Decision : CONF 204 IV.A.5
Simen National Park (Ethiopia)
The Bureau recalled that the regional authorities in Bahir Dar, where this site is located, disagreed with the Committee’s decision to include this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996. Since then the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Ethiopia, UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa and the Centre have continued to inform the Bahir Dar authorities on the meaning and implications of the Committee’s decision to include Simen National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger. At its last session (Kyoto, 1998), the Committee noted that the responsibilities for the management of the Park had been transferred from the central authorities to the region. A stakeholders’ meeting had been convened and had led to the formation of a ‘dialogue-group’ of various national and regional offices to discuss follow-up activities for the conservation of the Park. The meeting had called for the organization of a second stakeholders’ seminar, before June 1999, in collaboration with UNDP, Austria, UNESCO, UNCDF, Bahir Dar Regional Heads and donors. The second stakeholders’ seminar is expected to establish a strategy to: (i) minimize the human population in the Park; (ii) rehabilitate the Park and re-establish populations of selected species including the Walia Ibex; (iii) create an alternative to a road which currently goes through the Park; and (iv) establish a framework for co-ordination, including the possible setting up of an Inter-Agency Committee with the participation of donors, for the sustainable development of the Simen Mountains ecosystem. As suggested by the Committee, the Centre has informed the Ethiopian authorities that the US$ 30,000 approved by the Committee in 1996 and which still remains unused, could be made available as a contribution for the organization of the second stakeholders’ meeting.
The Bureau expressed its concern over the lack of adequate communication between the Centre and the regional authorities in Bahir Dar on the state of conservation of this site. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to consult with the UN Resident Co-ordinator for Ethiopia and the Central Government of Ethiopia to develop a strategy to improve communications with the regional authorities in Bahir Dar. IUCN informed the Bureau that it is assisting the national Government of Ethiopia on environmental conservation projects and will try to use its contacts to improve communications between the Centre and the regional authorities in Bahir Dar. The Bureau requested the Centre and IUCN to submit a report on the outcome of their efforts in this regard and recommended that the Committee retain this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger.