Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society

National Press release – Ethiopia


Addis Ababa, 01.03.2013

Funding to protect the unique biological diversity and vital ecosystems found in 13 African countries and a portion of the Arabian Peninsula is now available through a new conservation strategy and investment plan supporting human well-being and nature protection.

The Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund (CEPF), which funds nongovernmental efforts to conserve the world’s most biodiverse and threatened ecosystems, officially launched the Ethiopian component of its five year, $9.8 million investment plan in the Eastern Afromontane biodiversity hotspot. Characterized by a series of montane “islands” and high plateaus, the hotspot stretches over 7000 kilometers and covers 15 countries, from Saudi Arabia to Zimbabwe in southern Africa. “We are eager to work with the organizations and communities of the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot to help them secure the future of their natural resources and their own livelihoods,” said Patricia Zurita, executive director of CEPF.

Because of its geographical position, range of altitude, rainfall pattern and soil variability, Ethiopia has an immense ecological diversity and wealth of biological resources. This variety of ecosystems offers suitable environments for a wide range of life forms. Ethiopia is unquestionably a critical region for animal diversity: while more research is still needed, biologists have already recorded 22 mammals, 27 birds, and 17 amphibians that are endemic – meaning that there are found nowhere else in the world but in Ethiopia. Likewise, the flora of Ethiopia is immensely diverse: over 7000 species of plants have been recorded in Ethiopia, from which 12 percent are probably endemic.

The diversity of organisms in an ecosystem provides essential foods, medicines, and industrial materials. As much as 40 percent of modern pharmaceutical medicines used in the developed world are derived from plants or animals. In Ethiopia, no less than 80 percent of the rural community and a significant proportion of the urban dwellers depend on herbal medicines for their primary health care. In addition to foods, medicine, fuel wood, and construction materials, natural ecosystems (especially forests) provide wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities, prevent soil erosion and flooding, and help to provide clean air and water. Biological resources are also important biotic checks to pests and diseases and serve as defense line against global climate change.

The launch event, hosted at the Alliance Ethio-Française in Addis Ababa, was organized by the Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS), one of three nongovernmental organizations in the region that are implementing the CEPF strategy. The other two organizations are BirdLife International and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The event commenced with a workshop session to present to all potential grantees the CEPF strategy for Ethiopia – a strategy designed through extensive consultations of stakeholders. After the workshop, the Ethiopian investment plan was officially launched in the presence of representatives from Ethiopian governmental authorities (EPA, Amhara/Oromia/SNNPR Regional States and IBC), the civil society (environmental and development NGOs, academics, private sector) and the donor community. The European Union and the French Development Agency, two of the seven global donors of the CEPF initiative, were represented at the event.

Read more: CEPF, in association with EWNHS, launches the Eastern Afromontane Hotspot Investment in Ethiopia

See the link below. – thanks to Jean Paul.

90th BirdLife Anniversary

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Message from the BirdLife International Partnership

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