11 January 2014 News Roll

Tullow will soon drill the Shimela well

Tullow to start mobilization to Chew Bahir  

Tullow will soon drill the Shimela well

11 January 2014         Written by                          

The British Oil company that is prospecting for oil in Southern Ethiopia, Tullow Oil, is to start mobilization to Chew Bahir basin at the end of this month. 

Tullow’s drilling expedition drilled two exploration wells – Sabissa-1 and Tultule-1 – in the South Omo basin without much success. Now the drilling crew will soon start mobilization to Chew Bahir where they will drill the third well.

Tullow’s senior corporate affairs advisor, Sisay Zerihun, told The Reporter that the drilling crew will start mobilization to Chew Bahir at the end of this month. The well will be drilled in a locality called Shimela, some 600 kms south of Addis Ababa.

Sisay said access road and other facilities are being built adding that the drilling work will commence exploration in the second quarter of 2014.

“When we reported that Tultule-1 well will be abandoned as a dry well some people thought that we relinquished the whole block but that is not the case. We abandoned the well not the block,” Sisay said. Speaking of the expected result of Shimela well Sisay said, “You can not tell anything unless you drill and see what is in there.”

The South Omo Block is located in the northern portion of the Tertiary East African Rift trend where Tullow Oil and its partners have made five significant oil discoveries in Northern Kenya. The Company and its partners on the South Omo Block spudded the Sabissa-1 well in January 2013 and the well was drilled to a preliminary total depth of 1,810 meters. Hydrocarbon indications in sands beneath a thick claystone top seal have been recorded while drilling, but hole instability issues required the drilling of a sidetrack to comprehensively log and sample these zones of interest. The sidetrack was drilled to a total depth of 2,082 meters.

The well encountered reservoir quality sands, oil shows and heavy gas shows indicating an oil prone source rock and thick shale section which should provide a good seals for the numerous fault bounded traps identified in the basin. Only the lowermost sands appeared to be in trapping configuration at Sabissa-1. Based on the encouragement of the results of this well, the Company decided to drill the nearby Tultule prospect, which appears to be a horst-block structure four kilometers to the east of Sabisa-1. Unfortunately, the Tultule-1 well turned out to be dry and was abandoned.

The Company and its partners have completed a 1,174 kilometer 2D seismic program in the Chew Bahir Basin on the eastern portion of the South Omo Block.

This survey has identified a number of prospects and leads. The Shimela prospect has been identified as the first well in the area and is expected to spud in 2014. A second well location is also being considered for 2014.



Japan’s ‘top salesman’ Abe in town      


Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in June 2013   
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in June 2013         


– Scheduled to meet the Abebe Bikila’s family

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is set to visit Ethiopia on Monday (13th) for a two-day visit.

According to information The Reporter has received from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the Prime Minister is scheduled to visit the long-standing Japanese Garden in the national palace on Monday, where he will have a brief chat with President Mulatu Teshome (Ph.D.). The PM will also meet with his Ethiopian counterpart, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, for bilateral talks and the signing of an air service agreement.

The last visit by a Japanese leader to Africa took place in 2006, when then-Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi traveled to Ethiopia and Ghana.

On his second day in Ethiopia Prime Minister Abe is expected to address the African Union on policy issues. Unconfirmed reports suggest that one of the topics Abe will discuss with Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (Ph.D.), chairperson of the African Union Commission, is regarding the crisis in South Sudan.

Japan has been keen to assist the newborn and war-torn South Sudan ever since its independence from Sudan.

Apart from Ethiopia, Abe is also scheduled to visit Mozambique, where Japan has major natural-resource projects under way. The tour will then take Abe on to West Africa.

Abe is well known for “Abenomics” (a portmanteau of Abe and economics), which refers to his bold economic policies. Abenomics was the famous term coined after the Prime Minister introduced a plan in Japan to drastically increase government spending to stimulate the fiscal structure of the government, which although risky led to the country halting deflation (a total decrease in a price of goods and services) after a decade of struggle. Abenomics also looked at the way the central bank of Japan had been operating, and in order to regulate the status of deflation it was necessary for Abe to introduce monetary stimulus packages. The prime objective of the monetary policy designed in Abenomics aims to reduce the real interest rates, which economists tone-down for its negative impact in weakening the Yen.

