The three RIO Conventions are intrinsically linked, operating in a given ecosystems, and addressing interdependent issues. The Conventions share common concerns and provisions for many environmental and sustainable development issues. Most of the provisions in them are mutually reinforced. Amongst the common shared provisions are formulation of national and regional strategy and action plans; identification, data collection and systematic observation; develop protected areas; legislation and related measures, research, environmental education; training and public awareness; environmental impact assessment; partnership and cooperation between governmental and non-governmental sectors; reporting, joint action program implementation; institutional mechanism; access to resources; precautionary measures; resource allocation and technology transfer.
Rio conventions have similarities in terms of standard obligations required by their Parties. The Conferences of the Parties (COP) to each RIO Convention have underlined through numerous articles and decisions that need for enhanced collaboration among the Conventions in order to enhance Synergy and reduce duplication of activities; in other words resources.
The need for capacity building stands out as an important cross cutting theme among Conventions. Thus, enhancing the awareness of stakeholders in environmental protection and maintaining biodiversity particularly in the dry lands of Ethiopia which covers about 60% of the total land mass on Rio conventions is meant adhering endeavours of ensuring the sustainability of food security.
In Ethiopia, land degradation is the major factor for the spread of desertification and one of the principal causes of the loss of biodiversity. Climate variability can also accelerate the process of desertification; recurrent drought contributes substantially to drylands degradation and desertification. Loss of vegetation cover and soil quality can affect climate change by rising temperatures and reducing moisture levels. These scenarios should be arrested by effective measures to maintain the quality of biodiversity. One of the plausible mechanisms is implementing Rio conventions from the perspective of environmental development issues.
In this regard, the Ethiopian Government has recognized the logical linkages among the Rio conventions for the realization of their respective objectives in synergy. Therefore, attempts have been made to draw together all the fitting edge so that national commitments stated in the three conventions is articulated into one common text on the context of Ethiopia. It was then identified thematic issues for the provisions of the three Conventions, strategies for synergy. Actions are proposed for the implementation of strategies. The proposed actions and strategies consist of the proposals of Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plan, National Action Plan to Combat Desertification as well as the guideline for the preparation of National Adaptation Plan for Climate Change.
The thematic areas, proposed strategies and actions for national and local synergy of the RIO Conventions call for partnership and cooperation between governmental and non-governmental actors.
While this being the reality, however, the awareness/understanding level of all relevant stakeholders of the three RIO Conventions is still at stake particularly when seen from Federal level (Policy Makers) to the local level, meaning relatively better at Federal Government level but much less at Regional, Zonal, Woreda/District and Kebele level. This coupled with the recent May/June 2010 government election, officials at all level, due to position reshuffling and other factors desperately require awareness on the three Conventions. It is in this way that one can think of the collective trickledown effect of the conventions on the ground at the end, if meaningful change is expected to be achieved.