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

Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger

Adopted, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4085

Corrective measures identified

Adopted, see pages https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/1057  and  https://whc.unesco.org/en/decisions/4085

Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures

Not yet established

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

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1978-2013)
Total amount approved: USD 323,171
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

2001, 2006 and 2009 : joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring missions 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

a)  Declining populations of Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf 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 https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2013

On 15 March 2013, the State Party submitted a comprehensive report on the state of conservation of the property, addressing remaining corrective measures that had not been completed at the time of the joint World Heritage Centre/IUCN reactive monitoring mission in October 2009, as well as other recommendations of the 2006 and 2009 monitoring missions.

a)  Improve the on-the-ground demarcation of the proposed extension of the property and finalize its gazetting into national law

The State Party reports that the proposal to legalize the new park boundaries has been sent to the Council of Ministers for final approval and  are expected to be gazetted by the House of Parliament within three months (i.e. by May 2013). The State Party acknowledges that after re-gazetting, an important step will be to request a modification of the boundaries of the World Heritage site in order to coincide with the newly established park boundaries, as the new areas included are critical parts of the range of the Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf, which justify the property’s inscription under criterion (x). The World Heritage Centre notes that a request for international assistance to provide consultant support for preparing the boundary modification request has been approved by the Chairperson of the World Heritage Committee on 26 February 2013. Funds have been decentralized to the UNESCO office in Addis Abeba.

b)  Review the Grazing Pressure Reduction Strategy, identify elements of it for immediate implementation under existing projects and programmes, and seek additional support for implementation of other priority actions

The State Party notes that the necessary financial means to implement the grazing reduction strategy, and in particular developing a zoning scheme in an integrated approach with participation of local stakeholders are still lacking. In the meantime the State Party, with support from Austria, is taking measures to reduce grazing pressure within the property, through on-farm fodder production, introduction of zero-grazing (cut-and-carry) livestock management techniques and introduction of improved livestock breeds. In addition, park patrolling has been intensified to restrict livestock grazing in core wildlife areas. Animal health clinics have also been constructed and equipped in the buffer zone of the park, which are offering vaccinations as well as other treatments for livestock in and around the park and are instrumental in controlling diseases, including measures against the transmission of rabies from domestic dogs potentially threatening the Ethiopian wolf.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN reiterate the importance of introducing the zoning foreseen in the grazing strategy and recall that the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage In Danger (DSOCR) requests the establishment of no-grazing zones covering 30% of the park area, and ‘forage harvesting zones’ (for cut-and-carry forage production) covering a further 20% of the park.

c)  Develop alternative livelihood opportunities for those currently living within the park to enable a systematic reduction in the amount of illegal cultivation and the number of park residents

The State Party reports that the alternative livelihood promotion intervention activities carried out by the Ethiopian Government and the Austrian Government funded project are starting to show results in that some of the off-farm trainees have created assets and eventually some members of the local communities decided to move to nearby towns in search of better living. Both Federal and Regional States remain fully committed towards reducing the number of park residents by providing alternative options to the affected communities, but the low level of funding available has so far limited the results, and so far the successful voluntary relocation in 2008/9 of residents from Akwasiye Village has not yet been replicated elsewhere. The livelihood project proposal developed about six years ago is believed to need revision, and the State Party considers that with half of the originally proposed amount of USD 8.7 million, it could make a significant difference in creating alternative livelihood options for the community living inside the park and ensuring sound conservation of the property.

d)  Donor conference

The State Party reports that together with the World Heritage Centre and other partners it successfully organised a donor conference in Addis Abeba on 30 October 2012 in order to seek the necessary funding for implementation of the grazing and alternative livelihood strategies, which are key to fulfilling the conditions set out in the corrective measures. It concluded that almost all the invited governmental, non-governmental, private and international organizations and individuals who attended the conference showed their willingness to participate and play their own role depending on their area of interest. The World Heritage Centre notes the continued support from the Austrian Development Cooperation for the property. Following the donor conference, the World Heritage Centre with support from Spain and UNDP Small Grant Facility in Ethiopia, has been working with the State Party to set up community conservation activities at the site using the experience of the COMPACT project, which successfully piloted such activities in pilot sites around the world.

e)  Other conservation issues – wildlife population growth, road re-alignment, and management capacity

The State Party reports that numbers of key wildlife species have continuously increased over the past 10 years as a regular internal census shows, with current population number estimated at 899 Walia ibex and 102 Ethiopian wolf. It considers that the observed growth indicates ongoing progress with the improvement of the park’s management.