The Prime Minister’s move to stimulate the economy both in the fiscal and monetary arenas opened the way for critics, while some commentators labeled the plan as the biggest economics experiment the modern world has ever witnessed. Prime Minister Abe also wished to kick start the fiscal policy of Japan in a way aimed at energizing economic growth through increased government consumption and public investment. He has already authorized the introduction of some USD 60 billion (5.3 trillion Yen) in public works spending in line with the 2013 budget. Yet the Abenomic policies remain delicate and open to fierce criticism.

In related news, Prime Minister Abe is poised to pay a visit to the family of Abebe Bikila, the legendary Ethiopian long-distance runner who claimed gold in the marathon at the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. Abebe won in a world record at the time, and is well remembered for his spectacular appearance at the summer games. His biography states that 40 days prior to the 1964 Olympics Abebe was struck down by pain during a training run near Addis. Not knowing the cause he tolerated the discomfort before collapsing. After being rushed to hospital Abebe was diagnosed with acute appendicitis and forced to undergo an operation. Soon after – even in his recovery time – he was jogging in the hospital yard at night.

Prime Minister Abe is the first high-level official to visit Abebe’s family, and it is already being seen as a highly symbolic tribute.



Chinese minister pledges support during official visit

Wang Yi and Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.)   

  Wang Yi and Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.)

The Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi started his official African visit in Ethiopia last Monday, before moving on to Djibouti, Ghana and Senegal.

The minister held talks with his Ethiopian counterpart, Tedros Adhanom (Ph.D.), in Addis Ababa on Monday as part of his tour of sub-Saharan Africa, and went on to visit the headquarters of the African Union (AU).

Chinese support to the AU and Ethiopia will continue, the minister confirmed, adding that China will extend technical support for the AU headquarter building until 2016.

The two foreign ministers discussed ways of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries, and also issues relating to peace and security in the region. Wang appreciated Ethiopia’s role in ensuring peace on the African continent. He said the Chinese government is committed to supporting all the efforts to resolve the current crisis in South Sudan.

Tedros stated that the relationship between China and Ethiopia is based on the South–South cooperation, and Chinese assistance is based on projects prioritized by the Ethiopian government.

Major development schemes are being carried out with support from China, which Tedros said has contributed to the successful implementation of Ethiopia’s Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP). He went on to highlight the support of the Chinese government in the economic integration of African countries.

The Chinese Foreign Minister also met and held talks in Addis with President Mulatu Teshome.



 Universal approval greets new Minister of Mines
Tolossa Shagi Moti    
Tolossa Shagi Moti
Written by                          

State minister of mines and former chief of the Ethiopian Geological Survey, Tolossa Shagi Moti, has been sworn in as the new Minister of Mines before the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR).

Upon the approval of the Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister presented Tolossa’s nomination for the House’s endorsement. He takes over from Sinknesh Ejigu, who resigned from her office last month and has reportedly been assigned to head Ethiopia’s diplomatic mission in one of the world’s emerging economies, Brazil. It would make Sinkensh the first Ethiopian ambassador to the South American nation.President of the Federal Supreme Court, Tegegn Meles, led the oath ceremony.

Before securing the endorsement Tolossa had served as the state minister of mines since 2011.

Government Whip of the House, Roman Gebreselassie, presented the credentials of the newly appointed minister, whose nomination was endorsed with an absolute majority vote.

After hearing Tolossa’s profile MPs praised the nominee during the discussion session.

According to the profile presented before the House, Tolossa has spent all his educational career and working experience in the geological and mining sectors.

He received his Bachelor of Science in geology from Addis Ababa University in 1982, and Master of Science in applied geology from the Indian Institute of Technology. Tolossa has also completed short-term training at home and abroad in various fields, including geo-science, management and mining resources development administration.

Unlike the conventional trend of the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)-led government, Tolossa’s nomination gained acceptance because of his educational background and rich working experience, which directly fits the requirement.

From 1983 to 2010 he worked for the Ethiopian Geological Survey, starting as a junior geologist and working up to the post of director general. He also served as a senior geo-technique expert at the Ministry of Agriculture for six years.

For twenty years Tolossa acquired rich experience in the mining sector, notably as an expert in geological survey mapping, mining exploration and geo-technique investigation. The government has prioritized the mining sector as an area for development.

After the EPRDF assumed power in 1991, Ezedin Ali, a mining engineer, was appointed as what was then the Minister of Mines and Energy. After Ezedin none of the following incumbents heading the Ministry of Mines had direct qualifications that meet the technical nature of the mining sector. Ambassador Mahmud Drir was a political science and journalism graduate, while Alemayehu Tegenu and Sinknesh Ejigu were graduates of hydrology and chemistry respectively.

