Bale Mountains National Park. General Management Plan

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1 Bale Mountains National Park General Management Plan

2 Compiled and edited by Frankfurt Zoological Society. Financial support provided by Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Conservation of Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project of the Institute of Biodiversity Photo acknowledgements: Martin Harvey, Delphin Ruché, Vincent Munier, Ian Rushworth and Alastair Nelson (front cover), Delphin Ruché (p.15), Vincent Munier (p. 23, 43, 112), Ian Rushworth (p.62) and Alastair Nelson (p.75, 91) ii

3 Foreword It is with great pleasure that I write to introduce the new Bale Mountains National Park General Management Plan and put it in the context of developments in Oromia, our country and internationally. In Ethiopia, the political climate has been changing and now environmental concerns have a seat at the political table. This is in recognition of our ultimate dependence on the environment and of the urgent need to implement conservation strategies to mitigate human impacts. Ethiopia is a signatory to a number of international conventions such as the Conservation of Biodiversity, the Ramsar Declaration and the Convention on International Trade of International Endangered Species. As such Ethiopia must be a leader amongst nations and fulfil these commitments to protect our National Heritage and biodiversity. National Parks are one tool to fulfill such commitments. Sovereign nations declare National Parks to preserve their Natural Heritage, to conserve representative portions of ecosystems or critical populations of endangered species and to protect ecosystems that provide vital environmental services to their nation. The Bale Mountains National Park is known by all Ethiopians, but its international significance is possibly less well understood. It is undoubtedly one of the most unique areas on Earth, with the largest piece of Afroalpine habitat that exists on our planet. It contains the second largest moist tropical forest and the only cloud forest in Ethiopia. With an altitudinal range from 4400 to 1500 metres, it harbours an enormous diversity of habitats. All of this has resulted in a unique ecosystem that contains such a high degree of endemism that it is the envy of international National Parks. It is estimated that if we were to lose the Bale Mountains more endemic mammals would go extinct than any similar sized area on our planet. Two of our most recognised species, the Ethiopian wolf and the mountain nyala, are safeguarded by the Bale Mountains National Park, with more than 50% of the total populations of both these endangered species occurring within its boundaries. This park is safeguarding our Ethiopian Natural Heritage. However, the Bale Mountains National Park has so much more than just unique, rare and endemic species. It provides the majority of the water to more than 10 million people in the lowlands. In the dry season this is their lifeblood. Its value does not stop there the Harenna Forest in the south of the park contains genetic stocks of wild coffee and 40% of Ethiopia s medicinal plants. A recent study estimated the value of our medicinal plants industry to be approximately 2 billion Ethiopian Birr annually, some 8% of our 2005 Federal budget. We must protect these genetic and economic resources. In addition, the Bale Mountains National Park contains sites such as horas, mountains and caves that are of cultural and spiritual significance to the people who have lived there for millennia. The Godantu pastoralist system is still practised by some inhabitants of the Bale Mountains who can trace their use of this area down the generations. Thus we can see that the Bale Mountains National Park more than fulfils all of the criteria required for the designation of a National Park. It is undoubtedly the most important conservation area in Ethiopia made all the more significant by its importance within the recently declared Afromontane conservation hotspot. We are thankful to those who 36 years ago had the foresight to declare this National Park to protect our Natural Heritage, and have thus helped to secure the livelihoods of millions of people. The Bale Mountains also undoubtedly fulfills the criteria for World Heritage Site listing. However, before achieving this status a ratified management plan that lays out the management vision and actions is required. Further, the government must commit itself to implementing this plan to secure the park in perpetuity. This opportunity is now in our hands. Unfortunately, the current reality on the ground is not so encouraging and the Park is under serious threat. Increasing human pressures have resulted in unsustainable and unmanaged use of natural resources. The park management has lacked the capacity to tackle these threats, and there was no logical approach or co-ordination to Park management. Our Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Foreword iii

