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Simien National Park

Ethiopia
Factors affecting the property in 2005*
  • Crop production
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Illegal activities
  • Land conversion
  • Other Threats:

    Declining populations of Walia ibex and Simien FoxSoil deterioration.

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports

Encroachment; increasing human population within the park; declining populations of Walia ibex and Simien Fox; deforestation and soil deterioration.

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2005
Requests approved: 8 (from 1978-2005)
Total amount approved : 263,171 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2005

A report was received from the State Party, dated 25 January 2005. The report provides details on the progress made in relation to the four benchmarks set by the Committee at its 25th session (Helsinki, 2001) for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger:

a) The realignment of the Park’s boundary to exclude the villages along the boundary was undertaken in 2003 and 2004. The demarcation of the boundary through the installation of permanent beacons, the production of a detailed map of the boundaries as well as the legal gazetting are planned to be carried out in 2005;

b) Mesarerya and Lemalino Wildlife Reserves have been integrated within the park and their mapping and re-gazetting is to be finalized in 2005;

c) The report states that as a result of concerted efforts of the Regional Government and all other stakeholders, the population of Walia ibex has more than doubled in the last ten years and is currently estimated at least 500 animals whilst the population of Simien Fox increased to 53 individuals. The report stresses that the Walia ibex population estimate was established through an independent survey conducted by the Centre for Development and Environment of the University of Bern, Switzerland, in cooperation with the Amhara Region Agricultural Research Institute. However, the Canid specialist group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission (SSC) has raised concerns over the reported numbers of Simien Fox and questions whether these are the result of an increase in population or improvements in methodologies of counting. IUCN is currently reviewing the methodologies used in assessing the population status of the two animal species through its SSC network and will report to the Committee at the next session;

d) The State Party reports that no progress was made with regard to the significant reduction of the human population within the park requested by the Committee, despite efforts to enrol the villagers in a voluntary resettlement programme and that villagers are unwilling to resettle in the lowland, where land is available. It is proposed that employment opportunities are created outside the park for the majority of the people, providing non farm income and that options are identified for those remaining in the park to ensure that no damage is done to the ecosystem.

Although considerable progress was made towards achieving the first three benchmarks set by the Committee, little progress was made on the issue of the human population within the property. The World Heritage Centre has received a request for Technical Cooperation from the Amhara National Regional State with the objective to develop an alternative livelihood strategy as a first step to find other ways to address this issue. At the time of the preparation of this document, additional details on the budget breakdown were requested from the State Party.

The State Party’s report further noted thatefforts are underway to re-align some portions of the Debark-Mekane Birhan rural roadto minimize negative impacts. Even though re-alignment of the road is still pending, strict road-impact mitigation measures are reported to have been carried out by the Park office and the Austrian Government-Supported Project in collaboration with Woreda and Kebele-level stakeholders. Efforts are also underway to encourage sustainable development in the buffer zone and areas around the park, as the prevailing poverty seems to be one of the main reasons for the pressure on the park resources. Activities on agricultural intensification, soil conservation, reforestation, livestock development in order to combat overgrazing, community based tourism development and the enhancement of the capacities of community institutions are implemented in the area mainly through the Ethiopian–Austrian integrated development project. The project also has supported the development of park infrastructure and has supplied equipment to the park staff.

Recent proposals to develop a tourist lodge in a potentially sensitive area at the border of the park have been brought to the attention of IUCN. It is informed that the authorities have chosen a site where water availability is low and is likely to impact further on an area that is already ecologically fragile. IUCN recommends that an environmental impact assessment should be undertaken to assess if such development is appropriate, what potential impacts it could have on the World Heritage property and if other options may exist.  

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2005
29 COM 7A.5
Simien National Park (Ethiopia)

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15A.4, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Congratulates the State Party of Ethiopia and in particular the Amhara National Regional State Government for the considerable efforts undertaken to improve the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in addressing the issues requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004);

4. Takes note of the State Party’s concern that the reduction of the human population within the park is very difficult to achieve under the prevailing conditions, despite efforts to initiate a voluntary resettlement programme;

5. Encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to develop an alternative livelihood strategy to address this issue and invites the State Party to complete its request for international assistance from the World Heritage Fund;

6. Requests the State Party to undertake the following additional steps:

a) map the extent of the agricultural encroachment within the park and monitor the level of encroachment annually;

b) restrict use of the area by domestic livestock;

c) undertake a household by household census of the people living within the park;

d) continue the policy of zero tolerance of domestic dogs;

e) set up a system to continuously monitor the human population in the property; and

f) consider strategic extensions to the park or its buffer zone to ensure that no further increase in agriculture, livestock and human populations occur;

7. Also requests the State Party to continue to cooperate with the Canid specialist group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission as well as other organizations (such as WildCODE, the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and Ethiopian Universities) to survey the population of Simien Fox at the property;

8. Further requests the State Party to invite a joint mission of UNESCO and IUCN to the property to assess progress and review the possibility of removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 30th session (Vilnius, 2006);