Meanwhile, sources told The Reporter that the newly appointed minister is expected to face “serious” challenges with regards to high staff turnover. However, they indicated that Tolossa’s appointment is expected to be warmly received by the employees, as he knows the sector well and has a strong educational background.

The source also revealed that most experts have left the ministry for private mining companies in search of better pay.

Ed.’s Note: Kaleyesus Bekele has contributed to this story.



Former regional president gets 7 years for corruption

Yaregal Ayesheshum   

Yaregal Ayesheshum

By Bezawit Zegeye

Yaregal Ayesheshum, former president of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, was sentenced on Friday to seven years in prison and fined 20,000 birr at the Federal High Court 15th criminal bench in Lideta.  

Yaregal and his associates were handed sentences varying from six to 15 years, with fines ranging from 20,000 to 60,000 birr.

The charges brought against Yaregal and the other defendants by prosecutors of the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC) include abuse of power and corruption, and using their power to gain personal profit. The accusations were leveled two years ago and they were eventually found guilty on Nov 20, 2013, after a lengthy court case.

After the verdict prosecutors of the FEACC argued for aggravating circumstances, while the accused pleaded to the court for favorable terms. After hearing both sides the 15th criminal bench passed the sentences. The former president of Benishangul Gumuz was found guilty on the charge of abuse of power and corruption, which the FEACC had proved without doubt.

The second defendant, Habtamu Hika, the former speaker of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State council, was found guilty on three counts and sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, coupled with a 45,000 birr fine.

Assefa Gebeyehu, the third defendant, was also found guilty on three counts, and he received a 15 year jail term and 60,000 birr fine. In addition the 15th criminal bench found Gedion Demeke, owner of Gedion Demeke Consultancy, guilty and sentenced him to 14 years imprisonment together with a 60,000 birr fine. The court also sentenced Gezahegn Adregneh, manager of Gade Construction, and Mekebeb Moges, manager of Alkan Construction, who were both found guilty on one count and given six year jail terms with fines of 25,000 birr each.

The FEACC failed in the case against the seventh defendant, Hailegabriel Hika, brother of Habtamu, who was acquitted by the court.



Ethiopia established WTO-TBT  National Enquiry Point

Ethiopia has established the WTO-TBT (Technical Barriers to Trade) National Enquiry Point under the Ethiopian Standards Authority, The Ethiopian Herald reported.

Establishment of central authorities, such the the National Enquiry Point, facilitating free trade is one of the prerequisites of joining the global trading body.

According to Geremew Ayalew, Trade Relations and Negotiations Director at the Ministry of Trade, the World Trade Organization’s principle of transparency requires the establishment of Enquiry Points and Notification Authorities (NA).

In addition to the Enquiry Point, Ethiopia would also establish Notification Authority under the Ministry of Trade in the future, Geremew said.

“The WTO-TBT and WTP SPS (Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures) agreements are the key multilateral instruments put in place to deal with standards related non-tariff barriers to trade”, Dr. Oswald Chinyamakobvu, standards consultant said at a stakeholders meeting on the Enquiry Point yesterday.

Dr. Chinyamakobvu also said, the WTO-TBT agreement seeks to ensure that technical regulations and standards, as well as testing and certification procedure, do not create unnecessary trade barriers.

The National Enquiry Point will accept trade related queries from WTO member states about Ethiopia’s products. It will also provide local exporters with information relating to compliance requirements when exporting their products, according to Etsegenet Tasew, Acting Documentation and Publication officer of the Enquiry Point.



Diplomats, experts seek improved ties between Nigeria, Ethiopia

DIPLOMATS and experts in international relations from Nigeria and Ethiopia have jointly called for expanding of frontiers of cooperation between the governments, agencies and peoples of the two countries.

Underscoring the need for improved relations between the two countries, speakers during the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) and Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development in Lagos on Tuesday called for strengthening of diplomatic cooperation to include economy, trade and investment, research and education, military as well as abolition of visa fees.

Speaking at the ceremony, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Nigeria, Abdo Alli, noted that the relations between Nigeria and his country are strategic and mutual since both countries enjoyed shared experience running into many decades.

Alli claimed that both countries are the two most populous nations in Africa with many ethnic nationalities and Federal system of government.

