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The relocation of the village of Arkwasiye in the Simien Mountain National Park in Ethiopia: an intervention towards sustainable development?


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The study analyses the effects of the relocation of the village Arkwasiye in the Simien Mountains National Park, a most spectacular landscape in the northern highlands of Ethiopia. The relocation was deemed necessary as just one component in a bundle of measures proposed by the UNESCO World Heritage Commission. In 2007 some 165 households were relocated voluntarily to the new village of Kayit. The socio-economic effects of the relocation were evaluated by carrying out on-site interviews with the residents. The results indicate that the relocated villagers are satisfied with the new infrastructures and social services. However, relocation has also brought certain disadvantages with far-reaching consequences for the everyday life of the villagers, and thus their livelihoods, as these have led to a considerable loss of earning opportunities and - against the aims of the relocation - to intensified grazing in the area. The authors discuss these results in the light of a recent global discussion on relocation for conservation purposes and come up with five recommendations. Close monitoring of key parameters is seen as a minimum requirement for such an undertaking.
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The relocation of the village of Arkwasiye in the Simien Mountain National Park in Ethio-
pia: an intervention towards sustainable development?
Tiru Berihun Tessema, Michael Jungmeier & Michael Huber
Keywords: National Park, World Heritage, Ethiopia, relocation, protected area management, development co-operation, UNESCO
Protected Area
Simien Mountain National Park
Mountain range
Simien Mountains
The study analyses the effects of the relocation of the village Arkwasiye in the Simien
Mountains National Park, a most spectacular landscape in the northern highlands of
Ethiopia. The relocation was deemed necessary as just one component in a bundle
of measures proposed by the UNESCO World Heritage Commission. In 2007 some
165 households were relocated voluntarily to the new village of Kayit. The socio-eco-
nomic effects of the relocation were evaluated by carrying out on-site interviews with
the residents. The results indicate that the relocated villagers are satisfied with the
new infrastructures and social services. However, relocation has also brought certain
disadvantages with far-reaching consequences for the everyday life of the villagers,
and thus their livelihoods, as these have led to a considerable loss of earning oppor-
tunities and – against the aims of the relocation – to intensified grazing in the area.
The authors discuss these results in the light of a recent global discussion on relocation
for conservation purposes and come up with five recommendations. Close monitor-
ing of key parameters is seen as a minimum requirement for such an undertaking.
Research eco.mont - Volume 4, Number 2, December 2012
ISSN 2073-106X print version
ISSN 2073-1558 online version:
If the management of protected areas is to be re-
garded as a continuous process of regional intervention, par-
ticipation and change management (Jungmeier et al. 2010),
the park authorities have to be permanently in charge
of initiating, promoting, communicating and fostering
processes designed to bring about the required chang-
es. Most activities focus on adapting land-use regimes
and resource policies in a park or its adjacent areas.
Other than diversied strategies and tools, the reset-
tlement of residents is a radical measure and there-
fore highly controversial. Global estimates range from
900 000 to 14.4 million persons that have become –
whether voluntarily or not – displaced for conserva-
tion purposes (Geisler 2003, cited in UNEP 2008).
The provocative and drastic description of conservation
refugees (Dowie 2009) has shocked conservationists all
around the world. Are conservationists sacricing hu-
man welfare and well-being for the sake of what can
be termed imperial conservation, as Dowie (2009) argues,
or can relocation – under particular circumstances and
assumptions – be a reasonable measure to improve
land uses and the livelihoods of people? Or is relo-
cation generally just another brick in the wall of the
dilemma between biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction
(Cernea & Schmidt-Soltau 2003)?
The case study of Arkwasiye (Ethiopia), as present-
ed in this paper, should be regarded as a small contri-
bution to a global discussion of inherent importance
(Cernea 2006, 2007; Coad et al. 2008; Lasgorceix &
Kothari 2009; Roe et al. 2003; Redford & Fearn 2007;
Schmidt-Soltau 2005;
Arkwasiye was a settlement of some 165 households
in the Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP, Ethio-
pia, see map: Figure 2), a most striking landscape with
outstanding biodiversity assets (Keiner 2001; Hurni &
Ludi 2000). After discussions and once compensation
schemes had been agreed, the inhabitants moved to
the newly built village of Kayit, some two kilometres
away as the crow ies. In the year 2000, a fact-nd-
ing mission led by national and international experts
had proposed a realignment of park boundaries and
the relocation of four villages (Gich, Islam Debir,
Adarmaz, Muchila) from within the SMNP (Debon-
net et al. 2006). A Joint WHC-IUCN reactive moni-
Figure 1 – Typical landscape of the northern Ethiopian highlands: the Simien Mountains.
