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Simien National Park

Ethiopia
Factors affecting the property in 2016*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Other Threats:

    Declining populations of Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf and other large mammal species

Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Identity, social cohesion, changes in local population and community
  • Land conversion
  • Livestock farming / grazing of domesticated animals
  • Other Threats: Declining populations of Walia ibex, Ethiopian wolf and other large mammal species

 

Threats for which the property was inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger
  • Depletion of the Walia ibex population and of other large mammals
  • Phenomenon of encroachment
  • Impacts of road construction
Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger
Corrective Measures for the property
Timeframe for the implementation of the corrective measures
Not yet established
UNESCO Extra-Budgetary Funds until 2016

Total amount granted: USD 100,000 (2012-2015) in support of community conservation and development of the grazing pressure reduction strategy (Spain and Netherlands) with important co-financing from Global Environment Fund (GEF)

International Assistance: requests for the property until 2016
Requests approved: 10 (from 1978-2013)
Total amount approved : 323,171 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2016

On 3 February 2016, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report, which is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/9/documents/ and addresses conservation issues as follows:

  • Voluntary relocation of 418 households from Gich village is underway through a participatory process with stakeholders;
  • While some donors have already supported the development of alternative livelihoods for the people living in immediate vicinity of the park (UNDP through the Community Management of Protected Areas Conservation initiative, Austrian Development Cooperation, the German Development Bank, the Japanese International Cooperation Agency), more funding needs to be mobilized to implement the livelihood improvements strategies, particularly for the relocated community, and the grazing pressure reduction strategy (GPRS);
  • In partnership with the African Wildlife Foundation (AWF) and UNESCO, and with financial support from the UNESCO/Netherlands Funds-in-Trust, development of the GPRS has been finalised through a participatory process and designates 92% of the property as a no grazing zone, and the remaining 8% as sustainable resource use zone. The no grazing zone has therefore currently been extended from 37% to 70% of the park;
  • A partnership has been established between the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and AWF to manage the property;
  • The Simien Mountains Community Tourism Charity Association (SIMCOT-CA) has been established to lead community based tourism. Tourism facilities have been improved, tourist numbers have continued to rise, and the local communities are increasingly benefiting from the revenue generated;
  • Construction of the Debark – Mekane-Birhan – Dilyibza realignment road is underway but was delayed. The Debark – Adi arkay – Shire road realignment option is under discussion;
  • A park gate has been constructed at Sawrie on the main road from Debark to the property to monitor traffic levels and to restrict use to daylight hours;
  • Research conducted by students found the populations of Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf to be increasing, but the State Party is currently looking for funding to commission a more detailed independent scientific study to assess their status, composition and distribution;
  • Three applications to develop eco-lodges in the park have been received by EWCA, and potential sites have been selected. The proposed developments are undergoing an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for review by EWCA and other stakeholders before final approval by the Ethiopian Environmental Protection Authority (EPA). The State Party reassures that the final EIA will be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review;
  • Measures are being taken to limit disease transmission such as through close collaboration with vets and the implementation of zero tolerance policy to domestic dogs.
Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2016

It should be noted that the ongoing voluntary relocation of the Gich village community to Debark town is continuing. An independent study has assessed the process to have been in line with national and international standards, construction of new housing is nearing completion, land plots have been made available and the majority of households received compensation payments. It is welcomed that international donors are supporting livelihood and property management programmes, but significant international financial support is still required to provide alternative livelihood opportunities for the people living in the immediate vicinity of the park, and in particular those relocated.

It is welcomed that joint implementation of the grazing pressure reduction strategy (GPRS), which has been developed through a broad stakeholder engagement, is well underway. It is a major accomplishment in addressing overgrazing, provisions of alternative livelihoods, law enforcement and enhanced monitoring of the property, and enables the authorities to meet one of the outstanding corrective measures requested by the Committee (34 COM 7A.9). Long-term investments should be continued to ensure effective implementation with key stakeholders, including the communities.

Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf populations appear to have increased, however a more detailed independent study in line with the Committee’s recommendation (Decision 39 COM 7A.10) remains necessary, and the State Party’s stated commitment is welcomed. The State Party could consider the possibility of requesting International Assistance to support this study.

It is recommended that the Committee welcome the construction of the gate to restrict and monitor traffic, and encourage the State Party to speed up the realignment of roads. A map with all existing and proposed roads would be beneficial to ensure a common understanding of their locations, especially in relation to the extended park boundaries.

