By Tilaye Nigussi (Director, Forest Sector Transformation Unit, Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission)

Ethiopia has committed to ambitious targets to achieve the countries’ economic growth targets. This commitment is detailed in the country’s Growth and Transformation Plan II (GTP II), Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy (CRGE), Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC,) and National Forest Sector Development Program (NFSDP). Specifically, these include:


  • Increase forest cover to 20% by 2020 focusing on the improvement of existing natural forests and large-scale afforestation and reforestations activities;
  • Increase forestry’s contribution to GDP to 8% by 2020; and
  • Achieve 130 MMt CO2e reduction by 2030 to achieve 50% carbon sequestration and emissions reductions goals by reducing deforestation and forest degradation.


The Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission is working to transform the forest sector through the REDD+ Investment Program to deliver the NFSDP. The NFSDP aims to reduce deforestation and increase afforestation to catalyze GDP growth, generate employment, contribute to self-sufficiency in forest products and enhance ecosystem services and promote sustainable forest management. 


The commission has also established a Forest Sector Transformation Unit (FSTU) to make the following shifts necessary for transformational change:

§  Unlock and attract investment, through developing partnerships, supporting the establishment and development of large-scale conservation zones, exploring private-public partnerships;

§  Develop rigorous and effective execution capacity; and

§  Improve coordination and cross-sectoral collaboration by advocating for strong monitoring instruments and standards of accountability.


The Forest Sector Transformation Unit is currently staffed with a team composed of 11 staff who are highly qualified professionals and are helping the Commission to address the capacity and bottlenecks in the sector, develop new innovative and bankable program models, and promote public-private partnership in the forest sector as follows:


a)       Build and scale-up a pipeline of bankable transformative high-value innovative forestry programs/projects: 

  • Build on existing projects
  • Minimize potential risks and increase returns/benefits
  • Conducting risk assessment (economic feasibility and social impact assessment) including benefit/cost analysis
  • Strengthening partnership with the private sector and civil society
  •  Pilot and scale-up interventions based on success factors
  • Track results and report on outputs, outcomes and impact

b)     Capacitate the forest sector through targeted, hands-on support to achieve large-scale success, maintain momentum and generate buy-in;

  • Seconding project managers/analysts to existing programs to support core activities.
  • Conducting trainings and building project management tools (by identifying training needs, assessing management tools being used and identifying gaps).
  • Assess program progress and provide recommendations that could address key bottlenecks.

c)        Provide evidence-based policy analysis and recommendations to the Commission, partners and stakeholder.

Over the past several months, the FSTU has made considerable progress in introducing the REDD+ Investment Program, the concept of transformation, proposing coordination modalities ; developing recommendations for implementing the National Forest Sector Development Program (NFSDP) ; reviewing the linkages between the NFSDP and the REDD+ Strategy ; networking with various stakeholders at federal and regional level; providing strategic advice to the leadership of the Commission ; developing the case for linking forest development with education and research;  and analyzing issues hampering cross-sectoral coordination.

The above transformative model is adopted to make progress in realizing the ambition.


Strategy: The forest transformation agenda will be guided by the NFSDP and REDD+ Strategy which are strongly aligned. Bankable programs will be developed to finance and implement the strategy.

Operating Model: Innovation, prioritization, sequencing to progressively deliver at scale and providing evidence-based policy advice.

Structure: The transformation agenda will be facilitated by the FSTU, teams working in afforestation and reforestation interventions and implementing activities focusing on reducing deforestation and forest degradation.

Talent and skills: Recruitment and placement of qualified staff and providing continued refresher and new training based on identified skill gaps.

Process: Focus on quick wins, actively engage with stakeholders, promote internal and cross-sectoral coordination, facilitate change in mindset and operating culture.


Ethiopia’s ambitious commitment to sequester carbon (reduce emission) by transforming the forest sector needs strong internal and cross-sectoral coordinated action at various levels.  This requires the spirit and practice of coordination and communication between the various components of the Commission, private sector, donors, government and non – government agencies, both within the forest sector and externally.


For further details, please contact:

Tilaye Nigussie, Director


Tel. +251111704254

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