Ethiopia’s Bale Mountains National Park and the Gedeo Cultural Landscape have recently been honored with inclusion on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. This significant announcement was made during the 45th session of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The Gedeo Cultural Landscape marks a momentous milestone as the 100th World Heritage site inscription in the African region. Additionally, the Bale Mountains National Park has been acknowledged for its global significance and added to the World Heritage roster.
These latest inscriptions elevate Ethiopia’s presence on the UNESCO list to a total of eleven heritage sites. Since adopting the World Heritage Convention in 1972, UNESCO has been committed to recognizing and preserving sites of outstanding universal value. Ethiopia’s first entries to this prestigious list were the Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches and the Simien National Park in 1978. Currently, Ethiopia boasts nine cultural heritage sites and two natural heritage sites, including the Semien Mountain and Bale Mountains National Parks.
The World Heritage Convention endeavors to protect such extraordinary places for posterity, acknowledging their universal significance and the imperative for international cooperation in their preservation.
UNESCO Word Heritage Sites. New Inscribed Properities:
BALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK
A Mosaic of Nature’s Magnificence
In the core of Ethiopia, the Bale Mountains National Park emerges as a haven, conserving a rich tapestry of natural wonder. This wonder is crafted by the fusion of archaic lava outpourings, the shaping force of glaciation, and the defining impact of the Great Rift Valley. The park is home to a collection of volcanic peaks, striking cliffs, vast valleys, ice-bound glacial lakes, lush forests, deep gorges, and a plethora of waterfalls, all contributing to its unmatched natural charm. This realm serves as a sanctuary for a diverse range of life, capturing a wide spectrum of biodiversity at the ecosystem, species, and genetic levels. It is notably the origin of five crucial rivers, essential for providing water and sustaining the livelihoods of countless individuals in Ethiopia and further afield.
THE GEDEO CULTURAL LANDSCAPE
A Harmony of Tradition and Nature
Perched along the eastern brink of the Main Ethiopian Rift and woven into the steep highlands of Ethiopia, the Gedeo Cultural Landscape is revealed. This area, a stronghold of agroforestry, practices a layered cultivation technique. Towering trees form a protective umbrella over the native enset, a principal food source, under which coffee and various undergrowths thrive. The Gedeo, a community densely populating this land, are guardians of age-old knowledge, crucial for managing the local forests. Within these cultivated slopes are hallowed woodlands, integral to the spiritual rites of the Gedeo people. The mountain crests are graced with clusters of ancient megalithic structures, revered.