Information for participants

Dear Participants,

We look forward to welcoming you to Addis Ababa and to the ninth session of the Committee on Sustainable Development and the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development. The meeting will take place from 16 to18 June 2015 at the ECA Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The meeting will be preceded by the capacity-building workshop for major groups and other stakeholders in connection with the Africa Regional Forum on Sustainable Development, which will be held at the same venue on 15 June 2015.

Please find below, useful information on the conference arrangements and on Addis Ababa. Should you have any questions or require any assistance, do not hesitate to contact the following official of ECA:

Ms. Fatima Denton,


Special Initiatives Division,

Economic Commission for Africa,

P.O. Box 3001,

Addis Ababa,

1. Registration and identification badges

 Participants are required to register and obtain identification badges prior to the opening of the meeting. The venue for registration will be the Delegates Registration Bureau. Kindly

bring along your invitation letter and personal identification for registration purposes. For identification and security reasons, all participants should wear their badges at all times.

2. Documents

 Participants will be sent the aide memoire, agenda and programme before the meeting. Other documents will be available on the meeting website ( and will also be provided at the time of registration. Documents, which participants wish to circulate, should be handed to the secretariat. Participants are also advised to consult with the secretariat on any matters pertaining to the issuance or distribution of meeting documents.

3. Travel

A number of international airlines operate to and from Addis Ababa. Sponsored participants will be provided with round trip air-tickets and daily subsistence allowance for Addis Ababa, based on the United Nations rules, for the duration of the meeting. Non-sponsored participants should secure their return and onward air passage prior to their arrival in Addis Ababa. Travel Agencies at ECA will assist with re-confirmation of tickets and provide participants with travel and tour-related information. They can be reached at the following telephone numbers:

  • Gashem Travel

 Tel: +251 115 44 30 51– 44 30 52 – 44 40 38; or +251 911 25 04 68 (mobile)

  • Airlink Travel

Tel: +251 115 44 43 66 – 44 43 67 – 44 43 33 – 44 43 34; or +251 921 79 81 28 (mobile)

Ethiopian Airlines and Kenya Airways also have offices at the ECA compound and can be reached at:

  • Ethiopian Airlines

Tel: +251 11 515 72 33 or  +251 11 543 310

  • Kenya Airways

Tel: +251 11 55130 18; +251 11 552 55 47; +251 11 544 301; or +251 11 544 176

Please have your ticket ready when visiting the travel agencies or airlines for flight-related assistance.

4. Immigration requirements

Visas are required for all participants travelling to Ethiopia, except for nationals of Djibouti and Kenya. This also applies to holders of diplomatic and service passports, and United Nations laissez-passer.

All participants coming from countries in which there are Ethiopian embassies or consulates are strongly advised to obtain their Ethiopian visas prior to arrival in Ethiopia. For participants who are not able to process their visas in advance, ECA will make a request for them to be given business visas upon arrival at Bole International Airport. In order to assist participants in obtaining visas upon arrival, please fill in the nationality, passport details and, if appropriate, flight details in the registration form.

Please note that the Ethiopian Immigration Authority requires that participants carry with them, and present to Immigration, an official letter of invitation for the meeting.

Please note that an Ethiopian visa costs $30 per person and payment must be made in United States dollars or euros at the time of issue. No other currency will be accepted. Holders of diplomatic and service passports, and United Nations laissez-passer, will receive visas free of charge.

5. Currency and currency restrictions


Ethiopian currency is denominated in “birr” and “centimes”. The exchange rate fluctuates. The official exchange rate of the United Nations was $1.00 = ETB 20.15 as of January 2015.

There is a branch of the Commercial Bank of Ethiopia in the ECA compound, in the Rotunda. The bank is open Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5.30 p.m. There is also an authorized exchange centre (Forex) at the Sheraton Hotel, and ATM machines for Visa/MasterCard users in the Conference Centre and at the Sheraton, Hilton, Radisson Blu, Intercontinental Hotel, Ethiopia Hotel and Wabe Shebelle Hotels, which will give you money in birr.

Currency restrictions

Directives issued by the National Bank of Ethiopia for inward and outward movement of foreign currency notes and Ethiopian Birr require any traveller, who is a non-resident in Ethiopia, to declare any amount of cash exceeding $3,000 or its equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency, and all foreign currency in their possession at the points of entry into Ethiopia by filling out the declaration form of the Ethiopian Customs and Revenue Authority.

Non-resident travellers are not allowed to carry more than $3,000 or its equivalent in any other convertible foreign currency in cash out of Ethiopia, unless he or she produces a bank advice certifying the purchase of foreign currency from within Ethiopia or a Customs Declaration paper issued at the time of entering the country, provided the visa period has not expired.

Any traveller entering or leaving the country may carry up to only 200 Ethiopian Birr in cash.

Bank receipts for money changed at the airport must be kept securely as they may be requested on departure.

6. Hotel reservations

Hotel reservations will be made by ECA for all sponsored participants. Details of the arrangements will be communicated in due course. ECA can assist non-sponsored participants with hotel reservations upon timely request. Should assistance be required, kindly fill in the relevant section of the registration form and return to ECA by 30 May 2015 at the latest. A list of recommended hotels is annexed to this note. The following hotels are located within close proximity of ECA: Elilly Hotel, Aphrodite Hotel, Hilton Hotel, Hotel De Leopol, Sheraton Hotel, Jupiter International Hotel – Kasanches, Radisson Hotel, and Intercontinental Hotel.