4 Development therefore engaged with the Frankfurt Zoological Society and the Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project to develop a General Management Plan for the Park. A GMP is an essential tool that identifies management needs, sets priorities and organises longterm management strategies. When faced with limited resources a GMP allows managers to prioritise needs and allocate resources appropriately. In addition, a GMP provides continuity in management policy and practice, particularly when staff members are transferred. Possibly most importantly in this context, a GMP is an important fund-raising tool, especially as we work to secure long-term sustainable financing for the Bale Mountains National Park. I would like to thank everyone who has been involved in developing this GMP. They have used a logical and participative process that has been based on best practice developed internationally. The plan recognises the realities and pressures that face our Park today but includes realistic approaches and practical actions that are founded on partnerships, to address these problems and issues. Zonation and voluntary resettlement tackle the reality of people who have a historical right to land within the park. But it does not shirk our responsibility to safeguard our heritage and this ecosystem. There are conservation zones with the strictest protection. However, the approach embraces community participation, by joining with rightful users in Conservation and Natural Resource Management Zones to bring the current unmanaged use of resources under control; whilst simultaneously looking to adapt livelihoods to conservation friendly practices. In all zones cultural access to important sites is agreed. The ultimate goal of this park is to protect the ecosystem, and this will never change. This is a dynamic GMP that will achieve this goal whilst working within the bounds of realism and current conservation best practice. It is now our duty to implement this plan and we are determined that this GMP will not sit on a shelf as so many others do throughout the world. We have a 10 year opportunity to build partnerships to conserve the Bale Mountains National Park for the long-term. We therefore call on current and future partners to work with us to secure one of the most important conservation areas on earth. Abadula Gemeda President of Oromia Regional Government Foreword iv

5 Approval page The Oromia Regional Government has approved this General Management Plan for implementation in the Bale Mountains National Park. Approval page v

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7 Executive Summary This General Management Plan (GMP) for the Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) lays out a vision for the development and management of the park over the next 10 years, and outlines specific actions required to fulfil this vision over the next 3 years. This GMP was developed using a participatory process, building on previously summarised background information and a problems and issues analysis carried out by park staff, a stakeholder workshop and community consultations. Overall the planning process aimed to ensure that the park s stakeholders were given an appropriate opportunity to contribute to the issues and problems addressed in the GMP and to suggest solutions to these issues. It is hoped that improved ownership and commitment to implementation will result. The planning process adopted involved a variety of approaches to participation. The Core Planning Team (CPT) directed the planning process and made key decisions whereas consultation took place through key informant interviews in communities in and around BMNP, through stakeholder planning workshops and direct discussions with individuals in private companies, NGOs, Government at all levels, researchers, tourists and international experts. Technical working groups directly devised the main components and details of each management programme. The GMP is organised into five management programmes, using a logical framework approach, which group together common topics that align with park management responsibilities wherever possible. Each programme consists of a long term strategy with guiding principles and objectives that provide the vision for the programme as well as specific objectives and general actions that outline the route and milestones by which the programme purpose will be achieved. A practical, management-orientated 3-year action plan accompanies each management programme and provides the detailed actions and activities by which the strategy will be achieved over the next 3 years. This action plan is designed to be regularly rolled forward every 3 years throughout the implementation of the GMP, so that actions and activities are assessed and refreshed in the light of achievements and developments during the GMP implementation. The GMP is designed to be dynamic, flexible and adaptive to changing management needs and priorities, as well as the local socio-political context. BMNP annual operations plans should be developed through close consultation with the GMP and these 3-year action plans. Park Purpose, Significance and Values The Bale Mountains of Ethiopia, within the National Regional State of Oromia in south-eastern Ethiopia, are the most important conservation area in the Ethiopian highlands and are of international significance. The Bale Mountains are part of one of 34 International Conservation International Biodiversity Hotspots and qualify for World Heritage Site and Biosphere Reserve Listing. The c. 2,200 km 2 BMNP at the core of the Bale Mountains is of critical biodiversity, ecological, cultural and economic importance. The Purpose of BMNP is: To conserve the ecological and hydrological systems of the Bale mountains, including the afroalpine and montane forest habitats with their rare, diverse and endemic species while contributing to the social and economic wellbeing of the present and future generations of people locally in Ethiopia and in the wider region. The most important Exceptional Resource Values (ERVs), which together give the park its global significance, are the rare, endemic and endangered species which are found across all taxa and habitat types, and the hydrological system which provides water and thus economic benefits to 12 million downstream users. Other areas, notably (i) the afroalpine plateau, the largest area of this Executive Summary vii