© M. Jungmeier
14 Research
toring mission in 2006 (Debonnet et al. 2006) recom-
mended the Arkwasiye village should be relocated where it
would no longer block the critical wildlife corridor. As indi-
cated in Figure 2, the village was a problematic barrier
for the intended and most relevant expansion of the
park to the east. The report explicitly calls the village
of Arkwasiye illegal (p. 19) and considers that the mis-
sion team was also informed that a win-win solution had nally
been found for the problem of the Arkwasiye village (p. 11). In
2009, after the relocation had been completed, a joint
mission by UNESCO and IUCN recognized consider-
able progress … in restoring and enhancing the Outstanding
Universal Values (OUVs) for which the park was inscribed
in 1978 and in particular noted the relocation of Ark-
wasiye as a signicant achievement which creates opportuni-
ties for the wildlife whilst improving the livelihoods of those who
were relocated (UNESCO / IUCN 2009). The relocation
was executed by the local national park administra-
tion with nancial and technical support given by the
Austrian Development Agency (ADA). The institu-
tions involved seem to bear testimony to a cautious
and thoughtful process. However, the relocation was
to be evaluated some three years later in the context of
a master thesis at Klagenfurt University (Tiru 2011).
Research questions and methods
Given that relocation is a highly sensitive matter, the
authors do not intend to initiate an ethical or political
discussion. The focus of the case study is strictly on
the impacts of this relocation. The study focuses on
the following research questions:
- The economic dimension: is there any evidence to
show in what way relocation has had any effects on
the economic situation of the inhabitants and the
households of former Arkwasiye, now Kayit?
- The social dimension: how do the village residents
perceive and evaluate the changes in their personal,
i.e. individual everyday life and community life?
- The ecological dimension: does the relocation have
any effects on the ecological situation, the land uses
and the endangered wildlife?
Figure 2 – Map of the project area, E.C.O. 2012.
Tiru Berihun Tessema, Michael Jungmeier & Michael Huber
The ndings presented in this paper are based on
quantitative and qualitative interviews and workshops.
There were numerous face-to-face interviews with lo-
cal residents, representatives of the local communities,
the park management and regional as well as local ad-
ministrations (Tiru 2011).
Of 165 former Arkwasiye households, members of
64 households were interviewed, i.e. 39% of the total
number of households. A breakdown of the sample
of interviewees in terms of gender, age, household
size, education and years spent in Arkwasiye is pre-
sented in Figure 3. There was not a single refusal to
be interviewed and thus the response rate was 100%.
In addition to the interviews, materials and literature
were assessed and used for a plausibility check. Partic-
ular attention was given to feedback loops with those
responsible for the management of the park. To gain
an overview of the ecological situation after Arkwasi-
ye was relocated, the old location was visited, together
with different stakeholders and experts, to evaluate the
ecological dimension (Tiru 2011).
Finally, at this point, a semantic aspect must be
emphasized: A large number of words signify the physical
dispossession of peoples from their lands: displacement, dis-
location, eviction, exclusion and involuntary resettlement are
routinely used (Redford & Fearn 2007). We prefer the
term relocation because it is used in ofcial documents
(e.g. Debonnet at al. 2006; UNESCO / IUCN 2009)
and does not seem to have an ideological connotation.
Also the spelling of toponyms and species is in ac-
cordance with the two said documents.
Relocation – background and process
Simien Mountains National Park (SMNP) is a prom-
inent example of the Ethiopian national parks. Locat-
ed in the North Gondar Zone of the Amhara Region,
its territory covers the Simien Mountains and includes
Ras Dashen (4 430 m), the highest point in Ethio-
pia. The park was established in 1969 and, alongside
Awash NP in Oromia, it is one of only two gazetted
national parks in the country. USAID (2008) considers
that the conservation of Ethiopia’s biodiversity is an issue of
global importance … Threats to Ethiopia’s biodiversity, tropical
forests, and resource base can be broadly linked to the following
categories: limited governmental, institutional, and legal capac-
ity; population growth; land degradation; weak management
of protected areas. Conservation International includes
the Eastern Afromontane Biome, as represented by
SMNP, in the list of the most endangered terrestrial
ecoregions (Mittermaier et al. 2004). SMNP represents
the typical situation of the developing country where
a threat to … biodiversity is serious and urgent action in policy
and on the ground implementation is required (Institute of
Biodiversity Conservation 2009; see also ÖBF 2009).