Selected list of hotels in Addis Ababa

7. Reception on arrival

Participants will be met on arrival at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport and assisted with immigration formalities. Flight details, including date and time of arrival in Addis Ababa should be sent to ECA no later than 30 May 2015. Any subsequent changes should be communicated on time.

8. Transport

ECA buses will transport participants from Bole International Airport, which is located 5 kilometres from the centre of Addis Ababa, to the recommended hotels (see annex). Shuttle buses will also transport participants to and from the following hotels and the conference venue in the mornings and at the end of daily sessions: Jupiter International Hotel (Kasanchis and Bole), Kaleb Hotel, Bole Ambassador Hotel, Harmony Hotel, Dreamliner Hotel and Churchill Hotel. Regrettably, transport will not be provided during lunch breaks.

If you would like transportation in Addis Ababa outside of conference time, or for the airport at the end of the conference, you can book a taxi from the National Tourism Organization by calling + 251 115 51 18 22 or + 251 115 51 84 00; or use the yellow or blue taxis parked outside your hotel.

9. Health and healthcare requirements

Prior to entry, visitors to Ethiopia should be in possession of a valid health certificate for yellow fever. Vaccination against cholera is also required for any person who has visited or transited through a cholera-infected area within six days prior to arrival in the country. As Addis Ababa is situated at an altitude of 2,400 metres, it is advisable to take precautionary measures to avoid possible health problems that might occur due to high altitude.

The United Nations Health Care Centre (UNHCC), situated on the ground floor of the United Nations Conference Centre provides 24 hour medical services at a reasonable cost (payment in cash). In case of medical or dental emergency, please call the reception desk on telephone numbers (0115) 44 55 02 – 44 35 48 – 44 31 35; or when calling from an extension phone within ECA premises, 35502 – 33548 – 33135.

Participants on special medication should bring enough quantities to last for the period of stay, as some of them may not be found in UNHCC or in town.

Please note that ECA will not provide medical insurance coverage to participants. Participants are therefore advised to secure medical insurance that cover Ethiopia for the duration of the meeting, taking into account travel time.

10. Personal security and safety of participants

The United Nations Security and Safety Service is always ready to serve its clients. In this regard, the full cooperation of all participants is needed to ensure the safety of your valuables and your personal security.

While you are on ECA premises, please ensure that you:

  • Show your conference badge to any authorized person who asks to see it, and wear it visibly
  • Do not leave bags and parcels unattended, as they may be confiscated or destroyed
  • Do not bring unauthorized persons and children into the Conference Centre
  • Look after your valuable property
  • Check that you have all your documents and personal items before you leave conference halls and meeting rooms
  • Inform the Security and Safety Service or inform the nearest Security Officer if you lose anything valuable.

When you are in your hotel, please follow this safety advice:

  • Upon entering or leaving your room, make it a habit to lock the door
  • Before leaving, inspect your room to make sure that no money, jewellery, cameras, etc. are visible
  • Deposit valuables or portable items at the reception desk and obtain a receipt
  • Should you observe anything suspicious or out of the ordinary, please contact the Security and Safety Service.

Useful telephone numbers

Emergency numbers

United Nations Control Room – Addis Ababa (24 hrs)         +251 – 115 445135 – 516537 – 512945

Security Chief                                                                         +251 – 9 11 201802 (mobile)

Deputy Chief                                                                          +251 – 9 11 508578 (mobile)

Emergencies outside of Addis

United Nations Operations Centre (24 hrs)                             +251 – 115 511726

Satellite phone                                                                         +87162546835

Police Emergency numbers (24 hrs)                                        911

City Police                                                                               +251 – 115 572100 – 572121

Federal Police                                                                          +251 – 115 524077 – 526302 – 526303

11. Mobile phone services

Participants are encouraged to come to Addis Ababa with their dual band mobile handsets (900/1800 MHz). Ethiopian Telecommunication Company offers SIM Cards with pre-paid airtime. The total package, which costs $2.50, includes $0.80 worth of airtime. A copy of your national passport and two passport-size photos are required for processing and connection will be effected on the spot.

Participants coming from the United States of America should kindly note that they can only use tri-band mobile handsets (e.g. 900/1800/1900 MHz).

12. General information about Addis Ababa and Ethiopia

Addis Ababa is a high altitude city, 2,400 metres above sea level (higher than Mexico City). Safety standards are relatively good, but similar precautions as in other metropolitan cities should be followed. The predominant language spoken in Addis Ababa is Amharic, but English is widely understood as well. Communication in French is quite limited, and minimum in Italian and Arabic. Right-hand traffic rules apply.

Additional information on Ethiopia and ECA are available from the following websites:,,,

13. Climate

Ethiopia has two main seasons. The dry season lasts from October to early June, and the rainy season starts in late June and ends in September. Temperatures depend on season and altitude. The dates of the meeting fall within the transition season in Ethiopia, when occasional rainfall is possible. During the month of June, the temperature in Addis Ababa could be between a minimum of 11 degrees celsius and a maximum of 25 degrees celsius. The weather is likely to be cold at night in June, so please ensure that you bring a warm jacket or sweater.

14. Electricity supply

Electricity supply in Ethiopia is 220-240 volts, 50 cycles AC accessible via 13-amp, two pin (Italian) socket.