Addis Ababa June 22/2017 Ethiopia could double the total value of the protected areas managed by the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), if more attention would be given to the sector, a study said.
The study conducted by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) on 14 protected areas said that the country could increase the values of its protected areas to more than 12 billion Birr per year, if funding increased to allow effective management.
Despite progress in government attention towards the sector, protected areas in the country operate below their potential. Funding allocations to protected areas management are low by regional and global standards.
The study suggests that increased funding would support overall development policy and make a contribution to the key sectors in the economy including water resources, energy, agriculture and tourism sectors.
It would also support climate change adaptation and mitigation and associated water, food and energy security while helping the country meet its land restoration goals.
In the study, national ecosystem services including watershed protection, water provision, carbon sequestration, grazing, harvesting of natural products, medicinal plants, pollination and pest control, tourism, recreation, cultural and existence worth of these protected areas are valued at 6.5 billion Birr per year.
Ethiopia’s natural habitats and ecosystem and the various services they offer have been facing multiple threats from overgrazing, deforestation and other human induced pressures.
In order to positively influence and change these negative trends, Ethiopia need to invest substantial human and financial resources to protect its natural resources.
The study shows that investing in protected areas system and natural resources management has great potential to generate social, economic and environmental benefits thereby laying a firm foundation for the country’s sustainable development.
The government has partnered with the Global Environmental Facility and UNDP to develop this analysis of the level of the protected Areas of system of Ethiopia.