Protection and sustainable use of biodiversity

Project description

Title: Protection and sustainable use of natural resources: biodiversity
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Ethiopia
Lead executing agency: Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Climate Change
Overall term: 2015 to 2019



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, the biodiversity has diminished dramatically. Under the pressure of a rapidly growing population, nature reserves are being used as pasture land and natural resources ruthlessly exploited. The increase in fuelwood demand (120 million cubic metres in 2017) has led to a significant reduction in forest area.

In order to protect the remaining biodiversity resources, the Government of Ethiopia has designated 14 per cent of the country’s territory as protected areas. Furthermore, it organises every year large-scale reforestation campaigns to avail fuelwood supply. However, only half of the planted seedlings survive. Responsibility for managing the protected areas and forests 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 and regional authorities successfully implement strategies and measures for the conservation and sustainable use of protected areas and forests, thereby improving the living conditions of the local population.



The project strengthens the institutions responsible for the protection of Ethiopia’s biodiversity and forests through capacity building and technical advice. For this, the project is active in five national parks, two protected forests and two biosphere reserves in four regions. On site, the project supports the local population through the promotion of income-generating value chains such as honey, dwarf bananas, turmeric and black pepper, and through the restoration of forest landscapes (FLR). In the long term, this will allow the people to benefit from the ecological and economic services provided by forests; for example water storage, erosion protection, improved soil quality and production of wood and non-wood products, and reduce the country’s dependency on timber imports. 
Furthermore, the project is facilitating the exchange of knowledge and experiences between national and international actors involved in the protection of biodiversity and forests. For this, network activities are promoted, and the establishment of an interactive information and knowledge platform is supported.



At the national level, the project has successfully initiated an organisational development process within the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority and concluded an analysis of the protected area system. By the latter, an important basis for a harmonisation of structural arrangements between institutions involved in nature conservation is set. At the regional level, two organisational units for the management of biosphere reserves were established and the capacities of forest enterprises strengthened. In the Amhara Forest Enterprise, the employees improved and applied their competences in establishing forest inventories. At the local level, four management plans for protected areas and forests were finalised in collaboration with all stakeholders, three participatory land use plans were created in communities adjoining protected areas and approximately 1,600 households benefited from additional income from the production of honey, black pepper seedlings, dwarf bananas and turmeric.