Green Legacy initiative as an African success story.
“Indeed, our continent is filled with many success stories – past, present, and future. The perspective that African countries are net producers of problems that always require external assistance is an outdated one,” he said. “Therefore, great appreciation to the organizers for lighting a torch on the continent’s net production of solutions.”
PM Aby’s Green Legacy Initiative was launched in June 2019 in a bid to curb the effects of climate change and deforestation in Ethiopia. The initiative had a target to plant 20 billion seedlings during the main June-August rainy season through public mobilization.
“When in 2019 we launched the Green Legacy initiative as a proudly African nation and as a government navigating turbulent times, Ethiopians from corner to corner rose up armed with seedlings to cover the nation green,” the PM said.
“Four years into the implementation of the Green Legacy Initiative,” he continued, “we have mobilized 25 million Ethiopians across the nation to plant 25 billion seedlings, equivalent to 250 seedlings per Ethiopian. The impact could be equated to removing 64 million gasoline-powered cars from the roads for a whole year.”
Today, the PM said Ethiopia’s Green Legacy Initiative “is the most extensive afforestation and reforestation program next to the Amazon.”
Plans to build on the success
Besides the tree planting efforts, Abiy mentioned that his country has also put over 700,000 hectares of existing biodiversity and carbon-rich natural forests under a sustainable participatory forest management scheme.
By 2022, the Green Legacy initiative has fostered a flourishing national green culture, tripling the number of seedling nurseries to more than 121,000; creating more than 750,000 jobs mostly for women and youth; and generating 1.3 billion Ethiopian Birr in income, according to the PM.
“Our Green Legacy initiative will certainly contribute towards removing the equivalent of hundreds of millions of tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce deforestation. This implies Ethiopia’s significant contribution to global climate change mitigation efforts.
Abiy also announced a plan to build on the Green Inativice success.
“Ethiopia plans to restore an additional 22 million hectares of degraded land by 2030. We are also developing a green fund and will pursue carbon trading schemes to help raise additional financing,” he said.
“As a nation, we may and we do have differences in the way we interpret the past and the way we envision the future — but we are united in the hope we have for our children and our planet.”
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