Ethiopia Placeholder

Organizing different groups for Ecotourism site for Natural Resources Conservation and livelihood diversification Description and innovations of the solution

About the Implementing organization

Name: Simien Mountains National Park Ecotourism and Natural Resources Development and marketing Cooperative

Country: Ethiopia

Year of establishment: 2010

Type of organization: Community-based association or organization / Cooperative business


In and around SMNP, local community uses traditional farming system for their subsistence. As agriculture is not productive to fulfil annual household demand, people depend on natural resources for additional income and even it can’t accommodate all the working age group. Because of this many working age group is under employed and unemployed which leads to natural resources over utilization and deforestation. SMNP ecotourism association has been established with the objective of creating job opportunity for local communities and restoring natural resources of SMNP through service provision to tourist and environmental protection works in and around the national park. To do so, the local community especially youth and unemployed community members establish different subgroups such as local guide, mule rent, cook, local militia, community lodge etc at eight different centre in the national park. Most of the cooperative members are people who have direct negative impact on the national park and whose who are willing to participate in the conservation activities. This initiative is different from others because it focuses on conserving the national park using the local community; this promotes co-management of SMNP using locally available resources. Therefore, this solution is best fit to the purpose both in generating income, diversifying income sources and conserving biodiversity which is major cause of production and productivity loss in the area.

Nature Element

Forests / Wildlife

Type of Action

Protection / Restoration / Sustainable use / Access and benefit sharing

Sustainable Development Element

Jobs and livelihoods / Food security / Climate action

Related Sustainable Development Goal(s)


Environmental Impacts

Environmental degradation in general and forest and land degradation in particular are the major causes of limited agricultural production in and around SMNP. Due to human action forest and land degradation was intensified from time to time. To reduce human influence on natural resources of SMNP, the association designed a possible solution. With the effort of the initiative over grazing reduced, more than 120 ha protected from over grazing, community participation and involvement enhanced more than 7000 people becomes participant in the conservation effort, each district identified & demarked buffer zone to reduce burden on the park.
On the other hand the association had undertaken environmental protection activities inside the park. More than 80ha hectare of land of the national park protected and restored and/or rehabilitated as human influence reduced by far. On top of this, more than 48000 tree seedlings have been planted inside park for the purpose of biodiversity restoration.

Sustainable Development Impacts

SMNP ecotourism association works to conserve, restore and rehabilitate the national park and improve the livelihood of the local community through service provision for tourist. Thus, so far major results achieved, income improved, job created, co-management promoted, and environmental protection enhanced. Therefore, the implementation of the initiative can contribute for more than seven sustainable development goals locally and nationally. The initiative can play a role in poverty reduction (SDG 1 No Poverty), able to highly reduce hunger and food insecurity problem of the local community (SDG 2 Zero hunger), helps to conserve the environment especially wildlife and natural forest through plantation and protection (SDG 15 Life on Land), able to reduce the adverse effects of climate change as the area is protected, restored and maintained (SDG 13 Climate Action). In addition to this, gender and income inequality will be balanced, and it will contribute to economic growth in general.


Most of the protected areas in Ethiopia are sources of life supporting ecosystem services and thus, they are not free of human induced problems. Poor and most vulnerable community members are highly dependent on the natural resources of these protected areas. In doing so, forest and natural resources degradation increased from time to time.
Thus, it is highly important to promote environmentally friendly alternative income diversification schemes. This initiative should be scaled up at national level at all 13 protected areas because co-management can share responsibility and benefits between all users and helps to develop sense of ownership on the park.
The initiative requires only local communities’ commitment to conserve and protect the environment. Therefore, the initiative easily scalable and can be promoted in all protected areas of Ethiopia to reduce the dependency rate of the local community who lives in and around protected areas.


Environmental degradation and associated adverse effects are all over the world let alone in Ethiopia and the continent. All these problems have been occurred due to human induced problems all other the place. Thus, if such an initiative can be replicated in many parts of the country it can help to protect the environment, able to rehabilitate highly degraded areas and most importantly it can reduce human dependency on the natural resources. It is environmentally friendly, able to generate considerable income and able to enhance livelihood options, no need of investment cost and startup capital. Promoting co-management at community level can sustain results as there is benefit sharing between all users in and around the protected areas, it is easily applicable as the result is astonishing. Thus, if this initiative replicated to other nations people can be benefited and the environmental degradation will be tackled in many ways.

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