The Authority Inaugurate Two Business Planning Guidelines

By Mebratu Hailu

Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA), in collaboration with conservation stakeholders, has inaugurated two business planning guidelines for protected areas on September 21, 2011 at Beshale hotel, Addis Ababa.

Ministry of Culture and Tourism State Minister, Tadelech Dalecho told in the ceremony that the developed guidelines “A business plan development tool for protected area managers in Ethiopia” and “Bale Mountains National Park Business and Sustainable Finance Plan (2011-2016)” will have a paramount importance for our protected areas by bringing new strategies on how to bridge the financial gap required to improve management of the conservation areas.

The guidelines are used as a tool for protected area managers in Ethiopia in identifying the threats and use opportunities to make them self-sufficient in budget and maximize the economic benefit generated from the subsector, she added.

These guidelines provide a step by step guide on how to develop a Business Plan for a protected area. They were developed using lessons learnt from the Bale Mountains National Park Business and Sustainable Finance Plan (BSFP), which is the first of its kind for Ethiopia.

The existing conservation areas which are the locations for the rich biodiversity of the country have been threatened from various pressures that include illegal settlement, poaching, illegal agricultural encroachment and improper land use. As a result, protected areas world-wide are looking for a business approach to protected areas management in order to help generate further funds necessary for effective conservation of resources.

The Bale Mountains National Park Business and Sustainable Finance Plan indicated that a detailed activity based costing for General Management Plan (GMP) implementation revealed that over the next five years, $2,250,000 and $1,500,000 is needed for the optimal and critical implementation of the GMP activities, thus there is a funding deficit of approximately $200,000 per year for optimal GMP implementation and 42,000 per year for critical implementation.

The largest funding shortfalls are in the tourism management and provision, outreach and ecological management programs.
Resource protection, threat mitigation (not including future settlement management strategies) and sustainable financing are the priority areas for investments.

The authority developed these business planning guidelines with financial assistance of the Frankfurt Zoological Society, the European Commission, GTZ, Sustainable Development of the Protected Area System of Ethiopia and Global Environment Facility.