9. Further requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2006 a report on progress towards the achievement of the benchmarks set by the Committee for a removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger as well as on the implementation of additional recommendations by the Committee and to provide information on the development of a tourist lodge in the property;

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

29 COM 8C.2
New World Heritage List in Danger

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined the of state of conservation reports of properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC-05/29.COM/7A and WHC-05/29.COM/7A.Add),

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

  • Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Afghanistan)(Decision 29 COM 7A.20)
  • Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Afghanistan)(Decision 29 COM 7A.21)
  • Tipasa (Algeria) (Decision 29 COM 7A.16)
  • Walled City of Baku with the Shirvanshah's Palace and Maiden Tower (Azerbaijan) (Decision 29 COM 7A.28)
  • Royal Palaces of Abomey (Benin) (Decision 29 COM 7A.13)
  • Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Central African Republic)(Decision 29 COM 7A.1)
  • Comoé National Park (Côte d'Ivoire) (Decision 29 COM 7A.2)
  • Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Côte d'Ivoire/Guinea) (Decision 29 COM 7A.3)
  • Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Democratic Rep. of the Congo) (Decision 29 COM 7A.5)
  • Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Democratic Rep. of the Congo) (Decision 29 COM 7A.5)
  • Virunga National Park (Democratic Rep. of the Congo) (Decision 29 COM 7A.5)
  • Garamba National Park (Democratic Rep. of the Congo) (Decision 29 COM 7A.5)
  • Salonga National Park (Democratic Rep. of the Congo) (Decision 29 COM 7A.5)
  • Abu Mena (Egypt) (Decision 29 COM 7A.17)
  • Simien National Park (Ethiopia) (Decision 29 COM 7A.4)
  • Cologne Cathedral (Germany) (Decision 28 COM 7A.29)
  • Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Honduras) (Decision 29 COM 7A.12)
  • Group of Monuments at Hampi (India) (Decision 29 COM 7A.22)
  • Manas Wildlife Sanctuary (India) (Decision 29 COM 7A.9)
  • Bam and its Cultural Landscape (Islamic Republic of Iran) (Decision 29 COM 7A.23)
  • Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Iraq) (Decision 29 COM 7A.18)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (Jerusalem) (Decision 29 COM 7A.31)
  • Kathmandu Valley (Nepal ) (Decision 29 COM 7A.24)
  • Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Niger) (Decision 29 COM 7A.6)
  • Fort and Shalamar Gardens in Lahore (Pakistan) (Decision 29 COM 7A.25)
  • Chan Chan Archaeological Zone (Peru) (Decision 29 COM 7A.30)
  • Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Philippines) (Decision 29 COM 7A.26)
  • Djoudj National Bird Sanctuary (Senegal) (Decision 29 COM 7A.7)
  • Ichkeul National Park (Tunisia) (Decision 29 COM 7A.8)
  • Ruins of Kilwa Kisiwani and Ruins of Songo Mnara (United Republic of Tanzania) (Decision 28 COM 7A.15)
  • Everglades National Park (United States of America) (Decision 29 COM 7A.10)
  • Historic Town of Zabid (Yemen) (Decision 29 COM 7A.19)

Draft Decision: 29 COM 7A.5

The World Heritage Committee,

1. Having examined Document WHC-05/29.COM/7A,

2. Recalling its Decision 28 COM 15A.4, adopted at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004),

3. Congratulates the State Party and in particular the Amhara National Regional State Government for the considerable efforts undertaken to improve the state of conservation of the property and on the progress made in addressing the issues requested by the Committee at its 28th session (Suzhou, 2004);

4. Takes note of the State Party’s concern that the reduction of the human population within the park is very difficult to achieve under the prevailing conditions, despite efforts to initiate a voluntary resettlement programme;

5. Encourages the State Party to continue its efforts to develop an alternative livelihood strategy to address this issue and invites the State Party to complete its request for International Assistance from the World Heritage Fund;

6. Recommends to undertake the following additional steps:

a) map the extent of the agricultural encroachment within the park and monitor the level of encroachment annually,

b) restrict use of the area by domestic livestock,

c) undertake a household by household census of the people living within the Park,

d) continue the policy of zero tolerance of domestic dogs,

e) set up a system to continuously monitor the human population in the property,

f) consider strategic extensions to the park or its buffer zone to ensure that no further increase in agriculture, livestock and human populations occur;

7. Requests the State Party to continue to cooperate with the Canid specialist group of IUCN’s Species Survival Commission as well as other organizations (such as WildCODE, the Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme, the Frankfurt Zoological Society and Ethiopian Universities) to survey the population of Simien Fox at the property;

8. Requests the State Party to invite a joint UNESCO/IUCN mission to the property to assess progress and review the possibility of removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger at its 30th session in 2006;

9. Further requests the State Party to submit by 1 February 2006 a report on the progress towards the achievement of the benchmarks set by the Committee for a removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger as well as additional recommendations by the Committee and to provide information on the development of a tourist lodge in the property;

10.Decides to retain Simien National Park on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Report year: 2005
Ethiopia
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2017
Documents examined by the Committee
arrow_circle_right 29COM (2005)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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