Successful workshop in Addis Ababa on Biodiversity Conservation in Ethiopia

More than 60 participants from several African and European countries assembled in the Ethiopian capital from October 3-5 2006 to discuss "Biodiversity Conservation and Poverty Reduction in Human-Transformed Landscapes in Ethiopia". The international workshop was organized by the Ethiopian Coffee Forest Forum and the Center for Development Research (ZEF) of the University of Bonn in cooperation with and sponsored by the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN). Representatives from the government, science, and civil society took part in the meeting. Among them were the Ethiopian State Minister of Agriculture and the State Minister of Natural Resources, as well as speakers from UNESCO-MAB (Man and Biosphere Programme) and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).


The opening speech was held by the President of Ethiopia, Mr. Girma Wolde-Giorgis. He stressed the importance of ventures such as the ZEF-led project on “Conservation and use of the wild coffee populations in the montane rainforests of Ethiopia” (CoCE) and this workshop contributing to poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation. He said that the common and final goal of these efforts is to utilize the natural resources his country is endowed with in a sustainable way.


The president of the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), Prof. Dr. Hartmut Vogtmann was invited as a guest of honor. He said in his speech that it is important to combine strategies targeting the conservation as well as the utilization of natural resources in Ethiopia.


The workshop aimed at assessing the current state of protected areas and their role for rural development and poverty reduction; exchanging experiences in the establishment of protected areas among experts from Africa and Europe; deliberating on internationally recognized protected areas concepts such as biosphere reserves as instruments for sustainable development in Ethiopia; founding a commission of experts for follow-up activities. This way the workshop also gave an outlook on the next research phase of the CoCE project. The research project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).