Ms Maja Hennig Kjennerud from the Embassy held a speech at the launching Thursday 28. July. 
Photo: RNE.Ms Maja Hennig Kjennerud from the Embassy held a speech at the launching Thursday 28. July. Photo: RNE

Launching of the “Air We Breathe” by BBC Media Action

Air pollution is one of the most pressing issues of our time – and the Embassy welcomes last week’s launch of the Norwegian supported “Air We Breathe” by BBC Media Action. BBC Media Action is working predominantly to improve people’s understanding on health issues and increase awareness on resilience to climate change. In Ethiopia this is done through radio programmes in Afan Oromo and Amharic. Through a series of dramas, they seek to provide information and encourage discussions around the theme, to ensure best use of technologies and fuels for cooking, heating and lighting amongst families in rural Oromia.

The program is targeting women and heads-of-households to increase their awareness on health impacts caused by traditional cooking methods and the use of kerosene as a household fuel. It will increase knowledge and discussions about alternative methods, how to choose the best stove, what makes a good quality fuel efficient stove that is safe and has the most health benefits, and where to access carbon efficient commodities. As pollution from a house or other sources affect neighbors, and visa-versa, community-wide action as well as household action with women playing a central role are featured in the drama.

The program was launched Thursday 28. July, and Ms Maja Hennig Kjennerud from the Embassy held the following speech:

Honourable Guests and participants

Ladies and Gentlemen

On behalf of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Embassy here in Addis Ababa, I am honored to be invited to make a speech at this important ceremony to launch BBC Media Action’s new drama for the “Air We Breathe” project.

Air pollution is one of the most pressing issues of our time – and we welcome the launch of the “Air We Breathe” by BBC Media Action, through Norwegian support.

Air pollution is a silent killer in many cities and countries. However, not many countries have deliberate policies and implement actions to clean the air and save people’s lives.

Air pollution is a global disaster, and demands urgent and coordinated action on multiple levels: home, city, country and planet.

The different health communities need to engage in this issue. Air pollution is an important risk factor for Non Communicable Diseases, for children’s health, for women’s health and for heart disease, respiratory illness, stroke and cancer. We believe that the health sector should show responsibility and promote efforts to raise awareness, build capacity and push for action to improve air quality.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Indoor air pollution, from cooking with dirty fuels kills millions of women and children in developing countries every year. Children are particularly sensitive to the smoke, and it has been found that early exposure can affect them for the rest of their lives. The deaths and damages are unnecessary, since we know how to cook without polluting - people should simply not die from cooking.

We clearly see the need to inform people around the world on the air pollution crisis, and engage them in preventive action. Reaching families and communities as target groups is vital, and we believe the project launched today will help to this end.

I would also like to mention that Climate is one of the pillars in Norway’s cooperation with Ethiopia. In line with this, we are also supporting the production of clean cook stoves under the REDD+ Programme.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The fact that air pollution is the second killer of the world should shock us all. However, the global community has not treated this problem with the urgency it deserves.  Reducing household air pollution should be a global priority. I hope we all can be clean air ambassadors and engage our networks, friends and neighbors in this important battle.

We look forward to following the programme and its impacts. Thank you very much!

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