RAPID WASTE REMOVAL TO RESTORE SIMIEN NATIONAL PARK, ETHIOPIA
Following the recent two-year conflict in Northern Ethiopia, large quantities of abandoned waste were identified in the Simien National Park. The Rapid Response Facility (RRF), a UNESCO World Heritage Centre and Fauna and Flora International (FFI) joint initiative providing small grants in emergency situations affecting biodiversity within natural World Heritage sites mobilized US$40,000 to engage communities in a rapid clean-up operation in order to protect the health of the national park.
The Simien National Park (SMNP) in Northern Ethiopia is a spectacular landscape, where massive erosion over millions of years has created jagged mountain peaks, deep valleys and sharp precipices dropping some 1,500m. The Park is of global significance for biodiversity, home to globally threatened species including the iconic Walia ibex, a wild mountain goat found nowhere else in the world, the Ethiopian wolf, the rarest canid species in the world, and the endemic gelada monkey.
Credit: India Schneider-Crease
The solid waste generated in the park during the recent armed conflict was beyond the Park’s infrastructure capabilities and resulted in accumulation of plastic bottles, makeshift shelters, food waste, packaging, and more. This waste, if not removed, could endanger the health of the Park through potential consumption by wildlife, soil erosion, damaging microbial transmission, and potential for longer-term harm to tourism and community income.
An RRF grant was therefore awarded to support a massive clean-up of waste from the Park with the participation of more than 100 people from local communities and build new waste management infrastructure to increase the resiliency of the Park.
The grant also supported re-establishing community engagement and ownership following the conflict, as well as providing an additional benefit of financial relief to communities.
Posted August 2023