He also traced relations between the two nations to formation of Organisation of African Union (OAU), decolonisation of the continent, promotion of peace and security.

The envoy said he was equally looking forward to improved economic, investment and other relations between the two countries.

To show that the future is great, Alli mentioned the increase in cargo and passenger flights from Lagos and Abuja to Addis Ababa and from Addis Ababa back to the Nigerian capital and commercial centre.

He said more Nigerians are investing in Ethiopian economy while others are visiting in search of investment opportunities.

According to him, this would soon bring the chambers of commerce in the two countries together in order to promote trade and investments.

He also expressed his readiness to strengthen parliamentary ties, educational researches and bridge information gaps.

“We are in the right track and I hope we will in the future achieve more,” he said.

Responding Director-General of NIIA, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa, while tracing the processes leading to the event, thanked the envoy for bringing the two bodies together.

He hoped that the signing of the MoU would be the beginning of leading the way for other African countries to move away from dependency on developed countries improve people-to-people and government-to-government cooperation.

He also promised that the MoU would not gather dusts but work effectively and efficiently as aspired by the two research institutes.

But the Executive Director, Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development, Mr. Sebehat Negga, in his remark, blamed African elites for the problems bedeviling the continent.

Saying that Africa should not blame developed countries for its problems, he reasoned that most of the elites were mystified after independence and abandoned the needs of their people.

He lamented that Africa is appealing to China to come to Africa “and not China begging Africa to come to China.”

“If Africa is to reshape itself, overcome its problems, we have to do our homework, cooperate on equal basis, according to each others’ values,” Negga said.

Meanwhile, A professor of International Law, Akin Oyebode, at the event, appealed to Ethiopia and Nigeria to abolish visa fees.

Oyebode reasoned that the time has come for Africa to stop going about begging developed countries for help.

He took an exemption to China building and equipping a secretariat for African Union (AU). According to him, Nigeria alone can build such a secretariat for AU.

He hoped the MoU would work to facilitate the strengthening of research cooperation between the two institutes.

A retired Nigerian ambassador, Tayo Akinsulire, also supported Oyebode in this regard, calling for increase in frontiers of cooperation.



Africa’s Economic Blocs Set To Tackle Trade Barriers

VENTURES AFRICA – In a move that that could eradicate trade barriers and bolster earnings of each partaking country, three African economic blocs are set to form a larger economic market which will include 26 countries in Eastern and Southern Africa, it emerged this week.

“Considerable progress has been made and negotiations have intensified to ensure that we clinch the Tripartite Free Trade Agreement (TFTA) by June 2014,” Dr Richard Sezibera, the chair of the Tripartite Task Force, was quoted as saying on AllAfrica.com.

He said the last three-way gathering was held late last year in Arusha, Tanzania.

The TFTA is a free trade treaty signed by three African economic communities, which include COMESA, EAC and SADC. It has a total of 600 million people and a $1 trillion GDP.

It is believed that COMESA, EAC and SADC would form the single free trade area in the next two years to bolster intra-regional trade.

According to economic experts, it could quicken the regions’ economic growth.

This agreement could also develop the region’s infrastructure which could also boost the economies of individual countries.

It is understood that elimination of trade walls such as import and export fees would permit countries to improve their revenues and enter new markets while paying towards their national advancement.



Ethiopian Consul General in Guangzhou meets with official of the Province

Melaku Legesse met with Chen Yuehua, Deputy Director General of The Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Guangdong Province, on January 8, 2014 and discussed on issues of mutual importance. 

Chen briefed the Consul on the economic performance of Guangdong province and achievements in different economic sectors particularly in trade and in attracting FDI.

Chen noted with satisfaction that the annual export of the province has exceeded a trillion USD last year.

Melaku explained the economic transformation taking place in Ethiopia and the progress on the implementation of the Growth and Transformation Plan of the Ethiopian Government.
The Consul expressed gratitude for the continued support of the Department of Foreign Trade and Economic Cooperation of Guangdong Province and reiterated his confidence that the cooperation with the Department will continue to be further strengthened particularly in encouraging Chinese businessmen and companies to invest in Ethiopia.

Chen assured the Consul that the cooperation will continue to strengthen and expand.

Melaku Legesse has resumed his duties as the Consul General of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Guangzhou in December 2013.



Arjo-Didesa irrigation project –  Will it escape the summer rain?

