VII.16 Simen National Park (Ethiopia)
The Committee recalled that at its last session (Merida, 1996), it included this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger, on the basis of the findings of a technical mission to the site and IUCN reports, and approved a sum of US$ 30,000 for a meeting with stakeholders and donors, scheduled to be held in April 1997. The Bureau, at its twenty-first session in June 1997, learnt that the Regional Authorities in Bahr Dar, where Simen National Park is located, had disagreed with the Committee's decision to declare Simen as a World Heritage site in Danger; hence, they had indefinitely postponed the meeting of the stakeholders and donors and called upon the Central Government authorities in Addis Ababa to organise a discussion forum with UNESCO with a view to reversing the Committee's decision.
The Centre discussed the matter with the Ambassador of Ethiopia to France and the Permanent Delegate of Ethiopia to UNESCO, and sought his assistance in encouraging the Ethiopian authorities to view the Committee's decision in a positive light and to proceed with the convening of the meeting of the stakeholders and donors. The Permanent Delegate was in agreement with the fact that the Committee's decision must be viewed positively, and had agreed to discuss the matter with relevant authorities during his visit to Ethiopia during September-October 1997. No written information was received by the Centre, the Permanent Delegate however informed Centre staff orally that there had been no change in the views of the Regional Government in Bahr Dar to date.
In the absence of any further information, the Committee decided to retain Simen National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger and urged the Centre to continue to pursue its efforts to resolve this deadlock.