Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)

HQ: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Focal Point:
Mathieu Legros – Environment Affair Officer/ Manager
Mohammed Yunus – FMS Chief of Building Maintenance Management Unit

Email: [email protected] / [email protected]

Internal Sustainability Team: Three full-time staff

The entity may not report waste data for all its personnel. Please refer to the entity's personnel chart above for more information.
All entity personnel are included in the entity's greenhouse gas emission inventory.


“This year marks the beginning of the Decade of Action to deliver on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. We need to react, and urgently. And we must recognize that responses framed within our existing comfort zone will fail to address the scale of transformation we need.”

Executive Secretary – Dr. Vera Songwe


ECA’s Mission is to deliver ideas and actions for an empowered and transformed Africa; informed by the 2030 Agenda and Agenda 2063.


SRO North Africa Rabat, Morocco

SRO West Africa Niamey, Niger

SRO Central Africa Yaounde, Cameroon

SRO East Africa Kigali, Rwanda

SRO South Africa Lusaka, Zambia

IDEP Dakar, Senegal

ECA HQ Addis Abeba, Ethiopia


In order to align with the strategy, ECA recruited an Environmental Affairs Officer in June 2020.

ECA will integrate step by step the Strategy in its areas of work, starting from its administrative operations/procurement/logistics/client processes, travel challenges and facilities, and expanding it to its program.

By integrating the objectives of the strategy into ECA work plan, we will be able to show the progress of ECA in regards to the Strategy.


• 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 has been working with SUN since 2008 to improve its environmental sustainability. It is climate neutral since 2015, receiving the adequate certificates, and we will continue in this vein.

In 2019 ECA put additional effort by launching the recruitment of an Environmental Affairs Officer, in order to implement and EMS decrease its environmental footprint.

In 2020 the recruitment was effective, and the EMS is at is early stage, guided by the UN Secretariat Environmental Policy and the Strategy for Sustainability Management.

Inventory Management Plans (IMPs) 

The inventory include all activities carried out at ECA HQ in Addis Abeba as well as its regional offices. As ECA hosts many UN agencies (20) , whose data was excluded from the ECA inventory, for accuracy. Therefore the inventory is divided between ECA and other ECA entities, based on the building area they occupy.


The greenhouse gas emissions are offset centrally by the UN Secretariat. The offsetting covers the footprint of ECA at Addis Ababa.


The greenhouse gas inventory is based on the following:

  • Duty Air Travel (fuel consumption of aircrafts in economy and business class)
  • Duty Road Travel (fuel consumption of UN vehicles)
  • Electricity consumption from the grid (hydroelectricity – 100% renewable)
  • Fuel consumption of the back-up diesel generators
  • Refrigerants consumption

The greenhouse gas emissions at ECA is mainly linked to Air Travel (around 90% each year). Indeed, the great climate of Addis does not require heavy building heating or cooling. In addition, the electricity provided to ECA is hydroelectricity, and therefore has a low climate impact.


The waste management inventory includes the measurable waste which is monitored by ECA waste disposal contractor that is provided in the ECA Host Country agreement , namely:

  • Solid Waste;
  • Metal;
  • Plastic bottles;
  • Paper;
  • Wooden Pallets;

Based on this data, the rate of material reused, recycled, or recovered through energy recovery is small. However, much more waste is either internally reused (furnitures, metal, composting) or externally reused or recycled (construction waste used for backfilling, composting, etc) by ECA waste management contractors. But it is not monitored adequately yet. 

The data shows a gap in the measurement of waste reused, recycled, or recovered.  The host country waste and recycling contractor mixes ECA waste at its owns yard with other clients carry out waste recycling.

The waste of ECA which cannot be reused, or recycled, is treated at the Koshe landfill, which was equipped in 2017 by a waste to energy incinerator 

Construction waste during major building works is significantly altering ECA waste production.

Better monitoring of the waste produced at ECA, once it leaves our compound, and better monitoring of waste minimization effort, will reflect over time the effort the ECA to apply the reduce, reuse, recycle strategy that guide its waste management efforts.

In order to improve waste management, ECA built a waste sorting centre on its premises and has been if full operation since 2014.

The waste of ECA is considered high-value in Ethiopia, offering plenty of opportunities of reuse, and recycling, contributing to the local economy, and creating jobs.


ECA water use is based on its metered consumption of municipal water, and the metered consumption of water from a borehole, use exclusively for irrigation or as firefighting. 

Construction works at ECA can significantly alter water consumption patterns.

The wastewater of ECA is managed through two networks

  • Stormwater network
  • Domestic wastewater network

The domestic wastewater (sewage from toilets) is treated by the municipal wastewater treatment plant.


ECA and the Government of Ethiopia launched the Decade of Action to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals.

They signed an agreement to kick-off a four-year, 3.6 million project, on nature-based solutions for water resources infrastructure and community resilience in Ethiopia.


For the coming year, ECA plans:

  • Establish a high-level steering group to oversee and manage the EMS
  • Carry out an Initial Environmental Review
  • Integrate UNS Policy and UN Sustainability Objectives into its own framework
  • Start staff awareness and staff training campaign 
  • Improve the accuracy of the data reported to include the whole ECA organizational perimeter, and improve the accuracy of waste data.

UNECA and sustainability