Hurni & Ludi (2000) describe the SMNP as a rep-
resentative landscape of the northern Ethiopian high-
lands, characterized by topographic ruggedness with steep
escarpments – and with breath-taking beauty ... [it] has a rich
natural biodiversity with altitudinal successions of fauna and
ora and many endemic species of which the Walia ibex has
become a national symbol. In their comprehensive mono-
graph, Hurni & Ludi (2000) provide an overview of
SMNP and the development options of the region
and its villages. However, over the past few years, fur-
ther research has added to the picture of an area of
outstanding importance for biodiversity (e.g. Puff &
Nemomissa 2005).
On account of its Outstanding Universal Values,
the park was recognized as a World Heritage Site in
1978 by the UNESCO World Heritage Committee. As
a late consequence of the civil war in the 1980s, which
had led to the destruction of the infrastructure of the
park, and thus, presumably, to a reduction in the num-
ber of Walia ibex, the site was included in 1996 in the
List of World Heritage Sites in danger. The authorities
responsible for the administration of the park were
required to reorganize the management, as well as
the park itself, to achieve the ofcial removal of the
park from the list of endangered sites. Debonnet et
al. (2006) remark that there are no accurate estimates on how
many people were included in the park at its creation in 1969.
However it is clear that substantially more than half of the
extent of the park was under human use at the time of inscrip-
tion. In 1979 … 7 villages were relocated from the northern
slopes of the escarpment. This forced resettlement resulted in
tensions between the local communities and the park manage-
ment authorities. However, the human impact on SMNP
remained high. Consequently, based on diverse initia-
tives, the boundaries of the park were to be re-aligned
to exclude villages and intensively used areas and to
integrate ecologically valuable areas. The village of
Arkwasiye happened to be located on a wildlife corri-
dor between the old part of the park and the extended
area of the Silki Yared and Kiddis Yared Mountains.
At that time, Arkwasiye village consisted of ap-
proximately 165 households. Originally, Arkwasiye
had been an open air market place at a strategically
important pass between the Meshaha and the Ansiya
valleys. Situated at the crossing of old trading routes
between Gonder, Mekelle, Axum and Lalibela, it was
a place where mainly the surpluses from subsistence
Figure 3 – Sample of interviewees (based on Tiru 2011).
16 Research
Economic effects
Originally, Arkwasiye had been a temporary market
place. With the economic opportunities this market
place offered, it had attracted more and more people
to settle permanently and thus the village grew. The
interviews indicate clearly that settling in Arkwasiye
went along with a change of jobs and income (Fig-
ure 4 and Figure 5). Most of the newcomers (65%)
had a farming background and developed new ways
of making a living. Their activities expanded from just
agriculture or livestock farming to various forms of
trading and so they had more than one source of in-
come (Figure 4). Arkwasiye, as desolate as it may have
seemed from its outward appearance, had obviously
become an economic promise of success to the sur-
rounding rural population in that region.
Even though it is only two kilometres away, the re-
location from Arkwasiye to Kayit seems to have con-
siderably affected the income opportunities of the vil-
lagers. Most strikingly, a return to farming has become
necessary to compensate for the loss of trade-related
incomes (Figure 4). The inhabitants have therefore no
other option but to return to their original activities.
The statement of a man in his forties illustrates the
changes caused by the relocation: “... at my original place,
my occupation was farming, after I settled at Arkwasiye, I was
engaged in farming and rural trading, but now ... I shifted to my
early work – farming.” (quotation by Tiru 2011; p. 43).
As a result of the shift in occupations, household
incomes seem to have decreased signicantly (Fig-
ure 5). The interviews demonstrate that the number
of households with very small incomes of not more
than 2500 birr per year (i.e. less than 150 USD) have
doubled, whereas the number of households with
relatively higher incomes have decreased. The average
incomes are even lower than what they had been be-
fore the villagers left their original homes to settle in
Arkwasiye. Although it may be argued that this nd-
ing is based only on interviews and may be biased by
external factors (e.g. ination) or intrinsic interests of
the interviewees, the results do indeed seem to be suf-
ciently plausible. However, not all experts involved
share this point of view (Moll 2012, oral comm.). It
cannot be disputed, however, that the sources of in-
come are minimal and clearly below the poverty line
as dened by the World Bank (Ravallion et al. 2009).
The social effects and living conditions
The cultural and social effects on the communities
as a result of relocation are a major concern (Dowie
2009). Cernea (2007) identies eight major risks re-
lated to resettlement, such as landlessness, jobless-
ness, homelessness, marginalization, food insecurity,
increased morbidity and mortality, loss of access to
common property and, last but not least, social disin-
Figure 4 – Changing patterns of livelihood (based on interviews in 64 households;
Tiru 2011).