 The Arjo-Didesa dam under construction

“The dry season in this area lasts only up to four months. Considering the fact that the rainy season is drawing nearer, our construction work is lagging behind schedule. Therefore, we need to compensate for the time wasted so far by increasing our efforts at least by three fold; otherwise, it will be almost impossible for us to finish the work according to schedule,” said an expert during the visit of Arjo Didesa sugar development project last week expressing his concern over the delay in the construction work of the dam.

He added, “If we cannot work hard to finish the water bed of the dam and divert the river in the coming four months, the summer rain will demolish all our efforts.”

The expert told the visiting delegation that if major construction works of the dam could not be completed before the onset of the rainy season damages would be high. The expert also urged all working force on the project to demonstrate commitment and give due attention to the project so that the basic construction work would be completed in four to five months period.

So far the excavation work on the right and left side of the dam has been completed. The project is also expected to start constructing the water bed of the dam soon. Oromia Water Works Bureau is in charge of managing the project, while a Chinese Constructor is undertaking the construction work.

The construction work involves digging the ground on which the water lies 40 meters deep, and blocking any possible leakage of underground water to the upper surface of the dam’s water bed. Preventing the underground water leakage to the dam surface is very difficult and it requires building a thick concrete bed which is critical for the strength of the dam.

Among the various activities to be accomplished before the onset of the summer season include, building the water bed and 22-meter long channel which will enable to reduce the volume of water while constructing the main dam as well as laying down a concrete canal that transport the diverted water. Arjo Didesa Suger cane Irrigation Development project is one of the projects set to meet the goal in the sugar industry development.

The construction of this dam is, however, is lagging behind compared to that of any other government sugar development projects in the country.

During the visit it was observed that the workers were putting every effort to complete the major construction work before the coming rainy season interrupts it. Unless the dam is completed before the onset of the rainy season damages will be high as a result of the rain. Addis Zemen asked the experts what caused the delay of the construction work over the past two years.

According to the Expert, the western part of Ethiopia receives a longer period of rainy season than any other part of the country, which is one factor that contributed to the delay of construction. Construction work was scheduled to be launched last September but for the rainy season lasted until the month of November, it was not convenient to undertake construction work. The experts also pointed out that the delay in budget allocation by the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development also contributed to the delay in the construction work.

Moreover, shortage of experts and machinery were also among the factors that held back the pace of the construction work particularly in the early days of the project.

As experts explained during the visit to the project, now the project implementers plan to increase the construction work threefold in order to make up for the time wasted in the past. If construction work is to take place at the stated magnitude, it will be possible to complete 80 per cent of the entire project work before the rainy season.

The Didesa Arjo project will have a total of four main dams. When it is completed, the project will become one of the few Mega Sugar projects in country. Out of the 80 thousand hectare of land planned to be irrigated by the end of the project, around 50 thousand hectare will be utilized for sugarcane plantation.

Meanwhile the remaining 30 per cent of the land will be irrigated by farmers in the surrounding areas. According to the project manager, Mengestu Mekuria, although the construction of the dam which was launched in early 2003, only 15 per cent of the construction work has so far been completed.

The manager also noted that the performance of the construction work was by far better this year compared to that of the previous years.

For the project to be realized based on schedule, contractors, consultants and other stakeholders will have to work hard in collaboration. At present there is no significant shortage of skilled man power and machinery, according to the project manger. “There is no problem in terms of skilled man power, however, the site is not suitable for construction work, ”said Mengestu.

He further said Didesa river is a big river that the volume of water could cover the whole surrounding environment of the project during the summer season. The manager also indicated that the project has enough machinery that can meet the existing project requirements.

The project activities are being supervised by the Natural Resource Development and Environmental Affairs standing committee of the House of People Representatives.

Deputy Chairperson of the standing committee, Dr. Gemechu Dinagde said the project was being implemented at a faster pace when compared with that of previous years. “We have seen many improvements signaling changes in the implementation of the project,” said Dr. Gemchu appreciating the commitment demonstrated by the employees in bringing such improvements.

The standing committee also evaluated the project performance so far which according to the chair showed commendable progress. The committee also evaluates all other sugar projects in the country.

In the last few years many dam projects in various parts of the country were alleged for delay in construction. Therefore, the standing committee’s recommendations were vital to the improvements in all the projects. To enable all the sugar projects to meet schedule set in the Growth and Transformation Plan, the close follow up and supervision of the standing committee will have a critical role.

