X.6 Simen National Park (Ethiopia)
The Committee noted with concern that the Centre has not yet received a response from the State Party to the letter transmitting the observations and recommendations of the twenty-third session of the Bureau (5 - 10 July 1999). IUCN had requested to consult with relevant authorities, particularly those in Bahir Dar, who disagreed with the decision of the twentieth session of the Committee (Merida, Mexico, 1996) to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. IUCN has not yet received any response to its requests in this regard. The lack of any written response from the State Party to repeated communications from the Bureau and the Committee had been a continuing constraint to updating information on the state of conservation of this property and for planning measures for its rehabilitation.
In a letter dated 28 October 1999 to the Director of the Centre, the Secretary General of the Ethiopian National Agency for UNESCO has:
- Thanked the Centre for the unreserved concern and efforts to rehabilitate Simen;
- Pointed out that the Regional Government has rehabilitated the site and the number of Waliya Ibex has increased to 550 and that the numbers of other animals are on the rise;
- Informed the Centre that studies are underway for finding solutions to settlements around the Park and that 75% of the work has been completed and that analyses will be finalised and the results and recommendations made available soon; and
- Requested that UNESCO consider removing the site from the List of World Heritage in Danger, given the high priority assigned to its conservation by the Regional authorities.
During a meeting between the Centre and a staff member of the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa it was agreed that a site visit may be planned by a UNESCO team comprising staff from the Addis Ababa Office and the Centre to explain to the regional authorities the significance of the inclusion of Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger and possible ways in which the Committee could assist in the rehabilitation efforts in and around Simen.
The Committee decided to retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee recommended that the Chairperson undertake a mission to Ethiopia to meet relevant national and regional authorities and to re-establish a basis for regular exchange of formal communications between the State Party and the Committee, Centre and IUCN for monitoring the state of conservation of the property and mitigating threats to its integrity. The Committee requested that the Centre consult with the Permanent Delegation of Ethiopia to UNESCO as well as the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa to study the need for a UNESCO mission to the Bahir Dar Region and the site in order to prepare the work and negotiations to be undertaken by the Chairperson of the Committee.