Figure 5 – Changes in household incomes (based on interviews in 64 households;
Tiru 2011).
production were bartered. A few traders sold house-
hold items, spices or clothes (Hurni & Ludi 2000). The
rst houses were built some 25 to 30 years ago during
the violent conicts in Northern Ethiopia. Owing to
the favourable location between three weredas (munici-
palities), the place had attracted more and more new
settlers from adjacent villages (Tiru 2011).
To prepare for the relocation of the inhabitants
from Arkwasiye to Kayit (the new place), the national
park management founded a committee in close col-
laboration with ADA (the Austrian development
agency) and village representatives. A plan of action
was prepared together with the residents and a com-
pensation scheme was negotiated and agreed upon.
The compensation became an incentive to facilitate
voluntary relocation. In 2007 the relocation process
took place. It was supervised by a technical committee
established by the local government. Arkwasiye was
dismantled (Tiru 2011).
Tiru Berihun Tessema, Michael Jungmeier & Michael Huber
Not one of these consequences can be identied in
the interviews. People still live in the same environ-
ment, at the same altitude and in the same cultural
and social context. The interviews give no indication
of any kind of relocation shock. Many respondents
(45%) even stated that the relationship with those who
are responsible for the management of the park has
developed positively, both through and since the relo-
cation process. Only 18% of the interviewees stated
that their atttutide towards the park was less positive
than it was before.
Arkwasiye did not have deep roots as it was a tem-
porary village, i.e. it had always been a settlement
with insufcient housing. Even the most basic infra-
structures and services were either lacking altogether
or were very poor. From this point of view, it is un-
derstandable that the perception of the interviewees
is clearly positive, as they state that the newly built
houses are of better quality, an elementary school and
a local health post have been established and a well to
supply water has been constructed and it functions.
Even though the standard is very basic, the respond-
ents repeatedly refer to the new elementary school,
providing basic education for some 70 children. All
of the respondents agree that the social services have
substantially improved in the new village, especially
with regard to the provision of water, education and
health services. To what extent these upgraded ser-
vices and infrastructures can contribute to a new level
of welfare and empowerment cannot be validated yet.
However, an increase in the population could be
an indication that this is not unlikely. The compara-
bly good provision of social services in Kayit has at-
tracted new settlers from the adjacent areas. Since it
became established, the population of Kayit has in-
creased notably by 55 families (260 persons). Even
those who had not owned a house in Arkwasiye also
received compensation, which enabled them to con-
struct a new house in Kayit. This is an additional fac-
tor that accounts for the increase in the number of
households. However, this does not fully explain the
increase in the number of inhabitants. There is some
evidence that the quality of the new health and educa-
tion services has somewhat declined with the arrival
of the newcomers because of the limited capacity of
the institutions.
The ecological effects
Since there is no systematic monitoring of the eco-
logical effects as yet, the ecologic evaluation can be
based only on the observations of Tiru (2011). He
states that the pressure on pasture land for grazing
has increased, not only in the surroundings of Kayit
but also in the surroundings of what was formerly
Arkwasiye. Taking into account the results of the eco-
nomic evaluation, these observations seem plausible.
The increase in grazing pressure clearly contradicts the
goals of the relocation (Debonnet et al. 2006). From
a more general perspective, the UNESCO & IUCN
(2010) emphasize the fact that grazing is still an out-
standing issue for the removal of the park from the list
of endangered World Heritage Sites. However, a nal
evaluation of ecological effects cannot yet be given.
Any kind of relocation in the context of conser-
vation has come under critical debate. Schmidt-Soltau
(2005) claims that it has become a common [sic] phenom-
enon, that people are sacriced for the sake of biodiversity
and wildlife. Summing up decades of experiences with the popu-
lation displacement approach, Cernea & Schmidt-Soltau
(2003) argue that this strategy has exhausted its potential and
its credibility. In Ethiopia relocation is a practice used
repeatedly to serve different purposes, one of which
is conservation (Biressu 2009; Dowie 2009). In a criti-
cal reection of his investigation on resettlements for
improving agricultural practices in Ethiopia, Walle et
al. (2011) conclude by uttering a warning, To this end,
when resettlement is an unavoidable means of securing food self-
sufciency, it should be minimized by investigation of all viable
project options.
In comparison with the drastic statements and ex-
amples of evictions for conservation purposes, as
presented by diverse authors (Cernea 2006; Cernea
& Schmidt-Soltau 2003; Dowie 2009; Lasgorceix &
Kothari 2009; Redford & Fearn 2007; Schmidt-Soltau
2005), the process in SMNP was obviously profession-
ally prepared and implemented in a considerate and
tactful way. The fundamental right to be able to de-
cide voluntarily to relocate was respected and this was
conrmed by the villagers in the interviews as well as
by the international institutions (e.g. Debonnet et al.