8 habitat type on earth, (ii) the Harenna forest, the second largest moist tropical forest in Ethiopia and (iii) the distinct altitudinal zones of BMNP with stands of giant Erica and bamboo along with different forest types, were considered to be of particular significance locally, nationally and internationally. The park also provides substantial socio-economic and cultural benefits to local communities and others at national and international level, through the use of natural resources such as coffee, timber, grazing and non-timber forest products, as well as limited tourism. Principles the GMP The following principles guide the implementation of this GMP and are fundamental to management of BMNP. Conservation of the ERVs takes precedence in all actions Partnerships with stakeholders, particularly park-associated communities are a key component of GMP implementation Environmental and socio-cultural impact of developments and park users will be minimised Management systems will be responsive and adaptive to changing circumstances and knowledge Zonation Scheme A management zoning scheme has been introduced for the BMNP GMP that provides a framework for securing the protection of the park by achieving and reconciling the need to both protect the natural resources of BMNP while allowing the use of the these resources by communities and tourists. Whilst the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem process is the primary management objective throughout BMNP, irrespective of zone, the zoning scheme has been introduced as a tool to deal with the current realities in BMNP and thus secure the BMNP s ERVs. Two zones with associated prescriptions have been designated: (i) a Conservation Zone and (ii) a Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management Zone. Proposed zone boundaries are depicted in this GMP, but these will be finalised as part of implementation. The Conservation Zone (CZ) - just over 50% of BMNP comprises areas with relatively little permanent settlement that are high in biodiversity and important for the conservation of the ecosystem s Principal Ecosystem Components (under the Ecological Management Programme), such as wetlands, forests or important habitat for Ethiopian wolves and mountain nyala. In this Conservation Zone, no consumptive or damaging use is permitted, no settlement is allowed, and any developments must meet very strict environmental impact guidelines set by management. Access by tourists and local people will be allowed to sites of natural, scenic, economic or cultural significance. In the Conservation and Sustainable Natural Resource Management (C&SNRM) Zone, sustainable use of natural resources will be allowed zone under negotiated management agreements between rightful users and BMNP management (under the Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme). Settlement, infrastructure development and cultivation are only allowed within these SNRM agreements between Resource Management Groups and BMNP and must meet environmental impact prescriptions. Implementation of the zoning scheme involves voluntary resettlement of current residents of the Conservation Zone. Actions to determine those with tenure rights and implement zonation are outlined in the Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme. Executive Summary viii

9 Management Programmes Five management programmes, addressing logically grouped issues were developed: 1. Ecological Management Programme 2. Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme 3. Tourism Provision and Management Programme 4. Park Operations Programme 5. Outreach Programme Ecological Management Programme This programme is based on an adapted ecological management and monitoring approach that is based on the latest international conservation planning methods and best practices. Eight Principal Ecosystem Components (PECs) have been identified by technical experts and which together capture the unique biodiversity of BMNP. If all these PECs are conserved, then the long-term health of the park s ecosystem will remain intact. Principal Ecosystem Components Level of Ecological Organisation 1. Hydrological System System 2. Harenna Forest 3. Erica forest and shrub 4. Gaysay grasslands Community 5. Hagenia/Juniper woodland 6. Afroalpine 7. Mountain nyala 8. Ethiopian wolf Species The Ecological Management programme has identified and prioritised the threats to these PECs and has devised strategies for their reduction or mitigation. The major cross-cutting threats arising from human population expansion in BMNP have been addressed specifically in the Sustainable Natural Resource Management (SNRM) Programme. Other prioritised threats are addressed in this EM Programme. These include actions to reduce the threat of fire, particularly in forest areas and the Erica shrub. Specific threats to populations of endangered species, particularly the Ethiopian wolf and mountain nyala, are addressed through better control of domestic dogs in the park, improved disease management. A number of research and monitoring priorities have also been identified to assess the severity of threats that were identified as lower priority or for which there was insufficient information with which to assess the level of threat. This programme also provides the framework for management orientated monitoring and research of the PECs, their key ecological attributes and threats - a crucial stage in adaptive management. Information on the status of the PECs and their threats will be fed back to enable the design and implementation of appropriate future management actions in this and other programmes. The ecosystem monitoring plan is included in Appendix 1 of the GMP. This monitoring plan also identifies ecological indicators for monitoring the achievement of the park purpose, which is a key component of the overall monitoring and evaluation of GMP implementation A suite of actions also address the paucity of data and understanding of ecosystem processes in BMNP, for example the factors affecting tree and shrub regeneration and the collection of baseline data on the extent of potential threats. A list of prioritised research has been drawn up and will be Executive Summary ix