One of the major challenges in the implementation of all mega sugar projects is the nature of environment. One of the issues committee assessed during the supervision is whether the project is environment friendly or not. The project should have little or no impact on the environment so that it won’t contradict the green development strategy set in GTP.

The Deputy Chair of the Standing Committee also noted that the Arjo Didesa Sugar development project will have a paramount significance to the surrounding community as the Didesa river crosses three Oromia zones. The standing committee does also evaluate whether the project is implemented in such a way that employment creation opportunity is well considered in the project.

Water Irrigation and Energy Minister, Alemayehu Tegenu on his part called for the participation of all actors to finish the project within the shortest time possible before the dry season ends. The Minister said the ministry is committed to provide support to the project as necessary.

The fact that Didesa river crosses Jima, Illibabur and eastern Wolega zones, gives an opportunity for the project to receive support from the federal and regional government as well as zonal administrations.

The Arjo Didesa dam will be 47 meters high and 502 meters wide. The volume of water in the dam is estimated to be around two billion cubic meters. The cost of the project is estimated to be 1.3 billion birr.



Biodiversity panel gives indigenous knowledge core role

Indigenous and local knowledge is set to play a major role in biodiversity and ecosystem management, a meeting of an intergovernmental body has heard.

At its second meeting – held in Antalya in Turkey, last month (9-14 December) – the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity & Ecosystem Services (IPBES) decided to extend its focused assessments of such knowledge over the full five years of its work programme.

In addition, the platform will provide funding and technical support to help integrate indigenous knowledge into the assessments.

IPBES was established in April 2012 with a mandate to assess the state of the world’s biodiversity and ecosystems, and help policymakers make well-informed decisions. A founding principle is to integrate indigenous and local knowledge into conservation processes.

“What has been done – and what is rather unique – is that IPBES decided at Antalya to firmly place indigenous and local knowledge within its work programme. And it has not been marginalised within it, but feeds into all the different components of the work programme,” says Douglas Nakashima, head of the Local and Indigenous Knowledge Systems programme at UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Including indigenous and local knowledge holders in decision-making processes will ensure that those decisions are more appropriate for their communities and their sustainable use of resources, says Nakashima.

“If decisions about how biodiversity should be managed are in line with the aspirations, priorities and understanding of local communities, we would hope for an improved biodiversity management process,” he adds.

An ‘innovative endeavour’

Anne Larigauderie, head of the IPBES Secretariat, says that engaging indigenous communities early on so they can shape its work is an “innovative endeavour” that no organisation has attempted before.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change did not do this, for example. Of course, in the case of biodiversity, indigenous and traditional knowledge is even more relevant because of the local dimensions,” she says.

At the Antalya meeting, IPBES also decided on two fast-track assessments to be completed this year. One will be on pollination and its relationship to food security, the other will review the tools available to predict future changes to biodiversity and ecosystem services based on various social and economic scenarios.

In addition, the indigenous people at the meeting formed a group called the International Indigenous Forum on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IIFBES).

This new forum is intended to allow indigenous and local knowledge holders to coordinate contributions to the work programme by reaching out to existing organisations and facilitating access to IPBES structures and activities, says Joji Cariño, director of the Forest Peoples Programme, an NGO that advocates forest management based on indigenous knowledge.

“For example, the Indigenous Partnership for Agrobiodiversity and Food Sovereignty, which has an Indigenous Peoples’ Pollinators Initiative in India, Kenya and Ethiopia, was linked to IPBES, to facilitate its contributions to the IPBES fast-track assessment on pollination and pollinators associated with food production,” she adds.

At the Antalya meeting, IPBES also decided to develop a capacity building programme, including the provision of fellowships and training programmes, designed to ensure that scientists from all regions of the world are engaged at an equal level. The training and fellowships will be targeted at developing world scientists, including young researchers.

The capacity building plans will “allow input from everyone, not only northern countries where most of the funding resources are, but not the biodiversity itself”, says Larigauderie.

“One important principle is that capacity building activities will not be run independently of the work programme, but will form an integral part of the core implementation of IPBES,” she adds.

Nakashima tells SciDev.Net that the platform’s real challenge will be whether it can use its resources and aspiration to produce concrete results.

And Cariño says: “If successful, this will be a hallmark achievement of IPBES to be truly multidisciplinary, embracing knowledge diversity.”



Related –


–     10 January 2014 News Round Up

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