Sheka and Yayu – NABU’s expertise is called for
NABU now manages four of five UNESCO biosphere reserves in Ethiopia
UNESCO biosphere reserves in Africa are particularly well suited to balancing exploitation by humans and nature conservation efforts on a sustainable basis. In Ethiopia, the concept has been in use since 2010, when the country’s first biosphere reserves were set up. NABU has been playing a key role in introducing and implementing it, for instance in the Kafa and Lake Tana regions, since 2006. Two further biosphere reserves have been established since then. All four biosphere reserves differ considerably both with respect to their landscapes and in terms of their development and management.
Commissioned by the GIZ, NABU has been supporting the two forest biosphere reserves Yayu and Sheka since 2015, as a part of a consortium together with consulting firm UNIQUE forestry and land use. Both reserves are still in the early stages of defining their regional development plans: they lack a structured and legally recognised management, and gas and coal extraction as well as fertilizer production are threatening the Yayu Biosphere Reserve’s ecosystems.
Together with the local population, NABU and UNIQUE now determine environmentally sustainable sources of income, e.g. dwarf banana and turmeric, and advise the biosphere reserves’ management as well as higher-level regional authorities. Another target is to integrate biosphere reserves as a concept into Ethiopia’s national network of protected areas.
Offices have been set up in both regions, and initial planning workshops have been held with the local population as well as government representatives. Three of the eight members of the Ethiopian project team were invited by NABU to visit the German Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve so far.
There, they were introduced to small enterprises such as beekeepers, donkey tour operators and juice producers, and had the opportunity to share their experiences with the managers and rangers of the biosphere reserve.