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Such growth must be directed to a greener and cleaner economy that would require a well-planned just transition that engages multiple stakeholders including the public, private and civil society actors. Marrying these two ambitions will be a massive undertaking, but one that is worth investing in. If international support for adaptation to climate change and just transition is lacking, it will derail Ethiopia from its well-intentioned track to meet the 2°C global warming limit and the 1.5°C aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement.

So much for the climate goals. What about the humanitarian situation of the IDPs? Is the existing legal framework a sufficient basis to solve the problem in the long run?

Internally-displaced persons are supposedly covered by national, human rights and international humanitarian laws, but the challenge has always been the enforcement of these laws in nation states. There are conventions such as the Kampala Convention that Ethiopia has signed but not yet ratified. The ratification, domestication and implementation of these various instruments, in the context of the African Peer Review Mechanism, would be important for the protection of IDPs on the continent. At the global level, a new binding international law for internally displaced people is needed.

Silvia Richter led the interview.

Further reading:

Rural 21 issue no 1/2019: The Nexus

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