2006; UNESCO / IUCN 2009). The improvement of
services and infrastructures, in addition to the com-
pensation offered, made the idea to relocate attractive
for the former residents of Arkwasiye. The increased
appreciation shown to those who manage the park in-
Figure 6 – A new village for some 165 families: Kayit. © M. Jungmeier
18 Research
dicates that the process was performed and perceived
in a positive way.
From a professional and technical point of view, the
reasons for the relocation were understandable and
made sense. Not only was the relocation an interna-
tional prerequisite to securing the desired status of
World Heritage Site, but the unplanned and uncon-
trolled sprawl of the settlement would have required
some kind of intervention anyway. The removal of a
considerable barrier in an important ecological corri-
dor seems to be more than plausible (see Figure 2).
Thus the intervention in the form of relocation was,
nonetheless, a move towards a planned and well-regu-
lated form of development for the future.
However, even well planned and implemented re-
locations may have some unexpected side-effects af-
fecting local livelihoods (Dhakal 2006; McLean 1999).
In the case of Arkwasiye, the relocation resulted in
increasing grazing pressure, which had not been fore-
seen. The two main reasons for this unexpected out-
come were the necessity of the local residents to re-
turn to farming and livestock breeding, and the fact
that additional settlers were attracted to Kayit because
of the new and improved infrastructure and services.
This situation could have become clear in an ex-ante
evaluation and been avoided by taking appropriate
measures before the people were relocated.
The same applies with regard to the obvious loss
of income. As they are no longer close to the most
important eco-touristic infrastructure, the hiking trail
to Ras Dashen and the traditional market place, it is –
and will be – more difcult for the villagers to develop
complementary and alternative sources of earning in
addition to their agricultural incomes. None of the
interviews pointed to any future perspectives. These
results suggest that a post-relocation development
initiative is essential. Dhakal (2006) describes mecha-
nisms and results of such an initiative by referring to
Chitwan National Park (Nepal) as an example and he
points out how important the role of the NGOs is in
such a process. To nd a solution to the issue of live-
stock-farming, it must be treated in a broader context
(Hurni & Ludi 2000; Grünenfelder 2005).
Hence, a nal appraisal of the relocation of Ark-
wasiye village cannot be given yet. Since the relocation
of Arkwasiye is meant to be a prototype for one or
two further relocations from the park, for instance the
village of Gich, the authors make the following sug-
gestions for similar operations:
- Basically, relocations are always problematic for the
social, economic and ecological systems.
- The fundamental right to be free to make volun-
tary decisions and to participate are indispensable
- Ex-ante and ex-post evaluations with all stakehold-
ers are required.
- The post-relocation measures need to be carefully
prepared and nancially secured.
- A systematic monitoring of key parameters must
document the process for at least 20 years.
On principle, a long-term view must be taken of
any intervention in the management of a national park
and needs to be questioned against the concepts of
pro-poor conservation (Roe et al. 2003). For the SMNP,
Hurni & Ludi (2000) envisage moderate modernization as
a suitable way to improve livelihoods, remove vulner-
ability, reduce degradation and preserve a globally im-
portant World Heritage Site.
The authors want to express their gratitude to Leon-
hard Moll, ADA (formerly in Addis Abbeba, now in
Palestine), to Ato Tessome Mulu (ADAs SMNP Inte-
grated Development Project) and to Alexandros Ma-
karigakis, UNESCO Ofce Addis Abeba. The study
was made possible by an ADA / ÖAD scholarship and
the kind support of the Austrian National Commit-
tee for the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Programme
at the Austrian Academy of the Sciences. Our thanks
are also due to Peter Rupitisch for providing the pho-
tographs and to Elisabeth Kreimer for the graphics,
as well as to Günter Köck, Christina Pichler-Koban
and Elizabeth Eneld, all of whom contributed to the
critical revision of this paper.
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Acronyms and abbreviations
ADA: Austrian Development Agency
IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Na-
UNESCO: United Nations Educational Scientic and
Cultural Organization
WHS: World Heritage Site
SMNP: Simien Mountains National Park
Tiru Berihun Tessema
Born in 1963, he has an education in business ad-
ministration and is a graduate of the MSc programme
Management of Protected Areas at Klagenfurt University.
