Title: Environmental Destruction in Ethiopia: A Leading Factor in Oromo Migration
Author: Mardaasa Addisu
Published: Seminar Presentation, the 56th Annual Meeting of the African Studies Association (Theme: “Mobility, Migration and Flows”)
Keywords: Environmental Destruction, Oromia, Migration, Forced Displacement
This paper demonstrates that the Oromo population of Ethiopia, who live on the largest and most resource‐rich land area, are denied key environmental protections in their homelands. Drawing together data from research conducted in a number of Oromo areas, the paper explores how massive state and corporate projects intent on accessing valuable resources cause environmental destruction, which results in involuntary forced displacement of the Oromo population.
I compile significant evidence of environment destruction to argue that it is a major cause of ongoing forced displacement. These data have not previously been brought together coherently. Actions covered include massive forest fires set by newly‐arrived settlers, bodies of water in Oromia polluted by state‐sponsored industrial development, ecological destruction and displacement due to state reallocation of land to private businesses, and seed and fertilizer manipulation schemes which make farming untenable for peoples who treasure the land. The combined impact forces massive displacement of Oromo. Donor nations have demonstrated little awareness of the scale of the displacement, showing a slow response to environmental issues. Based on the findings, the study attempts to establish the scale of the forced displacement, then provides some policy recommendations to address the reoccurring issue.