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Simien National Park

Ethiopia
Factors affecting the property in 1998*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Land conversion
  • Other Threats:

    Loss of biodiversity

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Presence of armed groups
  • Loss of biodiversity
  • Encroachment at the borders of the site
  • Road construction
International Assistance: requests for the property until 1998
Requests approved: 7 (from 1978-1996)
Total amount approved : 233,171 USD
Information presented to the Bureau of the World Heritage Committee in 1998

At its last session, the Committee was informed of the fact that the Regional Authorities in Bahr Dar, where Simen National Park is located, had expressed their disagreement with the decision of the Committee, taken at its twentieth session (Merida, 1996), to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee urged the Centre to consult and co-operate with the Permanent Delegate for Ethiopia at UNESCO and to encourage the Bahr Dar authorities to view the Committee's decision in a positive manner and proceed with the organisation of the workshop for stakeholders and donors for which the Committee had approved a sum of US$ 30,000 in December 1996. The Centre is continuing its negotiations with all the relevant Ethiopian authorities, both in Paris and Addis Ababa, and is exploring the possibility for fielding a staff-mission to Ethiopia in order to enter into an open dialogue with all relevant authorities in Addis Ababa and Bahr Dar and resolve the problem and expedite the organisation of the workshop for stakeholders and donors.

Action Required

The Bureau, based on additional information that may be available at the time of the twenty second session of the Bureau, may recommend appropriate actions to the consideration of the State Party and/or the Committee as well as the Centre and IUCN.

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 1998

The Committee may wish to recall the fact that the Regional authorities in Bahir Dar, where this site is located, had expressed their disagreement with the decision of the twentieth session of the Committee (Merida, 1996), to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau, at its twenty-second ordinary session (June 1998) noted with satisfaction the efforts of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Ethiopia and the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa, to provide more information to the Bahir Dar authorities on the meaning and implications of the Committee’s decision to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau had urged the Centre to continue negotiations with all relevant Ethiopian authorities and to resolve the ‘communication’ problem and to expedite the organization of the stakeholders’ workshop for which the Committee had approved a sum of US$ 30,000 in 1996.

A member of the Centre staff who undertook a mission to Ethiopia, was informed that a ‘stakeholders’ meeting had in fact been convened in Gondar on 24-25 June 1998, and that the responsibilities for the management of the Park had been transferred from the Central Authorities to the region. The meeting had led to the formation of a ‘dialogue-group’ of various national and regional offices to discuss follow-up activities for the conservation of the Park. The meeting had called for the organization of a second stakeholders’ seminar, before June 1999, in collaboration with UNDP, Austria, UNESCO, UNCDF, Bahir Dar Regional Heads and donors, to follow-up on the outcome of the first meeting held in June 1998. The objectives of the second stakeholders’ meeting would be to establish a strategy for: (i) minimizing the human population inside the park, estimated at 8-10,000 people at present; (ii) rehabilitation of the Park and re-establishing populations of selected species, like the Walia Ibex which have moved out of the park due to human presence and considerable areas of the Park being under cultivation; (iii) creation of an alternative to a road which currently goes through the Park; and (iv) establishment of a framework for co­ordination, including the possible setting up of an Inter-Agency Committee where donor participation will be invited, for the sustainable development of the Simen mountains ecosystem.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 1998
22 BUR V.A.6
Simen National Park (Ethiopia)

The Bureau recalled that the Regional authorities in Bahir Dar, where Simen National Park is located, had expressed their disagreement with the decision of the Committee, taken at its twentieth session (Merida, 1996), to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Bureau noted with satisfaction the efforts undertaken by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Ethiopia and the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa to provide more information to the Bahir Dar authorities on the meaning and implications of the Committee’s decision to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Bureau encouraged the Centre to co-operate with the Ethiopian authorities and the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa and continue to urge the Bahir Dar authorities to view the Committee’s 1996 decision to include Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger in a positive manner and organise, as quickly as possible, the Stakeholders’ Workshop for which the Committee had approved a sum of US$ 30,000 in 1996. The Bureau recommended that the Committee retain Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger and authorised the Chairperson to re-allocate US$ 30,000 from the 1998 budget for Technical Co-operation, in the event the Stakeholders’ Workshop could be organised.

22 COM VII.6
SOC: Simen National Park (Ethiopia)

VII.6 Simen National Park (Ethiopia) 

The Committee recalled the fact that the regional authorities in Bahir Dar, where this site is located, had disagreed with its decision to include this site in the List of World Heritage in Danger in 1996. The Committee was informed that the Bureau, at its twenty-second session (June 1998) had noted with satisfaction the efforts of the Department of Wildlife and National Parks of Ethiopia and the UNESCO Office in Addis Ababa, to provide more information to the Bahir Dar authorities on the meaning and implications of the Committee's decision to include Simen National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee took note of the fact that a stakeholders' meeting had been convened in Gondar on 24-25 June 1998, and that the responsibilities for the management of the Park had been transferred from the Central Authorities to the region. The meeting had led to the formation of a 'dialogue-group' of various national and regional offices to discuss follow-up activities for the conservation of the Park. The meeting had called for the organization of a second stakeholders' seminar, before June 1999, in collaboration with UNDP, Austria, UNESCO, UNCDF, Bahir Dar Regional Heads and donors, to follow-up on the outcome of the first meeting held in June 1998. The objectives of the second stakeholders' meeting would be to establish a strategy for:

(i) minimizing the human population inside the Park, estimated at 8-10,000 people at present;

(ii) rehabilitation of the Park and re-establishing populations of selected species, like the Walia Ibex which have moved out of the Park due to human presence and the cultivation of considerable areas of the Park;

(iii) creation of an alternative to a road which currently goes through the Park; and

(iv) establishment of a framework for co-ordination, including the possible setting up of an Inter-Agency Committee where donor participation will be invited, for the sustainable development of the Simen Mountains ecosystem.

The Committee recalled the fact that it had approved a sum of US$ 30,000 in 1996 for the organization of a stakeholders' meeting for the conservation of Simen which had not been utilized because the Regional authorities in Bahir Dar had disagreed with the Committee's decision to include the site in the List of World Heritage in Danger at that time. The Committee requested the Centre and IUCN to consult with the Ethiopian authorities regarding the use of the US$ 30,000 from the 1999 budget of the World Heritage Fund, either for the organization of the second stakeholders' meeting or for other strategic planning activities pertaining to the conservation and management of this site. The Committee decided to retain Simen National Park in the List of World Heritage in Danger.

The Committee may wish to adopt the following:

“The Committee decides to retain Simen in the List of World Heritage in Danger. The Committee commends the Ethiopian authorities for convening a stakeholders’ meeting to identify the basic components of a strategy for the sustainable development of the Simen mountains ecosystem, including the protection of the Simen National Park. The Committee requests the Centre and IUCN to co-operate with the Ethiopian authorities, and authorises the Centre to obtain the US$ 30,000, which the Committee approved in1996, from the 1999 budget of the World Heritage Fund, as a contribution to the organisation of the second stakeholders’ meeting before June 1999.”

Report year: 1998
Ethiopia
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2017
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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