The European Union along with seven member states and Norway have jointly agreed to provide US$7 million in initial support to the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission (ENDC).
Ethiopia is currently gearing up for a national dialogue aimed at creating consensus on contentious national issues among all segments of society.
The three-year dialogue process is being led by the Ethiopian National Dialogue Commission, established by the House of People’s Representatives in 2022.
“Ethiopia has the potential to address its challenges through an inclusive national dialogue,” EU Ambassador to Ethiopia Roland Kobia said. The EU “is, therefore, keen to support Ethiopia’s National Dialogue Commission in its crucial task”.
The 7 million euro Support will be channelled to a UNDP-managed multi-partner fund established as per the Government’s request to the UN. The three-year budget of the commission is $35 million.
So far, a total of $12 million has been mobilized from partners, including the 7 million, said State Minister of Finance Semereta Sewasew said.
“We also expect more EU member states to join hands and support the commission’s efforts sooner,” Semereta said, as the national dialogue process reaches “a decisive stage”.
The commission is about to begin national consultations throughout the country in the coming months, according to the state minister.
“This tells us we reached a decisive stage where several consultations will be conducted in every corner of the country with millions of citizens involved,” she added.
The dialogue is expected to help resolve differences and misunderstandings toward building a more peaceful, inclusive, and equitable country, per the ministry.
UNDP Resident Representative Turhan Saleh added that the Dialogue ‘provides a key opportunity to peacefully debate and discuss key issues of national importance and help build a new political culture in Ethiopia, one that embeds the normal, non-violent, give-and-take of a democratic society.’
The Commission is currently undertaking initial consultations to identify dialogue participants and key national-level agenda issues. This work has taken place in Benishangul-Gumuz, Gambella, Harari, Sidaama, South-West Ethiopia regional states, and Dire-Dawa city administration in recent weeks.
The ENDC plans to continue this preparatory work in the remaining regions, as well as with the diaspora, in the coming months, and conclude this process by mid-September. Subsequently, the next phase of the dialogue process may commence.