Further clarification on the exact location of the proposed eco-lodge developments inside the park is required to determine any potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property under both criteria (vii) and (x). It is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to ensure that the EIA includes a thorough assessment of impacts on OUV in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit the report to the World Heritage Centre for review before any decisions are made that would be difficult to reverse.

To conclude, the State Party has made significant progress in implementing most of the corrective measures and towards achieving the indicators for the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR). However, further progress is required to ensure the financial sustainability of the alternative livelihood programmes and the GPRS.

It should be noted that the State Party has not provided any update on its intentions to submit a request for modification of the property boundaries to harmonize them with the extended park boundaries. It is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to complete the International Assistance project approved to prepare a proposal for a significant boundary modification for the property and submit it to the World Heritage Centre, as requested since Decision 35 COM 7A.9.

In view of the significant progress reported by the State Party in implementing the corrective measures, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to assess progress towards achieving the DSOCR. 

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2016
40 COM 7A.43
Simien National Park (Ethiopia) (N 9)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.10, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Takes note that the on-going voluntary relocation of the Gich community is nearing completion, and requests the State Party to ensure that the remaining compensations and housing contructions are fully completed, and the implementation of the strategies for alternative livelihoods are continued;
  4. Welcomes the funding provided by different donors to support the development of alternative livelihood opportunities for the people living in the immediate vicinity of the park, and calls on further donors to support these initiatives to ensure their sustainability in the long term;
  5. Notes with appreciation the completion of the grazing pressure reduction strategy through stakeholder engagement and the timely initiation of its implementation, and also requests the State Party to secure investments and keep the World Heritage Centre updated on progress with the strategy’s implementation;
  6. Notes that a recent study found an increase in Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf populations, and encourages the State Party to apply for International Assistance to commission a more detailed independent study in line with Committee Decision 39 COM 7A.10;
  7. Also notes that a gate has been constructed at Sawrie to restrict and monitor road use and further requests the State Party to accelerate the delayed realignment of roads crossing the property to reduce the pressure on the existing road through the property and to submit a map with all existing and proposed roads;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to clarify the location of the proposed eco-lodge developments inside the park, and to ensure that the relevant Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) include a thorough assessment of the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit the report to the World Heritage Centre for review before any decisions are made, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a proposal for the modification of the property’s boundaries through the preparation of a new nomination, as per Decision 35 COM 7A.9, in order to harmonize the boundaries of the property with the new boundaries of the national park;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to assess progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and towards meeting the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to retain Simien National Park (Ethiopia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
40 COM 8C.2
Update of the list of World Heritage in Danger (retained sites)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined the state of conservation reports of properties inscribed on the List of World Heritage in Danger (WHC/16/40.COM/7A, WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add and WHC/16/40.COM/7A.Add.2),
  2. Decides to retain the following properties on the List of World Heritage in Danger:
  • Afghanistan, Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley (Decision 40 COM 7A.26)
  • Afghanistan, Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam (Decision 40 COM 7A.27)
  • Belize, Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System (Decision 40 COM 7A.32)
  • Bolivia (Plurinational State of), City of Potosí (Decision 40 COM 7A.1)
  • Central African Republic, Manovo-Gounda St Floris National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.34)
  • Chile, Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works (Decision 40 COM 7A.2)
  • Côte d'Ivoire, Comoé National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.35)
  • Côte d'Ivoire / Guinea, Mount Nimba Strict Nature Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.36)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Garamba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.37)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kahuzi-Biega National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.38)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Okapi Wildlife Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.39)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Salonga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.40)
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo, Virunga National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.41)
  • Egypt, Abu Mena (Decision 40 COM 7A.9)
  • Ethiopia, Simien National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.43)
  • Georgia, Bagrati Cathedral and Gelati Monastery (Decision 40 COM 7A.28)
  • Honduras, Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.33)
  • Indonesia, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.48)
  • Iraq, Ashur (Qal'at Sherqat) (Decision 40 COM 7A.10)
  • Iraq, Hatra (Decision 40 COM 7A.11)
  • Iraq, Samarra Archaeological City (Decision 40 COM 7A.12)
  • Old City of Jerusalem and its Walls (site proposed by Jordan) (Decision 40 COM 7A.13)
  • Madagascar, Rainforests of the Atsinanana (Decision 40 COM 7A.44)
  • Mali, Timbuktu (Decision 40 COM 7A.6)
  • Mali, Tomb of Askia (Decision 40 COM 7A.7)
  • Niger, Air and Ténéré Natural Reserves (Decision 40 COM 7A.45)
  • Palestine, Birthplace of Jesus: Church of the Nativity and the Pilgrimage Route, Bethlehem (Decision 40 COM 7A.14)
  • Palestine, Palestine: Land of Olives and Vines – Cultural Landscape of Southern Jerusalem, Battir (Decision 40 COM 7A.15)
  • Panama, Fortifications on the Caribbean Side of Panama: Portobelo-San Lorenzo (Decision 40 COM 7A.3)
  • Peru, Chan Chan Archaelogical Zone (Decision 40 COM 7A.4)
  • Senegal, Niokolo-Koba National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.46)
  • Serbia, Medieval Monuments in Kosovo (Decision 40 COM 7A. 30)
  • Solomon Islands, East Rennell (Decision 40 COM 7A.49)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Aleppo (Decision 40 COM 7A.16)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Bosra (Decision 40 COM 7A.17)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient City of Damascus (Decision 40 COM 7A.18)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Ancient Villages of Northern Syria (Decision 40 COM 7A.19)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Crac des Chevaliers and Qal’at Salah El-Din (Decision 40 COM 7A.20)
  • Syrian Arab Republic, Site of Palmyra (Decision 40 COM 7A.21)
  • Uganda, Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi (Decision 40 COM 7A.8)
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Liverpool – Maritime Mercantile City (Decision 40 COM 7A.31)
  • United Republic of Tanzania, Selous Game Reserve (Decision 40 COM 7A.47)
  • United States of America, Everglades National Park (Decision 40 COM 7A.50)
  • Venezuela, Coro and its Port (Decision 40 COM 7A.5)
  • Yemen, Historic Town of Zabid (Decision 40 COM 7A.23)
  • Yemen, Old City of Sana’a (Decision 40 COM 7A.24)
  • Yemen, Old Walled City of Shibam (Decision 40 COM 7A.25).
Draft Decision: 40 COM 7A.43

