Tewolde Berhan was born in 1940, graduated in 1963 from the University of Addis Ababa and took a doctorate from the University of Wales in 1969.
He went back to the University of Addis Ababa and was Dean of the Faculty of Science from 1974-78.
From 1978-83 he
was keeper of the National Herbarium, from 1983-91 President of Asmara University
and from 1991-94 Director of the Ethiopian Conservation Strategy Secretariat.
Since 1995 he has been General Manager of the Environmental Protection Authority of Ethiopia, which is effectively Ethiopia's Ministry of the Environment.
During the 1990s Tewolde
put much of his
energy into the negotiations at the various biodiversity related fora, especially the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO).
In this time he
built up a strong group of well prepared African negotiators who began to take the lead in the G77 and China group.
This effectively began to change the geo-political balance of power in the negotiations: Africa came out with united, strong, progressive positions (such as no patents on living materials and the recognition of community rights).
This influenced and strengthened the G77 and China's negotiating positions.
was instrumental in securing recommendations from the OAU encouraging African countries to develop and implement community rights, a common position on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs), and a clear stance against patents on life.
also guided the drafting of the OAU model legislation for community rights, which is now used as the common basis for all African countries.
At the 1999 biosafety negotiations in Cartagena, Colombia, Tewolde was the spokesperson for the majority of the G77 countries, called The Like-Minded Group.
These negotiations ended in a deadlock, but reached a successful conclusion in Montreal in January 2000.
Tewolde's leadership of the Like-Minded Group
in the negotiations played a key role in achieving an outcome - against strong USA and EU opposition - that protects biosafety and biodiversity and respects traditional and community rights in developing countries.
Biosafety negotiations - flashbacks Third World Network
"Tewolde Berhan G Egziabher, the spokesperson of the Like-Minded Group (Group of 77 & China) at the Montreal and Cartagena talks and who has been involved in the biodiversity negotiations since the Nairobi Conference in 1991, reflects on his experience as a negotiator from the Third World at the biosafety talks."