He works for the Amhara Regional Government State,
North Gondar Zone, Gondar, Ethiopia;
20 Research
Michael Jungmeier
Born in 1965, the biologist and human geographer
runs the MSc programme Management of Protected Areas
at the Institute of Economics, University of Klagen-
furt. He is C.E.O. of E.C.O., a consultancy specializ-
ing in protected areas, 9020 Klagenfurt, Austria;
email: Corresponding author
Michael Huber
Born in 1983, the landscape planner is project man-
ager at E.C.O., Institute of Ecology, 9020 Klagenfurt,
... Nowadays, the park and its wildlife are one of the most famous tourism destinations in Nepal because of the park's abundant wildlife, interesting local culture and easy accessibility. Huber (2012) Adjacent to CNP, the Parsa Wildlife Reserve and the Valmiki National Park are located on the other side of the Indian border. These protected areas are a habitat of major importance for tiger conservation (Tiger Conservation Unit -TCU Chitwan-Parsa-Valmiki, WIKRAMANAYAKE et al. 1999). ...
... Armed check post at CNP entrance; elephant safari in Baghmara Community Forest, CNP Buffer zone (Huber 2012) The superior importance of wildlife management is not adequately addressed by the FoAs. In CNP, there are significant populations of tigers, rhinoceros, elephants, gharials and sloth bears. ...
... Various studies prove that these are not necessarily related to local culture but also to development issues, use of natural resources and the natural environment (e.g. TIRU et al 2012;CHAUDRY et al. 2006;ALLENDORF 2006;GUDKOVA 2012;COUTINHO 2012, PETRI 2012ALKAN 2009). They indicate that many differences are not bound to nation-or culture-specific contents but to a larger context (e.g. level of development, natural environment, local livelihoods). ...
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The number and extent of protected areas worldwide has increased dramatically over the past century. By 2011, 177 000 protected areas covered a total of about 23 million square kilometres of land and sea. Protected areas are widely recognized as a major tool for the conservation of species and ecosystems. Additionally, they help to safeguard natural resources and areas of cultural importance which local communities and indigenous peoples depend on (BIP 2010). Consequently, protected areas are a cornerstone of sustainable development. Protected areas managed to integrate development into conservation. Protected area management bodies generate, document, apply and share knowledge of sustainability all over the world. Besides protected areas, there is hardly any other institution worldwide which is able to accumulate such an amount of specific knowledge of sustainable processes. Due to the combination of global knowledge and its practical application in local contexts, transculturality can be considered a constitutive element of protected area management. International organisations and conventions provide a globally accepted framework and standards for protected area management facilitating mutual understanding amongst conservationists worldwide. Additionally, they try to share tools and spread best practice examples throughout the world. However, the success of complex processes such as a transfer of knowledge and experience highly depends on considering the respective cultural backgrounds. The international MSc programme “Management of Protected Areas” in Klagenfurt (Austria) contributes to the education of highly qualified professionals for protected area management at international level. Its content is structured by “Fields of Activity” and provides a comprehensive basis for a sustainable management of protected areas. The content is based on European experiences and perspectives. Nonetheless, in each round of the course, participants from outside Europe (e.g. Asia, Africa and Latin America) take part. Thus, the course facilitates the exchange of knowledge of professionals from different parts of the world. Assuming a strong cultural component of protected area management and thinking of a culturally diverse world, the question arises whether the concept of this master programme is equally appropriate for the management of protected areas in other cultures and other parts of the world. Can the programme possibly serve as a model structure for similar international programmes? Which adaptations have to be made? Which prerequisites are needed to instigate a successful international exchange? Which barriers inhibit an exchange across cultural borders? This book seeks answers to these questions by taking the examples of Austria and Nepal. Thereby, it tries to contribute to the discussion on developing global training and education schemes for protected area managers. A framework for evaluating the transcultural transferability and necessary adaptations is developed and applied. Four protected areas (Chitwan National Park, Annapurna Conservation Area in Nepal, Hohe Tauern National Park (Carinthian part) and Donau-Auen National Park in Austria) were chosen for this study. In a first step, the concept of culture of Tylor is used to analyse the general cultural context of Austria and Nepal. In a further step, the organisational knowledge of all case study sites and its significance for an exchange of knowledge is evaluated by means of a knowledge assessment, based on the model of Intellectual Capital Reporting of Austrian Universities. Different cultural specifications of the respective “Fields of Activity” of the Klagenfurt Master Programme are evaluated in the case study sites by interviewing protected area professionals and local representatives. Experts, professionals and students of the Master Programme and alumni have frequently been involved to discuss selected findings as well as conclusions and recommendations. Austria and Nepal apparently have a different cultural, political, and economic background. However, the findings of this study indicate that both countries share a similar vision of conserving biodiversity. The knowledge assessments carried out reveal that protected area management bodies face similar challenges and have similar goals and tasks. From a general point of view, the proposed and investigated structure is indeed applied in a similar way. However, the more detailed and