10 maintained and revised over time. Projects to address these prioritised research subjects will be facilitated by park management and promoted within the wider research community, both nationally and internationally. In addition, thresholds of potential concern (TPC), which will trigger management action to maintain the desired state of each PEC, will be developed during the course of the 3-year action plan for PEC and threat monitoring. Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme The Sustainable Natural Resource Management (SNRM) Programme provides a framework for the development and implementation of sustainable natural resource management in BMNP. The programme aims to convert currently unsustainable natural resource use in BMNP to sustainable levels of resource use through a participatory process where communities enter into joint natural resource management agreements with park management. The core framework of this programme involves setting up natural resource management agreements with community management groups (CMG) in designated Conservation & SNRM Zones. The actions in this programme are based upon those used in Participatory Forest Management by GTZ in the Adaba-Dodola Area and by Farm Africa/SOS Sahel in Bale and elsewhere in southern Ethiopia. Sustainable Natural Resource Management Agreements (SNRMA), facilitated and negotiated between park management and community resource management groups, will specify the type and amount of resources that can be used, by whom, and will lay out the methods, roles and responsibilities for community monitoring, regulation and resource protection. These agreements and their management and oversight are designed to be flexible and responsive to changing situations and needs. A key component of this programme is to build the capacity of both communities and park management to manage, regulate and monitor these agreements through training, experience sharing visits and a learning by doing approach. Furthermore the institutional and legal framework will be strengthened in order to support this approach. Human settlement and cultivation inside BMNP has been increasing since the park was established in the 1970s and has now reached unsustainable levels, with coincident rapid resource degradation. As part of this GMP, human settlement and cultivation will be reduced and restricted to the C&SNRM Zone, using voluntary resettlement, particularly of those with land rights elsewhere, and implementation of the Zonation scheme. Negative impacts on the ecosystem of remaining settlement and agriculture will be mitigated using restoration where necessary and pollution control in partnership with the EM Programme. Similarly, land use will be planned and coordinated both inside and outside the park to minimise the extent and environmental impact of different land use regimes on ecosystem health and function. Tourism Provision and Management Programme The Tourism Provision and Management (TPM) Programme aims to develop and manage tourism in BMNP in a culturally and environmentally friendly manner so that revenue generated contributes both to conservation management and diversifying the livelihood opportunities of park-associated communities in the area. Tourism is a growth area internationally and nationally and BMNP management will work with local communities and private sector tourism partners to provide a diverse visitor experience that takes advantage of the uniqueness of the Bale Mountains. Tourism provision is a cornerstone of this programme but needs detailed and comprehensive planning, with technical expertise that is outwith the scope of this GMP. However, the GMP lays out a roadmap to ensure that such a plan is produced. Improved marketing is crucial to tourism development and will be planned and carried out in collaboration with other actors with similar interests. Efforts to create a tourist friendly environment will be made through training and discussions with park staff, tourism partners and local communities. In addition, visually stunning and high quality interpretative centres will be planned and built. Executive Summary x

