Morning Session, 26 November 2003
Chairperson: Dr Solomon Abate,
Sustainable Land Forum (NGO), Addis Ababa
DR SOLOMON EMPHASIZED THE NEED TO MOVE CAUTIOUSLY TO IDENTIFY AREAS OF INTERVENTIONS THAT WOULD ADDRESS THE KEY ISSUES DISCUSSED IN AN INTEGRATED MANNER. He asked the participants opinions on the proposed preliminary topic for working group discussion that are in line with the overall objectives of the Workshop. These are:
The Lake Tana basin as a watershed management project: Lake Tana has global significance as a major source of the Blue Nile basin and rich flora and fauna. It also has wetland areas and brings the interaction between highland and lowland areas within a watershed. It can also integrate aquatic life with that of soil conservation issues.
The Simen Mountains National Park (SMNP): this area is declared as a World Heritage site and home to a variety of endemic flora and fauna. Urgent intervention is required to reverse the current trends of ecological deterioration and impoverishment of the local population threatening this fragile mountain ecosystem. A previous attempt to evict the people and develop the park as a preserved area did not work and has resulted in more degradation. How do we bring about an integrated development in that area? How could we tackle the global and local nature of the problem and resolve the issue of integrating the local people inhabiting within the park and its surrounding? The outcome of this programme could be replicated to other areas of similar ecosystems in other regions of Ethiopia.
Rural Household Energy: the issue of rural energy has been mentioned and emphasized that it is a neglected area. There is no policy existing in the region so far to properly guide the sustainable and balanced use of rural energy. Maybe a cross-cutting issue on rural energy could be considered.
Participants' response and suggestions:
All participants agreed that the Lake Tana basin and SMNP should be a focus of two separate working group discussions. Both topics are highly relevant to the Government's efforts to improve food security, rural livelihood and natural resources management. The topics meet GEF criteria in a number of ways including global and regional significance in various GEF funding areas, such as international waters and biodiversity and mountain ecosystem. They could also be supported by other donors and the federal, regional and local governments.
On the other hand, most participants suggested that rural energy be mainstreamed and integrated in all the projects to be identified rather than just a standalone project. Rural energy is part of appropriate technology development strategies for transforming the rural sector and should be considered as the cross-cutting theme that is also essential for natural resources management in the Ethiopian context.
It was agreed that instead of rural energy, a third intervention area representing the highly degraded, densely populated, famine affected highlands, for example, the Wollo and Central Shewa highlands, would bring different and important agro-ecological zones to the other agreed projects (i.e. Lake Tana and the SMNP). Thus, there was consensus for a third working group to come up with specific intervention areas and develop an action plan for its development.
Before breaking into working groups, Dr Solomon reminded that group discussion should try to focus on five main areas, namely:
1. Global, regional and national significance.
2. Challenges, threats and opportunities.
3. Goals, objectives and expected outcome.
4. Key areas of intervention/activities.
5. Implementation strategies/modalities/approaches.