operational knowledge is, the more differences are observed. Consequently, it shows that each field of activity has globally applied contents but also contents adapted to suit local conditions. Some aspects of protected area management are still completely different. The most striking differences are related to extensive law enforcement activities, the importance of wildlife management and the role of protected area management in poverty alleviation in Nepal. Two major categories of differences in application and content are identified through two major causes. Differences occur due to the natural environment (e.g. wildlife, topographical features and climate) and due to cultural differences (activities which affect the lives of people or which are defined by society such as governance models). Thus, differences in management are not inherently cultural. Based on these findings, the organisational framework for a transcultural knowledge exchange in the field of protected area management is discussed and general principles are presented. In a discussion process which involved experts from both countries, the importance of a personalized exchange was outlined and characteristics of exchangeable knowledge were elaborated. Exchange should focus on the level of competences and be based on case studies. Special attention is drawn to the role of cultural translators who are considered an essential part for every complex or enduring exchange activity. In general, a global basic understanding on protected areas amongst professionals prevails. Apparently, international frameworks and categories are giving rise to a global protected area “sub-culture”. This may provide a basis for global knowledge exchange. However, international exchange in the field of protected areas (e.g. through joint education programmes) goes far beyond a mere exchange of knowledge. It additionally serves as an inspiring input for innovation as well as for building-up an international network to instigate future cooperation and mutual understanding. The importance of intercultural issues in communication and cooperation is still underestimated. Exchange of knowledge is not only limited to the contents but rather to the design of the communication process. This study shows that the proposed and investigated structure provides a promising starting point for an international training scheme applicable in different cultural contexts as it proved to be applicable and relevant in Austria as well as in Nepal. However, a successful transfer of this knowledge depends on an adequate adaptation of individual contents. Therefore, an approach for categorizing the contents of individual Fields of Activity is derived from the findings referring to the scope and type of content. In general, the topic of gender and knowledge management proves to be relevant for most fields of activity but has been addressed inadequately so far. It should be integrated into the European concept as well. The conclusions and principles for a successful transcultural knowledge exchange are summarized in the “Charta of Klagenfurt”. Several recommendations for a transcultural exchange and improving knowledge exchange in protected areas are expressed. The framework developed in the course of the study provides an approach of how to evaluate, how to adapt and how to organise an exchange of knowledge. The results are useful for everyone in international and intercultural cooperation.
... A scientific paper was published on the results of this study; seeTiru Tessema, Jungmeier and Huber (2012) ...
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Successful graduates of the Klagenfurt Master.programme “Management of Protected Areas" present abstracts of their research work on “Protected areas in focus: analysis and evaluation” by example of parks in Austria; Bangladesh; Carpathian eco-region; Ecuador; Ethiopia; Romania; Serbia; Slovakia; Sudan; Uganda and Ukraine. Contents in detail: Planning of protected areas on sitelevel: Strategies to improve the protection of the Gorgany Nature Reserve, Ukraine; Feasibility check for PAN Park certification of Tatra National Park, Slovakia; Planning and developing national and internationally protected area systems: Recommendations for implementing the IUCN protected area management categories in Serbia; Potentials and challenges of a transboundary park between the Dinder and Alatish National Parks of Sudan and Ethiopia. Participation, communication and governance in protected areas: Guidelines for the development of a participatory management of protected areas in the Carpathian Ecoregion; Planning and managing Sacred Natural Sites of the Great Inca Trail in Sangay National Park, Ecuador; The role of UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in regional governance networks. Ecological aspects in the management of protected areas: Ecological asessement of biodiversity pressures in Mgahinga Gorilla National Park, Uganda; Best practice guidelines for Management planning of Natura 2000sites; Impact assessment of expansion of garden coffee production system at Kafa Coffee Biosphere Reserve, Ethiopia. Tourism and livelihood inprotected areas: Valuation of the tourism activities of the Mures Floodplain Nature Park, Romania; Prospects for conservation and sustainable livelihood in Sundarbans Reserve Forest World Heritage and Ramsar Site, Bangladesh. Economic and social aspects in the management of protected areas: New ways of cooperation between regional businesses and the Kalkalpen National Park, Austria; Economic and cultural values related to the Vel’ká Fatra National Park, Slovakia; Social, economic and ecologicaleffects of the relocation of the village of Arkwasiye in Simien Mountain National Park in Ethiopia.
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In 2013 the Austrian Man and the Biosphere (MAB) research programme, funded by the Federal Ministry for Science and Research (BMWF) and coordinated by a National Committee at the Austrian Academy of Sciences (OAW), celebrated its 40th anniversary this year, making it one of the longest existing national MAB committees. This article provides a short history of the international MAB programme and the Austrian MAB National Committee and highlights selected top research.
