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-present

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

Corrective measures identified

The following corrective measures were identified by the 2006 UNESCO/IUCN mission and adopted by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006). The mission also developed additional recommendations to improve the State of Conservation of the property.

a) Finalize the extension of the Simien Mountains National Park (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.

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

No precise timeframe was set so far although the Committee mentioned that the corrective measures could be implemented in the short term (1-2 years).

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 monitoring missions in 2001 and 2006.  

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

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

b) Increasing human populations 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 2007

From 10 to 27 May 2006, a UNESCO - IUCN monitoring mission visited the property. The results of the mission were presented orally to the 30th session of the Committee (Vilnius, 2006) and a summary is provided here.

The mission noted that significant progress had been achieved in implementing some of the corrective measures set by the Committee, in particular the re-alignment of the boundary to exclude villages (former benchmark 1), and the extension of the property to include Mesareya and Lemalimo Wildlife Reserve (former benchmark 2). The mission further noted that while these extensions had increased the effective conservation of a larger population of Walia ibex inside the park, 75% of the Simien fox population still remained outside the current boundaries and a further extension of the park towards the Silki Yared – Kiddis Yared Mountains and the Ras Dejen mountains would be necessary to fully achieve former benchmark 4. The mission concluded that the former benchmark 3, requiring a significant and sustainable reduction of people living inside the core area had not been achieved. The mission also recognized that livestock grazing is a serious concern for the integrity and conservation of the values of the property and had not been addressed in the corrective measures set by the Committee. Based on the recommendations of the mission, the Committee adopted four new corrective measures which could be used as benchmarks (see above). The mission further looked at a number of other critical issues such as the road passing through the property, a newly planned road in the vicinity of the proposed extension, the newly constructed lodge and the risk of disease transmission from livestock as well as the preparation of the management plan and tourism planning in the region and had provided specific recommendations on these issues, which had been included in the mission report.

On 21 February 2007, a report of the state of conservation of SMNP was submitted by the State Party. The report provides information on progress achieved in the implementation of the corrective measures adopted:

a) Finalize the extension of SMNP with the interlinking corridors

The report mentions that work on the demarcation of the extension to Ras Dejen is planned for the first half of 2007 and will be funded through the Austrian financed SMNP – Integrated Development Project. Consultations with the local communities are already underway and field work will start shortly. The report mentions that the critical issue of the relocation of the illegally installed Arqwaziye village, mentioned by the 2006 mission, will be negotiated during the demarcation process, and that villagers are expected to be willing to re-locate to a site along the road to Dilibza town, which is currently under construction.

b) Re-gazettment of the new park boundaries

The State Party notes that re-gazetment of the entire new boundary is planned once the extension to Ras Dejen is completed. It is expected that this re-gazetment could be completed in the next two years.

c) Develop a strategy and action plan to significantly reduce the impact of livestock grazing on the conservation of the property and secure funding for its implementation

Draft terms of reference for a short-time consultancy to develop this strategy have been prepared by the State Party, and both IUCN and UNESCO have provided technical comments. The consultant report states that the strategy could be developed in the next one to two years but that so far no funding for its implementation could be secured, given the fact that the future continuation of the Austrian project is not guaranteed.

d) Develop a strategy and action plan to support the development of alternative livelihoods for the people living within the park as well as its immediate vicinity and secure funding for its implementation

With financial support from the World Heritage Fund, an international consultant developed a detailed and comprehensive proposal for an alternative livelihood project. In the proposal, 30 different business types are studied and planned, which could create 725 jobs and benefit more than 3,800 people. It is believed that the implementation of the project would provide opportunities to the local communities which would encourage people to leave the park. The local communities are reported to support the plan. The major obstacle for its implementation is the projected cost of USD 8.7 million. The State Party, therefore, requests the support of UNESCO and IUCN to assist with fundraising for this project.

The State Party report further provides information on progress in implementing some of the other recommendations of the 2006 mission:

The report confirms that following the mission, the initially proposed route of the Bwahit – Dilyibza road across the Silki Yared – Kiddis Yared mountains, planned to be included in the further extension of SMNP, was banned by official letter of the President of the Amhara State Government and that the Regional Government had allocated additional funds to design and construct an alternative route through the valleys outside the proposed extension. The Centre and IUCN welcome this decision but note that there will be a need to closely monitor the traffic pressure on the Debark – Mekane Birhan road crossing the park to evaluate the additional traffic as a result of the road extension and if necessary take appropriate measures to control it.

In October 2006, the State Party provided the World Heritage Centre and IUCN a draft management plan prepared by a local consultant for comments. Whilst the draft provides a very complete description of the park, the World Heritage Centre and IUCN feet that the management objectives were not clearly referring to the OUV of the property and that the proposed zonation was unclear and failed to address the key issue of grazing in the property. The World Heritage Centre is currently trying to establish cooperation between the park authority and the Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) to provide further assistance with the finalisation of the management plan. FZS has a lot of experience in management planning and recently prepared a management plan for Mbale Mountains National Park in Ethiopia. At the time of preparation of this report, a team of FZS and the park authority, with support from the World Heritage Centre are conducting a joint mission to identify gaps in the draft management plan and develop a strategy and budget to finalise it.

The report further mentions that a Tourism Master Plan for the property is to be prepared in the coming months. The Centre through its tourism programme has already provided some technical advice to the State Party and is currently trying to identify ways to increase its technical assistance.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

N/A

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 7A.9

  The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-07/31.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 30 COM 7A.9, adopted at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006),
  3. Commends the Amhara Regional Government for its decision to re-align the planned Bwahit - Dilyibza road in order to avoid it crossing the proposed extension of the park in the Silki Yared - Kiddis Yared mountains and requests the State Party, in particular the Amhara Regional Government, to closely monitor the impact of the new road on the traffic through the park;
  4. Welcomes the efforts by the State Party and in particular the park authority to have initiated the implementation of the corrective measures set by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);
  5. Encourages the State Party, with the assistance of UNESCO and IUCN, to approach potential donors to allow for the implementation of the alternative livelihoods project and calls on international donors to support this project and other activities to rehabilitate the property;
  6. Request the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to continue to provide financial and technical assistance to the State Party, in cooperation with relevant partners, to implement the recommendations of the 2006 monitoring mission, in particular the finalisation of the management plan and of a Tourism Master Plan for the property;
  7. Requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft Statement of Outstanding Universal Value for the property, including the conditions of integrity, for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  8. Further requests the State Party, in consultation with the World Heritage Centre and IUCN, to develop a draft statement of the desired state of conservation for the property based on its Outstanding Universal Value;
  9. Requests the State Party to invite a joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN monitoring mission to the property to assess its state of conservation and the implementation of the corrective measures adopted by the Committee at its 30th session in view of a possible removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger;
  10. Further requests the State Party to provide the World Heritage Centre with an updated report by 1 February 2008 on the state of conservation of the property, including an update on progress with the implementation of the corrective measures set by the Committee at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006) as well as the other recommendations of the 2006 monitoring mission for examination by the Committee at its 32nd session in 2008;
  11. Decides to retain Simien National Park (Ethiopia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 31 COM 8C.2

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Following the examination of the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-07/31.COM/7A and WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.2, WHC-07/31.COM/7A.Add.3),

2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: