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Enhancing the implementation capacity of the 1972 Convention at Natural World Heritage sites

© Ko Hon Chiu Vincent

Ethiopia is among the African countries, which have nine sites inscribed on the World Heritage List. Eight cultural sites and only one natural property, the Simien National Park inscribed in 1978.

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), the government authority mandated with coordinating the management, conservation and promotion of the Ethiopian natural sites, is also in charge of developing nomination file for new inscriptions. EWCA has therefore been working on developing nomination file for Bale Mountains National Park and securing a critical extension of Simien National Park.

Apart from the challenge of increasing the number of natural World Heritage sites in Ethiopia, EWCA is also facing conservation and management challenges and the needs to develop sustainable tourism activities to support the local communities. Given these immense responsibilities, EWCA expressed the crucial need for capacity building training to effectively implement the World heritage Convention.

This project will therefore respond to their needs, by offering training workshops based on existing resources developed by UNESCO and its partners and using UNESCO and its Advisory Bodies’ network of World Heritage experts and professionals as resource persons.

The project will strengthen the technical and institutional capacities of the national authorities as well as the representatives of governmental organizations and NGOs in charge of safeguarding Ethiopian sites, by providing with the in-depth understanding of the World heritage convention and explore concepts and tools in use under the Convention.

The project will also contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 11.4; Goal 8.3; Targets 8.9 and 12.b), will take into account gender equality, and will aim to be gender transformative by encouraging the full participation of female site staffs as well as the development of activities to promote women’s empowerment and active involvement in the conservation and management of natural sites.


The project will:

  • Aim at improving the representation of natural heritage sites on the World Heritage List, especially by advancing with drafting the nomination dossier for Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP).
  • Enhance management and conservation capacity at World Heritage properties, with effective risk management, increased community involvement and direct economic benefits to local communities.
  • Establish a National Committee with experts representing both natural and cultural World Heritage institutes to monitor and implement national goals and activities related to the objectives set within the national Action Plan.

The project was made possible thanks to the financial support of the Chinese Government's Fund for Capacity Building and Cooperation for World Heritage in Africa.

Progress made

  • The activity will soon be implemented by the UNESCO Addis Ababa office in collaboration with the World Heritage Centre.

Name of the property: Simien National Park, Bale Mountains National Park (Tentative List) ; Holqa Sof Omar: Natural and Cultural Heritage (Sof Omar: Caves of Mystery) (Tentative List) ; Melka Kunture and Balchit (Tentative List) ;

State party: Ethiopia

Amount: 25,000 USD

Implementation period: October 2020 – March 2021 (6 months)


  • Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA)