Protection and sustainable use of biodiversity
Title: Protection and sustainable use of natural resources: biodiversity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Lead executing agency: Environment, Forest and Climate Change Commission (EFCCC)
Overall term: 2019 to 2021
Ethiopia is home to a rich diversity of plant and animal species and is one of the world’s most important centres for the further development of crops such as coffee. However, biological diversity has diminished dramatically. The population is growing fast. The associated increase in the demand for firewood has led to a significant reduction in forested areas. At the same time, nature conservation areas are being used as pasture land and natural resources are being exploited ruthlessly.
In order to maintain levels of biodiversity, the Government of Ethiopia has designated 14 per cent of the country's territory as protected areas. For example, according to official figures, 350 million seedlings were planted in one day in July 2019. Often, however, less than half of seedlings survive the first two years after being planted. Responsibility for managing the forested land and nature conservation areas is spread across multiple national and regional authorities at different levels. Laws and regulations are interpreted differently and are therefore not being properly implemented.
The relevant national authorities and regional governments successfully implement strategies and measures for the conservation and sustainable use of protected areas and forests, thus improving the living conditions of the local population. Also the government organises large-scale reforestation campaigns every year.
The project strengthens the institutions responsible for protecting the biodiversity and forests of Ethiopia through capacity building and technical advice. Following an initial project phase (from 2015 to 2019), the second phase is focusing its work on three national parks and one biosphere reserve in two regions in Ethiopia. The project supports the local park administration in building more efficient management systems. Moreover, opportunities for the local population to earn an income are also being created, for example in the beekeeping sector and in the production of fruit and spices. In the long term, this will allow the people to benefit from the ecological and economic services provided by intact forested areas. These include the storage of water, protection against erosion, improvement of soil quality and the production of wood and non-wood products. In the long run, there is a chance to reduce the country's dependence on timber imports.
During the initial project phase, the project successfully initiated an organisational development process within the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and concluded an analysis of the protected area system at the national level. This created an important basis for harmonising the structural arrangements between the institutions involved in nature conservation. At the regional level, two organisational units for the management of biosphere reserves have been set up and the capacities of forest companies strengthened. In the Amhara Forest Enterprise, the employees improved and applied their competences in establishing forest inventories. At the local level, the ecological monitoring system was digitalised in three parks. In addition, around 2,000 households benefited from the pilot measures and the new approaches for producing honey, pepper seedlings, dwarf bananas and turmeric. Building on experience garnered in the first project phase, the second phase is continuing successful approaches and expanding them.