1.         Simien National Park (Ethiopia) (N 9)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1978

Criteria  (vii)(x)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger   1996-2017

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger



[1] The Simien fox is also known as the Ethiopian wolf. Both names relate to the same species Canis simensis.

Corrective measures identified

a) Realignment of the Park’s boundary to exclude the villages along the boundary;

b) Extension of the Park to include at least Mesareriya and Lemalimo Wildlife Reserves;

c) Significant and sustainable reduction in the human population density within the Park, especially within the core area;

d) Effective conservation within the extended National Park of a larger population of Walia ibex and Simien fox.

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1978-2005)
Total amount approved: USD 263,171
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

UNESCO/IUCN mission 2001. A joint UNESCO/IUCN mission is scheduled for 9-17 May 2006 as requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005).

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a) Declining populations of the Walia ibex, Simien fox and other large mammal species;

b) Increasing human population and livestock numbers in the Park;

c) Agricultural encroachment;

d) Road construction.

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2006

The State Party submitted to the World Heritage Centre a progress report on 31 January 2006. Key points of the report with regard to the four benchmarks set by the World Heritage Committee include:

a) Realignment of the Park’s boundary to exclude the villages along the boundary:

Following a consultative process with local communities, a revised Park boundary was determined and demarcated with 89 concrete beacons (a further 111 are to follow); GPS readings were completed and confirmed along the revised boundary; and a map was compiled showing the revised boundary. According to the map, Simien Mountains National Park covers now some 23,200 hectares, compared to the 13,600 hectares currently inscribed as World Heritage property.

b) Extension of the Park to include at least Mesareriya and Lemalimo Wildlife Reserves:

As previously reported, this benchmark has been achieved, and the two reserves are included in the revised Park boundary. However, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN are concerned about recent reports on ongoing road construction within the revised Park boundary.

c) Significant and sustainable reduction in the human population density within the Park, especially within the core area:

The Park authorities have stopped further settlement in the Park. A request by the State Party for assistance from the World Heritage Fund to develop an alternative livelihood strategy for local residents has been approved. A concrete and comprehensive project proposal for funding and implementing the strategy is expected by mid-2006. The strategy will guide the State Party in its efforts to achieve this benchmark.

d) Effective conservation within the extended National Park of a larger population of Walia ibex and Simien fox:

The Walia ibex population was estimated at 623 animals in November 2005 (compared to 450-530 animals in November 2004 according to an independent estimate, 579 in late 2003, and 200-250 in the mid-1990s). The Simien fox population was estimated at 71 animals in the Park and its surroundings in June 2005 (53 in late 2003). The State Party continues to cooperate with the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme and a new project by the Frankfurt Zoological Society with a strong focus on wildlife monitoring.

The report also provides information with regard to the additional actions requested by the World Heritage Committee at its 29th session (Durban, 2005):

a) Map and monitor the extent of agricultural encroachment in the Park:

In October 2005, the Park office has found 582 households (3,171 people) living in the Park, and 1,477 households living outside the Park with farmland in the Park. In total, 2,281 hectares of land in the Park are currently under cultivation. The reduction of 1,005 hectares in cultivated land compared to 1994 is, however, mainly due to the boundary realignments. Changes in cultivated land are now being monitored.

b) Restrict use of the Park by domestic livestock:

This is being addressed by attempts to progressively restrict grazing starting from the most sensitive sites and by developing and implementing alternative means for fodder production at household and community level. However, it may take some years before these measures will have a significant impact.

c) Undertake a household by household census of residents in the Park and Set up a system to monitor the human population:

This is part of the forthcoming development of an alternative livelihood strategy for residents in the Park.

d) Continue the policy of zero tolerance of domestic dogs:

This is already a customary practise and, as a result, rabies has never occurred in the Park.

e) Consider strategic extensions to the Park or its buffer zone:

This is being well considered in the draft management plan from 2002, which will be updated in 2006-2007, but further extensions will require funding for compensating residents for their relocation.

Finally, the private tourist lodge that is being constructed at Buyit Ras underwent an EIA, following a consultative process with various stakeholders. The compliance of the investor with legally agreed environmental standards is controlled on a regular basis. The World Heritage Centre and the IUCN note the need to develop a tourism planning for the property as part of the planned update of the management plan. The State Party should also consider developing a tourism master plan for the region.

No new information has been received from the State Party on the re-alignment of some portions of the Debark-Mekane rural road.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN note that the revised boundaries of Simien Mountains National Park differ significantly from the current boundaries of the World Heritage property. Therefore it will be necessary to prepare a re-nomination of the property based on the revised boundaries. This important issue will have to be reviewed with the State Party during the monitoring mission that is planned.

A joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission to the property is planned for 9-17 May 2006 to assess its overall state of conservation. Its objectives are in particular to assess:

a) progress made in meeting the benchmarks;

b) a potential removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger; and

c) the implementation of the activities funded by the World Heritage Fund.

