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Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network

Published on: 30/04/2013

The Horn of Africa Regional Environment Centre and Network has developed from a program supported by the Dutch Embassy in Addis Ababa into an autonomous environmental centre within Addis Ababa University. We spoke to the director, Dr. Araya Asfaw, formerly the Dean of the Faculty of Sciences about their work.

HoA-REC&N at a glance

HoA-REC&N have grown rapidly since institutionalization in 2006, with multi-million dollar programs now funded by the Dutch Embassy, European Union, World Bank, DFID, French Embassy, ICCO and Teri. The core vision of the Centre and Network is to ensure social and ecological sustainability in the region amidst a changing climate, actively engaging higher-learning institutions and endogenous civil society and community-based organizations. The network is now 40 members strong with representation of higher learning institutions and civil society from Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Key activities: HoAREC&N includes activities on ecological sanitation funded by the Dutch WASH Alliance and water resource management with funding from the Dutch Embassy.

Where HoAREC&N work:  HoA-REC work in two main landscapes: Central Rift Valley and Gambella. They have branch offices in these areas.

Find out more:

Contact: Dr. Araya Asfaw: +251911517009 and

Interview with Dr. Araya

HoA-REC&N works to facilitate, strengthen and advocate for initiatives related to climate change adaptation and mitigation, sustainable energy, ecosystem conservation and management and the rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems, always remembering the principle that local communities must benefit from development.

The institute is housed in an environmentally friendly office in Gulele Botanical Garden to the north of the city.  Here, Dr Araya says that all exotic eucalyptus is uprooted and that alone has led to the return of endemic pines and streams like we knew in Addis Ababa decades ago. Perhaps nature has a more enduring memory than we thought, he says.

Dr. Araya says that both top-down efforts (without consultation of major beneficiaries) and bottom-up efforts (too often project based) fail to provide sustainable ways forward. HoA-REC&N applies a programmatic landscape approach and plays an enabling role bridging high- and grassroots-level discourses to ultimately guide policy and implementation. It is this dual focus that differentiates HoA-REC&N from other research institutions.

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