National Dialogue on Unity and Diversity

May 17, 2018

A national consultative forum has brought together participants from across the country for a multi-stakeholder dialogue on diversity and national unity within Ethiopia’s federal system.

The one-day consultation was organized by the Prime Minister’s Office Democratic System Building Center (PMO-DC) and UNDP Ethiopia, who are partnering to identify key areas of interventions to address the root causes of public discontent and to build understanding and consensus among major stakeholders as well as the wider public.

UNDP’s support for the intervention is couched within the 2030 Agenda that sets out a global vision for sustainable development, and specifically Goal 16, which seeks to “promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice” to ‘ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels.’

The forum attracted passionate dialogue in an attempt to build consensus around concepts of identity linked to ‘nations, nationalities and peoples’ on the one hand and strengthening the vision for a common national unity.

Ethiopia's new Speaker of the House of People's Representative, HE Muferiat Kamil, opened the dialogue forum with the encouraging words that "there is hope in the country".

The dialogue initiatives are expected to act as a process of several milestones to build long-term stakeholder’s commitment with the consultations helping influence attitudes, policies and practices. 

Closing the forum, Minister Degefe Bula, currently the Director General for Federal Justice and Law Research and Training Institute, noted that the government welcomed the participants' frank dialogue and input, including on the possibility of addressing any need for changes in the constitution.

UNDP recently worked with the government and partners to launch a five-year Governance and Democratic Participation Programme for Ethiopia aligned to the current national Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) as well as the SDGs. The programme brings together partners to support national transformation through a focus on priority areas such as facilitating civic engagement and dialogue, strengthening democratic institutions, promoting peace and social cohesion, and strengthening accountability and integrity systems. Partnership financing for the programme has so far come from the Swedish International Development Cooperation and Austrian Development Agency.  

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