11 The primary role of BMNP in tourism management is to develop policy, guidelines, monitoring and enforcement of tourism activities, while the tourism services will be provided by the private sector or community groups, under agreement with BMNP management. Prototype concession agreements and leasing procedures will be developed and implemented so that private investors can be partners in tourism provision, where benefits accrue equitably to both the park and parkassociated communities. BMNP s capacity to manage and deliver an enriching tourism experience will be strengthened and tourism management systems will be devised. These will include strategies have been devised to enable communities to participate and share benefits from BMNP tourism, whilst becoming central partners in BMNP tourism provision and management. This involves implementing activities that will improve the level of understanding of tourists and the tourism industry in communities prioritised for community tourism development so that they have the ability to participate in an informed and proactive manner. Enabling communities to put in place governance, tourism management and benefit-sharing structures is another initiative to be undertaken as part of this GMP. This will be done in target communities by forming and building capacity within Community Tourism Development Committees (CTDC). These CTDCs will be able to adopt and implement realistic community tourism developments and attempt to obtain funding for their construction. BMNP will work with other actors in the ecosystem who have the technical knowledge to assist with such capacity building and developments. Park Operations The Park Operations Programme lays out a vision for a secure and efficiently run National Park, using an adaptive management system that is a working model for protected area management throughout Africa and elsewhere. Resource protection is a key feature of this programme and this requires a number of initiatives. Park and zone boundaries will be agreed with local communities and demarcated on the ground, after which procedures for park gazettement can be implemented. Infrastructure development and the purchase of sufficient equipment is required for effective management, particularly as staff numbers increase. An efficient patrolling and scout deployment system will be designed and implemented, which will be in line with infrastructure development and staff number increases, to expand the sphere of management influence beyond its current sphere in the northern corner of BMNP. As a priority BMNP will put in place administration and human resource management systems that are efficient and effective and that will lead to a motivated, appropriately trained and professional staff team. Park administration and financial systems will be modernised and streamlined, with actions designed to implement an adaptive planning system that will monitor GMP implementation and the changing context and thus will adapt accordingly. Finally, inadequate financing is a key obstacle for BMNP management and actions have been drawn up that will improve understanding of the economic and financial flows in the ecosystem and investigate innovative internal and external funding mechanisms so that a comprehensive business plan for BMNP can be formulated. Outreach Programme The Outreach Programme is built on a strategy of effective partnerships that enhance dialogue and participatory management, strengthen the global image of BMNP and facilitate livelihood development. The programme is designed to increase dialogue and the mutual flow of information between the park and relevant stakeholders by creating structures for dialogue at differing levels. These include the formation of a Management Board, to oversee policy and BMNP management, (including GMP implementation) and a Regional Steering Committee, which will include community representatives, to have input regionally and coordinate with other governmental and nongovernmental actors in the area. These groups will create a sense of involvement and ownership in BMNP operations. Beyond this, the Outreach Programme will use other opportunities to engage local, national and international stakeholders. These will include listing BMNP as a World Heritage Site, using diverse media to increase awareness as well as strengthening and coordinating current environmental education programmes. Executive Summary xi

12 The Outreach Programme aims to generate a positive flow of benefits from BMNP including information, ideas, education opportunities, the facilitation of development initiatives and, where possible, revenue. A key feature of this programme is facilitating livelihood development through partnerships, whilst reducing costs for park-resident and park-adjacent communities. This tackles one of the main issues raised during all stakeholder consultations. General Management Plan Monitoring and Evaluation A GMP monitoring plan makes up the final section of the GMP and, in addition to assessing whether the GMP has been successfully implemented, is a key component of adaptive management. A multi-tiered framework of indicators has been developed to enable monitoring and evaluation to be carried out at several different levels: from park purpose (ecological monitoring plan), through threats and programme purposes and objectives (impact monitoring), to actions and activities (implementation monitoring). This draws on best practice elsewhere and is integrated with the GEF Protected Area Systems Project that is commencing in Ethiopia in 2007, by using a WB/WWF Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool. Executive Summary xii

13 Table of Contents Foreword... iii Approval page...v Executive Summary... vii Table of Contents... xiii Acronyms...xv Plan Introduction... 1 Background Context...3 Function of the GMP...3 Principles underlying this GMP... 4 GMP Structure... 4 The Planning Process... 7 Park Purpose, Significance and Values Park Purpose Bale Mountains National Park Significance Exceptional Resource Values of BMNP BMNP in the International Context IUCN Protected Area Category BMNP Zonation Scheme Ecological Management Programme Ecological Management Programme Strategy Ecological Management Programme 10-Year Objectives Objective 1: Human associated threats to BMNP Principal Ecosystem Components and Key Ecological Attributes mitigated through active management Objective 2. Management-orientated monitoring and research of Principal Ecosystem Components and Key Ecological Attributes carried out Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme Strategy Sustainable Natural Resource Management Programme 10-Year Objectives Objective 1: Human, institutional and legal capacities established for the operation of sustainable natural resource management systems in BMNP Objective 2: The potential for sustainable utilisation of natural resources in BMNP realised and equitable sharing of benefits ensured Objective 3: Human settlement, cultivation and land use in BMNP planned, controlled and reduced Tourism Provision and Management Programme Tourism Provision and Management Programme Strategy Tourism Provision and Management Programme 10-Year Objectives Objective 1: Diverse ecologically and culturally sensitive tourism opportunities provided in BMNP in partnership with local communities, the private sector and government Objective 2: Efficient, effective and adaptive tourism management systems that provide an enhanced visitor experience, devised and maintained Objective 3: Community participation and benefit sharing opportunities in BMNP tourism developed and established as core part of BMNP tourism provision and management Table of Contents xiii