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The objectives of this research were to: 1) assess the land-use changes and soil fertility management activities of resettlers in the new resettlement areas of Metema and Quara Woredas (Districts), 2) compare average working days spent by resettlers on private and communal land conservation practices before and after the resettlement, and 3) compare resettlersû level of participation in natural forest protection and tree planting in the two Woredas. The study was conducted in six resettlement Kebeles (villages) of Metema and Quara Woredas of Amhara region, Ethiopia. An interview schedule was employed to collect data from 337 resettlers, selected by simple random sampling technique. Data were analyzed by descriptive and inferential statistics to test hypotheses at the .05 significant level. The findings revealed that above 76 percent of sampled resettlers in Metema and above 65 percent in Quara never practiced any type of soil fertility management practices in the new resettlement areas. Resettlersû total level of participation in natural forest protection and tree planting was found to be at low level in both of the Woredas. Hypotheses testing using paired t-test revealed that average number of working days spent on private and communal land conservation before the resettlement were significantly higher than after the resettlement at p < .001. On the other hand, hypotheses testing using independent t-test revealed that total level of participation in natural forest protection and tree planting between the two Woredas did not show significant difference except for seedling preparation at p < .01. In general, natural resource degradation in the resettlement areas was moving at an alarming rate, while conservation practices were found at the low level. Hence, the local government should strive to raise the awareness of resettlers towards natural resource conservation activities; and the appropriate authorities need to intervene to integrate urgently needed development and conservation measures.
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Relocation of human populations from the protected areas results in a host of socio—economic impacts. In India, in many cases, especially relating to tribal communities that have been relatively isolated from the outside world, the displacement is traumatic from both economic and cultural points of view. This paper provides brief case studies of displacement (past, ongoing, or proposed) from protected areas, number of villages/families displaced, the place where these villages/families were relocated to, governance of the relocation process, and the kind or nature of relocation (voluntary, induced or forced). It finds that not even a single study shows the ecological costs and benefits of relocation, comparing what happens at the old site to what happens as the rehabilitation site. This is a shocking gap, given that relocation is always justified from the point of view of reducing pressures and securing wildlife habitats.
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The article presents the first major update of the international $1 a day poverty line, proposed in World Development Report 1990: Poverty for measuring absolute poverty by the standards of the world's poorest countries. In a new and more representative data set of national poverty lines, a marked economic gradient emerges only when consumption per person is above about $2.00 a day at 2005 purchasing power parity. Below this, the average poverty line is $1.25, which is proposed as the new international poverty line. The article tests the robustness of this line to alternative estimation methods and explains how it differs from the old $1 a day line. Copyright The Author 2009. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development / the world bank . All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail:, Oxford University Press.
Since the Rio Conference of 1992, which declared the conservation of biodiversity and the creation of national parks to be priorities, resettlements resulting from conservation projects in Central Africa have been on the increase, as people living inside protected areas are relocated. Hardly any of these resettlements have been successful. There has been resistance to moving in the first place, and even returns to former villages inside the national parks. Resettlement is still the most common way to deal with people who happen to live in African national parks, but the risks which arise from these resettlements have led some scientists to rethink their position. This article focuses on the Congo River Basin. It reviews the only ‘official’ relocation programme in the region (Korup National Park, Cameroon) and evaluates different approaches of national parks in Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Congo (Brazzaville) and Gabon. The author uses the Impoverishment Risk and Reconstruction model introduced by Cernea to evaluate the risks faced by the resettled populations, and to elaborate some social and environmental guidelines to mitigate them.
This thesis deals with resettlement and local livelihoods in Nechsar National Park, in Southern Ethiopia. It asks three main questions: Why is resettlement of the Guji out of Nechsar National Park emphasized? What are the arguments? What is the relation between the park and its natural resources and the Guji livelihoods? What is the place and right of local communities in natural resource management in the national political context? To answer these questions, data was collected through fieldwork that involved the collection of both oral and written sources. Qualitative analysis of the data shows that the Guji in Nechsar area are dependent on the natural resources of the park for their livelihoods, as they get key resources like water and pasture for their cattle from there. Despite this, park development projects in Nechsar National Park have emphasized resettlement of the Guji out of the park. The move with which the park tried to implement the resettlement was more coercive than participatory and consensual, despite government decentralization policy’s recognition of the importance of local communities’ participation in natural resource management and the protection of their livelihoods, in case environmental projects impact them. Such emphasis on the resettlement of the Guji out of the park is embedded within conservation ideology, perception of mode of life of the Guji and local political contexts. In view of the fact that emphasizing on the financial and environmental aspects of protected area management to the neglect of its social dimension causes problems both to the resource users and the wildlife, the thesis recommends the pursuance of double sustainability, in which the protection of the environment and local livelihoods should be emphasized simultaneously, in line with Cernea and Schmidt-Soltau (2006).