Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

HQ: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Focal Point: Yunus Mohammed

Key figures: greenhouse gas emissions

Key figures: waste


Key figures: water


** Please note that the following information was last updated November 2017 **



The Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) was established by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations (UN) in 1958 as one of the UN's five regional commissions. ECA's mandate is to promote the economic and social development of its member States, foster intra-regional integration, and promote international cooperation for Africa's development.

Experience so far

ECA is facing challenges both in terms of personnel motivation and resources allocated to carry out greenhouse gas reduction programmes.

Reduction efforts

  • Optimizing use of energy and water by implementing automated irrigation project for the Secretariat’s 56’647 square metre green area. The project included upgrading the conventional hose-and-tap irrigation system to pop-up sprinklers, drip irrigation and a weather monitoring system, incorporated with variable-frequency drive (VFD) motors. Underground water was used, from a depth of 160 metres, and raised using VFD pumps.
  • Evacuated tube solar water heaters are used to feed two kitchen installations and bathrooms. ECA also uses solar lighting pipes or “light tubes” in selected areas of our facilities (these devices capture sunlight and convey it to the rooms below).
  • Ensuring that ECA does not damage the environment by recycling ozone-depleting refrigerants with a device that removes such substances from refrigerators and HVAC systems requiring maintenance. The gas is then pumped back into the appliance rather than being released into the atmosphere.
  • Use of Building Automation and Control System (BACS) to manage lighting energy for the 42’184 square metre Conference Centre. This is supplemented by coordinating with the security team to ensure that lights are switched off manually in unoccupied buildings and in off working hours.


ECA is climate neutral for 2016.

Next Steps

ECA has the following strategy for its climate neutrality:

  • Making official travel more efficient by optimizing travel requirements of each division, reflecting greenhouse gas emissions on each official travel plan, and consolidating travel on the same routes as much as possible, offsetting the unavoidable greenhouse gases by 2012.
  • Carrying out an energy audit of our facilities, and upgrading the electromechanical installations with energy-efficient drives; this includes the HVAC vertical transportation system, lights and building envelopes. The project will be done in phases, starting 2009, and is slated for completion in 2012.
  • Enhancing the use of renewable energies at the Secretariat and in sub-regional offices, and ensure 100% use for this energy for emergency lights, water heating by 2010.
  • Offsetting remaining emissions through emission-reduction credits purchased through the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) by 2013.

UNECA and sustainability