14 Park Operations Programme Park Operations Programme Strategy Park Operations Programme 10-Year Objectives Objective 1: Resource protection system established Objective 2: Sustainable financial plan for BMNP operational Objective 3: Modern, efficient and adaptive management and administration of BMNP established Outreach Programme Outreach Programme Strategy Outreach Programme 10-Year Objectives Objective 1: BMNP integrated locally and managed with the collaboration and support of relevant local stakeholders Objective 2: Wider awareness of BMNP and a sense of ownership and responsibility established Objective 3: Equitable benefit-sharing and cost reduction facilitated in park-associated communities year Action Plans Appendix 1: Monitoring and Evaluation Objectives of Monitoring and Evaluation i. Park Purpose Monitoring ii. Management Effectiveness Monitoring iii. GMP Impact Monitoring and Evaluation iv. Monitoring GMP Action Completion Appendix 2: BMNP Boundary Description Appendix 3: Summary of Policy and Legislation Appendix 4: BMNP GMP Planning Team Appendix 5: Community Consultations Appendix 6: BMNP Research Priorities Appendix 7: Bibliography Table of Contents xiv

15 Acronyms AAU AOP BESMP BMNP BMNP-ZSC BZA BZTO CBD CBM CBNRM CBO CDF CI CITES CR CPT CSMPP Darwin DHP EFAP EIA EM EPA ERV ETB ETC EU EWCO EWCP EWNHS FDRE FPA FZS FZS-BMCP GDP GEF GIS GMP GoE GTZ-IS HQ HWC IBC IUCN KEA LFA MB MDG Melca METT MoARD MoCT Addis Ababa University Annual Operations Plan Bale Ecoregion Sustainable Management Programme Bale Mountains National Park BMNP Zonal Steering Committee Bale Zone Administration Bale Zone Tourism Office Convention on Biological Diversity Community-based Monitoring Community-based Natural Resource Management Community-based Organisation Community Development Fund Conservation International Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna & Flora Community Representatives Core Planning Team Conservation and Sustainable Use of Medicinal Plants Project Darwin Initiative Harenna Project (University of Aberdeen) Darwin Harenna Project Ethiopian Forestry Action Plan Environmental Impact Assessment Ecological Management Environmental Protection Authority Exceptional Resource Value Ethiopian birr Ethiopian Tourism Commission European Union Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organisation Ethiopian Wolf Conservation Programme Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Forest Priority Area Frankfurt Zoological Society Frankfurt Zoological Society s Bale Mountains Conservation Project Gross Domestic Product Global Environment Facility Geographic Information System General Management Plan Government of Ethiopia Deutsche Gesellschaft für Technische Zusammenarbeit International Services Headquarters Human-wildlife Conflict Institute of Biodiversity Conservation World Conservation Union Key Ecological Attribute Logical Framework Approach Management Board Millennium Development Goals Melca Mahiber- Indigenous NGO for Nature Conservation and the Revival of TEK Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development Ministry of Culture and Tourism Acronyms xv

16 MoFED NBSAP NGO NFPA NRM NRMA OARDB OCTB OR PA PASP PFM PNRM PO PW PEC RAC RBI RBM RMG RP SLZ SNRM SNRMA TANAPA TESFA TEK TNC TPC TPM UNDP UNESCO WAJIB WAZA WB WCD WCPA WCS WHS WGCF WWF Ministry of Finance and Economic Development National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan Non-Governmental Organisation National Forest Priority Area Natural Resource Management Natural Resource Management Agreements Oromia Agriculture and Rural Development Bureau Oromia Culture and Tourism Bureau Outreach Protected Area Protected Area System Plan Participatory Forest Management Participatory Natural Resources Management Park Operations Park Warden Principal Ecosystem Component Regional Advisory Committee Resource Based Inventory Ranger-based Monitoring Resource Management Group Resource Protection Saint Louis Zoo Sustainable Natural Resource Management Sustainable Natural Resource Management Agreement Tanzania National Parks Authority Tourism in Ethiopia for Sustainable Future Alternatives Traditional Ecological Knowledge The Nature Conservancy Thresholds of Potential Concern Tourism Provision and Management United Nations Development Program United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation The GTZ community-based PFM project in Adaba-Dodola West Arsi Zone Administration World Bank Wildlife Conservation Department (MoARD) World Commission on Protected Areas Wildlife Conservation Society (International Conservation NGO) World Heritage Site Wondo Genet College of Forestry Worldwide Fund for Nature Acronyms xvi

