Deforestation remains a serious challenge for the global climate, for the livelihood of vulnerable people and for the existence of many plants and animals. In order to do something about deforestation we need to know where it happens. Similarly, if countries are to get paid to reduce deforestation we need to know how much it has been reduced and what CO2e-content the reduction corresponds to. This require measurements of forest cover and its stock and is why so-called monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) is of fundamental essence in the fight against forest destruction.
Ethiopia has committed to preserve existing forests and restore and plant new forest in an area roughly the size of Djibouti. The commitment makes Ethiopia as one of the world’s most ambitious countries in this field. In addition, Ethiopia has designed a strategy called Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) in 2011. In this strategy, agriculture and energy are identified as the main drivers of deforestation. Therefore, In order to properly monitor the efforts made in these three sectors- forests, agriculture and energy- a sound MRV-system is necessary.
Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources (the College) affiliated to Hawassa University is working to build national capacity, to measure, verify and report (MRV) deforestation, climate smart agriculture initiatives and energy at national, regional and local level. This is done through improved education and research and the establishment of an MRV capacity center.
The College has since 2015 developed curricula for Master of Science studies in measuring, reporting and verification for forests, climate smart landscape and energy. Master students are recruited to these studies from the Ethiopian Ministry of Forest, Environment and Climate change (MEFCC) as well as various Regional Bureaus. The master programmes are designed to meet the needs these institutions have when implementing Ethiopia’s CRGE Strategy. In this way Ethiopia will have access to highly qualified people with the most up to date scientific knowledge in the area of carbon measurements. This will not only allow Ethiopia to have detailed knowledge of deforestation and land use change, but also facilitate payments for reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in the future, among others. If successful, the work done at Wondo Genet College of Forestry and Natural Resources will contribute to keep Ethiopia’s forests alive – to the benefit of us all.