The final mission report and recommendations will be available for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006), and a revised draft Decision would be proposed to take account of the conclusions of the mission.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 7A.9

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-06/30.COM/7A,

2. Recalling Decisions 28 COM 15A.4 and 29 COM 7A.5, adopted at its 28th (Suzhou, 2004) and 29th (Durban, 2005) sessions respectively,

3. Congratulates the State Party and in particular the Amhara Regional State Government for the considerable efforts made to improve the state of conservation and management of the Simien National Park (SMNP) and the substantial progress made towards meeting the benchmarks set by the Committee, in particular its efforts to revise the boundaries of the park through a participatory process in cooperation with all local stakeholders, to include a larger population of the Walia ibex and to exclude villages along its boundary;

4. Further welcomes the initiative of the State Party, in particular the Amhara Parks Development and Protection Authority, to develop an alternative livelihood strategy for local residents in order to achieve in the long term a significant and sustainable reduction in the human population density within the park;

5. Requests the State Party to take the necessary measures in order to meet in the short term (1 to 2 years) the following revised benchmarks recommended by the 2006 UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission to guide a possible future removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

a) Finalize the extension of SMNP to include the Silki Yared - Kiddis Yared Mountains and the Ras Dejen Mountain with the interlinking corridors;

b) Gazetting of the new park boundaries, including the extensions of Lemalimo, Mesarerya, the Silki Yared - Kiddis Yared Mountains and the Ras Dejen Mountain as well as the realignment of the boundary to exclude certain villages;

c) Develop a strategy and action plan, as part of the planned management plan revision, to significantly reduce the impact of livestock grazing on the conservation of the property by introducing no grazing and limited grazing zones based on ecological criteria and by setting up a strict management regime in zones where grazing will still be tolerated in the short to medium term, and secure funding for its implementation;

d) Develop a strategy and action plan, as part of the planned management plan revision to support the development of alternative livelihoods for the people living within the park as well as its immediate vicinity, in order to limit in the medium term their impact on the natural resources of the property, and secure funding for its implementation;

6. Further requests the State Party to implement the other recommendations made by the joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission, in particular with regard to the ongoing revision of the draft management plan for the park and a tourism master plan for the region, the Debark - Mekane Birhan and the Bwahit - Dilyibza roads, the newly constructed lodge, as well as measures to limit the risk of disease transmission between livestock and wildlife;

7. Invites the State Party to request financial assistance from the World Heritage Fund for finalizing the extension requested in the revised benchmarks, and recommends the State Party to seek technical assistance from IUCN and UNESCO experts as well as experts from conservation NGOs working in Ethiopia for the preparation of the above mentioned management plan and tourism master plan;

8. Calls upon international donors to provide further financial and technical support to the State Party in order to ensure, as a matter of priority, the implementation of the strategies requested in the revised benchmarks, as well as to enable the State Party to implement the other recommendations made by the joint UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission;

9. Requests the State Party to submit a re-nomination of the property (as required by paragraph 165 of the Operational Guidelines) once the extension of SMNP has been finalised and the new park boundaries have been re-gazetted;

10. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2007 on the state of conservation of the property, specifically on progress made in relation to the revised benchmarks for a removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger and other recommendations of the 2006 UNESCO/IUCN monitoring mission, for examination by the Committee at its 31st session in 2007;

11. Decides to retain Simien National Park (Ethiopia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 30 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-06/30.COM/7A and WHC-06/30.COM/7A.Add.Rev),

2. Maintains the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:

   • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 30 COM 7A.22)

   • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, (Decision 30 COM 7A.23)

   • Azerbaijan, Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Decision 30 COM 7A.29

   • Benin, Royal Palaces of Abomey (Decision 30 COM 7A.16)

   • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.1)

   • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 30 COM 7A.31)

   • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.2)

   • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.3)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.8)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.6)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Virunga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.7)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Garamba National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.4)

   • Democratic Rep. of the Congo Salonga National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.5)

   • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 30 COM 7A.19)

   • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.9)

   • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 30 COM 7A.15)

   • India, Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (Decision 30 COM 7A.13)

   • Islamic Republic of Iran, Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Decision 30 COM 7A.25)

   • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 30 COM 7A.20)

   • Jerusalem, Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Decision 30 COM 7A.34)

   • Nepal, Kathmandu Valley (Decision 30 COM 7A.26)

   • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 30 COM 7A.10)

   • Pakistan, Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Decision 30 COM 7A.27)

   • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 30 COM 7A.32)

   • Philippines, Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Decision 30 COM 7A.28)

   • United Republic of Tanzania, Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (Decision 28 COM 7A.17)

   • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 30 COM 7A.14)

   • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 30 COM 7A.33)

   • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 30 COM 7A.21)