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/16/40.COM/7A,
  2. Recalling Decision 39 COM 7A.10, adopted at its 39th session (Bonn, 2015),
  3. Takes note that the on-going voluntary relocation of the Gich community is nearing completion, and requests the State Party to ensure that the remaining compensations and housing contructions are fully completed, and the implementation of the strategies for alternative livelihoods are continued;
  4. Welcomes the funding provided by different donors to support the development of alternative livelihood opportunities for the people living in the immediate vicinity of the park, and calls on further donors to support these initiatives to ensure their sustainability in the long term;
  5. Notes with appreciation the completion of the grazing pressure reduction strategy through stakeholder engagement and the timely initiation of its implementation, and also requests the State Party to secure investments and keep the World Heritage Centre updated on progress with the strategy’s implementation;
  6. Notes that a recent study found an increase in Walia ibex and Ethiopian wolf populations, and encourages the State Party to apply for International Assistance to commission a more detailed independent study in line with Committee Decision 39 COM 7A.10;
  7. Also notes that a gate has been constructed at Sawrie to restrict and monitor road use and further requests the State Party to accelerate the delayed realignment of roads crossing the property to reduce the pressure on the existing road through the property and to submit a map with all existing and proposed roads;
  8. Requests furthermore the State Party to clarify the location of the proposed eco-lodge developments inside the park, and to ensure that the relevant Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs) include a thorough assessment of the potential impacts on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property in line with IUCN’s World Heritage Advice Note on Environmental Assessment, and to submit the report to the World Heritage Centre for review before any decisions are made, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  9. Reiterates its request to the State Party to submit a proposal for the modification of the property’s boundaries through the preparation of a new nomination, as per Decision 35 COM 7A.9, in order to harmonize the boundaries of the property with the new boundaries of the national park;
  10. Requests moreover the State Party to invite an IUCN Reactive Monitoring mission to the property, in order to assess progress in the implementation of the corrective measures and towards meeting the Desired state of conservation for the removal of the property from the List of World Heritage in Danger (DSOCR);
  11. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 February 2017, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 41st session in 2017;
  12. Decides to retain Simien National Park (Ethiopia) on the List of World Heritage in Danger.
Report year: 2016
Ethiopia
Date of Inscription: 1978
Category: Natural
Criteria: (vii)(x)
Danger List (dates): 1996-2017
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2016) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 40COM (2016)
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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