The HRF and the Agence Française de Development (AFD) signed a financial agreement for a project to preserve Ethiopia’s Maze National Park and its watershed, on August 4, 2023, at Hyatt Regency Hotel, Addis Ababa.
Introducing the signing ceremony, H.E. French Ambassador Rémi Maréchaux reminded participants of the uniqueness of Ethiopian biodiversity and emphasized “the comprehensive approach of the project that will support the conservation of biodiversity in Maze National Park but also improve the conditions of the surrounding communities and finally ensure sufficient water flow in Maze’s River for the benefits of the nature and the people.”
In his keynote remarks, the Former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chair of the HRF, H.E. Hailemariam Dessalegn, pointed out that due to population pressure and climate change, the biodiversity stock of Ethiopia has been dwindling, and most of the remnant biodiversity resources are found only in peripheries that are designated as protected areas. Although the protected area system of Ethiopia covers 10% of the country’s land mass, many of them need to be legally gazetted, and their management system needs more capacity due to limited funding, poor facilities, and understaffing, resulting in low management effectiveness. Thus, preserving the remaining biodiversity resources in these peripheral areas is a matter of survival and an emergency response.
The financial agreement signing ceremony paves the way for the formal commencement of the project in December 2023. Thus, this heralds a new chapter of partnership between HRF and AFD towards taking practical and positive steps to curb the ongoing biodiversity degradation in Ethiopia while ensuring lasting and sustainable benefits to the local communities who have been playing a guardianship role in preserving the resources.
The ceremony was attended by prominent figures, including the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia and HRF Board Chair, the French Ambassador to Ethiopia, the former First Lady of Ethiopia and HRF CEO, the Deputy Director of Agence Française de Development (AFD), the Deputy CEO and Head of Programs, the Program Chief of the Climate Smart Conservation and Ecotourism Program, the Maze National Park Chief Warden, and other guests.
The financial agreement was signed by H.E. Roman Tesfaye, the Former First Lady & CEO of the HRF, and Sonia Lioret, Deputy Director AFD.