Socio-cultural Considerations in Environmental Policy Formulation and Implementation in Ethiopia




socio-cultural issues, environmental policy, policy formulation, policy implementation, representation, Ethiopia, East Africa


The idea of policies for holistic social development, healthy communities, and resilient socio-cultural institutions is one of the core issues of literature on sustainable society, development and environment. The nexus between national economic policies, resilient communities, and development is best understood in the context of policies for social development, particularly in terms of building resilient socio-cultural institutions, protecting communities, and ensuring useful traditional knowledge systems. Some research on environment and society in Ethiopia generally focus on policy failures and institutional dysfunctions leading to natural resource degradation and environmental exploitation. Others address increasingly insecure livelihood and political instability as a manifestation of unsuitable society, environment, and development. Further, policy instruments pertaining to environment, and the impact assessments are often analyzed in light of the legal perspective. This study aimed at understanding how existing environmental policy instruments define and represent socio-cultural matters as part of the environment policy and impact assessment frameworks of the country. The study adopted a qualitative method approach through analyzing existing policy documents and interviewing relevant actors. The study found out that while existing instruments do indeed address socio-cultural issues, the main problem lies in adequacy of representation of socio-cultural issues, particularly cultural resources (notably heritages, identities, belief systems social institutions, etc.). More so, the problem lies in the disturbing state of realizing the policy provisions for socio-cultural issues. Policy formulators and implementers’ general level of socio-culturally sensitive awareness, attitude and commitment is a key gap.

Author Biography

Zerihun Doda

Dr Zerihun Doda, a former faculty member at Hawasa University, Ethiopia, is currently a Senior Researcher and Assistant Professor at the Ethiopian Civil Service University, where he is also currently Director of Research and Publications Office. Overall, he has 25 years’ experience of teaching and conducting sociological, social anthropological and inter-disciplinary research as a faculty member and as a consultant carrying out research and training for academia and NGOs. His research experience and interests include ethnographic, survey and ethnohistorical research; studies of identity, livelihoods, and the nature–culture nexus; social policy, development, the social impacts of development projects; disadvantaged social groups and local communities; environment, society and climate change. Dr Zerihun has published in, and served as a professional reviewer for, various reputable journals, including BMC Public health; SAGE Open Journals; Taylor & Francis COGENT Environmental Sciences and COGENT Social Sciences. He currently serves as Director of Research & Publication Office and a Managing Editor of the African Journal of Development Studies, in the Ethiopian Civil Service University.




How to Cite

Doda, Z. . (2022). Socio-cultural Considerations in Environmental Policy Formulation and Implementation in Ethiopia. Journal of African Development Studies, 8(2), 38–49.