In the beginning of March 2017, HoA-REC&N hosted and co-organized the African Landscapes Dialogue (ALD), which brought together more than 130 participants from various regions of the world. The dialogue aimed at sharing knowledge and information about integrated landscape management, while seeking to advance the implementation of the African Landscapes Action Plan. It was a great pleasure for HoA-REC&N to host and co-organize such an important event.
The ALD was particularly important for HoA-REC&N for two reasons. HoA-REC&N promotes cooperation and networking among non-governmental organizations, community based organizations, research institutions, and universities. HoA-REC&N aims to facilitate experience exchanges between countries in the Horn of Africa and make use of the underutilized environmental knowledge in the region. Therefore, the dialogue would enable HoA-REC&N to better coordinate efforts and build synergies with regional and multi-country initiatives.
Secondly, the landscape focus of the dialogue aligned perfectly with the HoA-REC&N’s strategy to promote environmental management and governance. In Ethiopia, HoA-REC&N has carried out many projects by using an integrated landscape approach in several landscapes: Addis Ababa Urban Landscape, Central Rift Valley Landscape, and Gambella-Omo (southwest) Landscape. The Horn of Africa Climate Change Programme (HoA-CCP) – one of HoAREC&N’s signature programmes – uses a landscape approach to promote climate-smart, sustainable, and inclusive development in six landscapes in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
I also would like to note that the HoA-REC&N Headquarters building has received the Gold level of LEED certification from the US Green Building Council. The HoA-REC&N Headquarters is the first building in Ethiopia to receive this great honour. The work to certify the building started in February of 2013 through an initiative of Dr. Araya Asfaw. LEED certification is the most widely used green building standard, and I am certain this great honour will serve as inspiration to others.
Negussie Retta, PhD