Rest well, Tewolde

by GRAIN | 22 Mar 2023

Dr. Tewolde Berhan Gebre Egziabher, the renowned Ethiopian environmental scientist and advocate, has died at the age of 83 on 20 March in Addis Ababa. In the late 1990s, Tewolde served on GRAIN’s board of directors. He was Ethiopia's lead negotiator on biodiversity at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, where he strongly defended the rights of local communities to their seeds in the face of growing corporate control. He was also active in the African biodiversity and food sovereignty networks.

Tewolde was born in 1940 in the Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia. He studied biology in Addis and North Wales before becoming Director General of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia, a post he occupied for decades.

Tewolde won the Right Livelihood Award in 2000 “for his exemplary work to safeguard biodiversity and the traditional rights of farmers and communities to their genetic resources.” He also won Champions of the Earth Award in 2006 for campaigning for community rights in Africa and against the patenting of life forms.

Dr. Tewolde is survived by his three daughters, to whom we offer our sincere condolences. All of us at GRAIN are grateful for his leadership and unwavering efforts to safeguard biodiversity and traditional knowledge in the rightful hands of African communities.

Photo: 2000 Laureate Tewolde Berhan (Credit: Right Livelihood)
Author: GRAIN