The State Party reports that a re-alignment of the Debark - Mekan Berhan - Dilyibza Road is being constructed by the Ethiopian Roads Authority, thus avoiding the current stretch between Buyit Ras and the Bwahit Pass, which is passing through the fragile afromontane habitats of the park. The report further notes that another alternative alignment is also being discussed for the main road from Debark to Adi Arkay, currently crossing the Lemalimo area which was included in the revised park boundaries.

Finally, the State Party reports that emphasis continues towards improving park management capacity, and that Government budget allocation for the Park has quadrupled from 2004/05 to 2011/12, when it reached over 2.2 million Ethiopian Birr (equivalent to 118,000 USD), against an income from tourism (approximately 17,000 visitors per year) reaching nearly 9 million ETB (equivalent to USD 480,000), which is about equally shared by government and local organizations. 

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre and IUCN

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN recommend that the World Heritage Committee welcome the State Party’s efforts to implement the outstanding corrective measures. They note that the re-gazettal of the park boundaries is imminent and are willing to provide advice to prepare the boundaries modification request for the property once the re-gazettal has been completed and for which international assistance from the World Heritage Fund has been approved.

The World Heritage Centre and IUCN welcome the successful organization of the donor conference and emphasize that it will now be important for the State Party to follow up with the interested donors and develop concrete projects in support of the implementation of the alternative livelihoods and grazing strategies. They highlight that it is crucial to secure the additional financial resources needed to implement the remaining corrective measures to reduce the grazing pressure, cultivation and the numbers of residents in the property in order to secure the long-term ecological integrity of the property and to create the conditions to remove the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger.

They welcome the decision of the State Party to revise the initial livelihood project proposal in order to downscale its budget and make the best use of the available financial resources and also recall the recommendation of the 2009 monitoring mission to review the Grazing Pressure Reduction Strategy in order to identify priorities for immediate implementation. They suggest that the State Party could request international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to assist with this if deemed necessary.

They express the hope that following the donor conference the financial resources can be secured to achieve this and recommend that the State Party establishes a program to monitor and report on the six indicators of the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger to evaluate progress in restoring the ecological integrity and Outstanding Universal Value of the property. They recommend that the Committee retain the property on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 COM 7A.10

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add,
  2. Recalling Decision 36 COM 7A.9 , adopted at its 36th session (Saint-Petersburg, 2012),
  3. Welcomes the report by the State Party that the re-gazettal of the Simien Mountains National Park in its revised boundaries is almost completed as well as the efforts to strengthen the management effectiveness of the property and to implement the recommendations of previous monitoring missions;
  4. Also welcomes the successful organization of the donor conference and requests the State Party to follow up with the interested donors in order to mobilize the additional funding necessary to implement key outstanding corrective measures, in particular the grazing pressure reduction strategy and alternative livelihoods strategies;
  5. Notes with appreciation the support already provided by different donors to assist the State Party with the implementation of the corrective measures, in particular by the Austrian Development Cooperation, Spain and UNDP and renews its call to the International Community to increase the financial support for this effort;
  6. Urges the State Party to continue its current efforts to implement the three remaining outstanding corrective measures, as requested by the Committee in its previous decisions, in particular:
    1. finalize the gazettal of the extended park boundaries into national law,
    2. implement an effective grazing reduction strategy,
    3. provide alternative livelihoods for those who currently depend on cultivation and other forms of resource use within the property;
  7. Encourages the State Party to request international assistance from the World Heritage Fund to review the Grazing Pressure Reduction Strategy in order to identify priorities for immediate implementation as recommended by the 2009 monitoring mission;
  8. Requests the World Heritage Centre and IUCN to provide advice to the State Party on the preparation of a proposal for boundary modification of the World Heritage property once the re-gazettal is completed, to reflect the new boundaries of the National Park and for which financial assistance has been provided from the World Heritage Fund;
  9. Recommends that the State Party establish a programme to monitor and report on the six indicators of the Desired state of conservation for removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger to evaluate progress in restoring the ecological integrity and Outstanding Universal Value of the property;
  10. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2014 , a report on the state of conservation of the property, in particular on progress accomplished in the implementation of the outstanding corrective measures and the recommendations of the 2009 mission, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 38th session in 2014;
  11. Decides to retain the Simien National Park (Ethiopia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Decision Adopted: 37 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-13/37.COM/7A, WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add and WHC-13/37.COM/7A.Add.
  2. Decides to maintain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger: