Photo by: Hakan Pohlstrand
The 2009 General Management Plan lays out strategy and actions required to address the threats to the SMNP, including the strengthening of park management capacity. More broadly, recognizing that local communities are generally impoverished with few livelihood options, a holistic and coordinated approach is required in the Simien Mountains Ecosystem that will tackle the proximate and ultimate drivers of environmental degradation and food security and thus reverse the trend of unsustainable natural resource use. Biodiversity and the ecosystem services provided by the area will be conserved, thereby supporting the livelihoods of the local and wider communities.
This approach must include some key components.
- A strong SMNP authority at the ecosystem core:
To act as a catalyst and coordinate the development of the whole SME together with Amhara region, north Gondar Zone, woredas and kebele authorities, whilst protecting the core natural assets of the World Heritage Site
- Eco-agriculture and sustainable land management:
To build climate-change resilience by intensifying production on existing agricultural land thereby preventing further agricultural expansion into grazing land, whilst conserving soil, water, pollination services and nutrients and critical areas inside the park.
- Settlement Reduction inside SMNP:
Some households in the park have volunteered for resettlement in the nearby town of Debark and requesting compensation from the North Gondar Zone of Amahara National Regional State and the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority. The development of diversified conservation-compatible livelihoods (particularly small businesses/off farm activities), thereby also building livelihood resilience and encouraging movement of individual park residents to peri-urban areas
- Enhanced SMNP tourism management:
A key livelihood and sustainable financing initiative, but with limits on the impact of tourism in the park, thereby optimising revenue for park management and communities.
- Grazing Management:
To reduce and eventually remove the impact of livestock in the SMNP and Ecosystem, landuse planning will be undertaken in surrounding woredas, zonation of the SMNP and agreements formed with local communities to reduce grazing
- Animal husbandry and disease control:
To improve livestock productivity and associated income, but without increasing herd size and thus reducing overgrazing
To ensure that the next generation, acquire the qualifications and skills to pursue alternative non natural resource dependent livelihoods. Efforts should focus on on secondary level education and girls.
- Improved maternal, child and reproductive health:
A core long term strategy focussing on maternal and reproductive health to increase food security and reduce population growth, the primary driver of land conversion and environmental degradation
- Alternative fuels and building wood:
To reduce deforestation and the pressure on natural fuels within the ecosystem, by developing household woodlots and fuel-efficient technology.
- Empowerment of women and youth and development of good governance and civil society:
To improve well-being and environmental and community security, participation in ecosystem management in the long term