17 Plan Introduction Section A Plan Introduction 1

18

19 Plan Introduction Background Context The Bale Mountains National Park (BMNP) in the southeast of Ethiopia encompasses approximately 2,200 km 2 of mountains and forest. It was first proposed in the late 1960s to protect afroalpine habitat and populations of the rare and endemic species of the mountain nyala (Tragelaphus buxtoni) and the Ethiopian wolf (Canis simensis). It was established by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Organisation (EWCO) in 1971 with the primary objective of conserving the wildlife and other valuable natural resources in the area. The importance of the hydrological services that the area provides to south-eastern Ethiopia and parts of Somalia and Kenya have gradually been recognised over subsequent years and their conservation is now a primary purpose of the park. BMNP has, however, never been fully gazetted by proclamation in parliament (see Park Operations Programme). For the purposes of this GMP, BMNP boundary will be that originally described by EWCO (1974) although a process has been outlined for re-delineating the park boundary in agreement with stakeholders (see Appendix 2 for original boundary description). The northern part of the park around Dinsho town was actively managed up until 1991 and a General Management Plan (GMP) was produced in This GMP contained a thorough review of the knowledge of the area to that date and some guidelines on how management objectives should be met. Unfortunately this plan was never implemented. Since 1991, the effectiveness of protection and management in the area has declined dramatically, whether under the management of EWCO (until 1997) or the Oromia Region (1997-present). As a result, BMNP has become an open access resource and rapid human population growth and immigration have led to an influx of inhabitants and unsustainable use of BMNP natural resources. As a result, the unique ecological and hydrological resources of BMNP are now seriously imperilled. Lack of human and financial resources, political interest and technical knowledge have all contributed to the decline in management effectiveness and the consequent degradation of BMNP. Although a number of donor projects have attempted to intervene to halt the degradation, many projects have left no legacy, initiatives have ceased as project funding ran out and the situation on the ground has continued to deteriorate. In response, both management authorities and donors deemed the formulation of a General Management Plan to be a priority to enable the long-term coordinated and planned management of BMNP. Function of the GMP The primary purpose of this GMP is to lay out the vision and philosophy for the 10-year development and management of BMNP. In addition to its primary purpose, this GMP has other functions. Primary purpose: To lay out the vision and philosophy for the 10-year development and management of BMNP Secondary purposes: To outline strategies by which the vision can be achieved To lay out the roles and responsibilities for implementers Section A Plan Introduction 3

20 To function as a public relations document by providing a written description of BMNP s management philosophy To solicit donor funding by clearly laying out the management framework, priorities and input requirements To provide continuity in management as managers, policy makers or partner projects change To provide a framework for the participation of and coordination among all stakeholders, including local communities, government, projects and donors Principles underlying this GMP The following principles guide the implementation of this GMP and are fundamental to management of BMNP. Conservation of the ERVs takes precedence in all actions Partnerships with stakeholders, particularly park-associated communities, are a key component of GMP implementation Environmental and socio-cultural impacts of developments and park users will be minimised Management systems will be responsive and adaptive to changing circumstances and knowledge GMP Structure 10-year strategy and 3-year action plan This GMP has adopted the Logical Framework Approach, which has proven to be the most effective approach for development and conservation project planning. This approach ensures explicit and logical linkages are established between all components of the GMP. This provides an efficient, accountable and logical rationale for planning and facilitates GMP implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Until recently, general management plans typically adopted 10-year planning horizons. However, lessons learnt from implementing this approach suggest that 10-year actions may become redundant as the ecological, political and socio-economic contexts change. This GMP incorporates both 10-year strategic objectives and 3-year action planning to ensure that the GMP retains a long-term strategic vision while providing the required flexibility and responsiveness to changing needs and situations. The 3-year action plan also lays out roles and responsibilities, identifies external support required and potential partners, and prioritises actions for implementation. Each management action also includes specific activities to guide day-to-day implementation. Ultimately, there should be a strong link between the actions and activities prescribed by this GMP and the Annual Operations Plans (AOPs) and associated budgets developed by park management. The GMP is structured by management programmes that break down overall park management into coherent themes (adapted from best practice elsewhere in East Africa region). Management departments within BMNP will mirror this management programme structure and thus primary responsibility for implementing each programme will fall to the Experts of a given department. This allocation of responsibility helps to build a sense of ownership and accountability for GMP implementation and success among all park staff. Each management programme follows the Logical Framework Approach adopted throughout the GMP. Section A Plan Introduction 4

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