Sustainable Development of the Protected Area System in Ethiopia (SDPASE)

What is the project about

The Bale Mountains National Park is located 400 km south- east of the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and is one of Africa’s largest protected land habitat area. The 2,200 Km2 Park was established in 1970 to conserve wildlife species and other important natural resources, which include 1660 different plant species, one-third of which are endemic to Ethiopia and 177 are unique to the Bale Mountains National Park.

This project supports efforts to help safeguard Ethiopia’s biodiversity,  ecosystems and ecological processes from human-induced pressures. At the same time, the country's unique biodiversity is part of a sustainable Protected Area System that is contributing significantly to economic development, both locally and nationally.

This project helps address the main policy and capacity-enabling environment in an integrated manner.

While the threats to biodiversity of Ethiopia are underpinned by high human population pressure (see below), the exploitation of the area by humans is not a modern phenomenon. It has been estimated that it has been ongoing for many thousands of years, particularly to the west of the Rift Valley, and this has destroyed most of the natural vegetation, including most of the forests.

The biogeography of the country is characterized by two dominant features - first, the ancient, arid areas of the Horn of Africa, with its three centres of endemism one of which, the Ogaden, falls within Ethiopia.

The mesic highland plateaux are the second biogeographical feature. Although relatively young in evolutionary terms and has experienced relative climatic instability over the past 1.5million years (both in contrast to the arid Horn), highland isolation has resulted in significant endemism. Overall, therefore, while the arid Horn and young highlands are relatively impoverished in species number, the levels of endemism are high.

Therefore, Ethiopia has over 6,000 species of vascular plant (with 625 endemic species and 669 near-endemic species, and one endemic plant genus), 860 avian species (16 endemic species and two endemic genera), 279 species of mammal (35 endemic species and six endemic genera).

There are a number of charismatic flagship species, most notably the gelada (an endemic genus, Theropithecus, and the world’s only grazing primate), the mountain nyala, the Ethiopian wolf, the walia ibex and the giant lobelia.


What have we accomplished so far

Semen Mountain: Jagged mountain peaks (4,430 M at Ras Dashin, the second highest point in Africa), deep valleys and precipices as deep as 1,500 meters provide refuge for extremely rare species such as the Walia ibex, Simien wolf and the Chelada baboon.

Protected Areas and Wildlife Conservation has been mainstreamed into the development framework of Ethiopia. Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority’s budget has already surpassed the 28 million birr target.

Policy, regulatory and governance frameworks have been supported, leading to the redefinition and implementation of Protected Area.

Ethiopia's Management Effectiveness Tracking Tool  (METT) scores for demonstration sites increased by 6 %. and METT score of 7 protected areas has increased by 120% over 2008.

The number of tourists visiting these protected sites has increased by 284% and there was also an increase in income generated, by 82% from the 2007 figures.

Good practice models from some protected areas are being replicated. An increased numbers of investors are applying for lodge construction in the parks.

Who Finances it?

The total GEF intervention is costed at $ 9million, including catalytic investment to a Trust Fund. Co-finance has been secured at some $ 19 million with further funding from Government in kind.

Donor name Amount contributed per year (in USD)
GEF 1,000,000.00

Delivery in previous fiscal year

                      Amount disbursed per year (USD)
Project Overview
Project start date:
Estimated end date:
December 2016
Geographic coverage:
Focus Area:
Climate Change, Environment and DRM
Project officer:
Wubua Mekonnen,
Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority, Global Environment Facility (GEF)