The efforts being made to conserve national parks and strengthen forestations through the Green Legacy Initiative in Ethiopia play significant role to enhance tourism development and environmental protection, Ambassador of France to Ethiopia, Rémi Maréchaux.
In an exclusive interview with ENA, Ambassador Maréchaux said the Green Legacy Initiative and the national parks preservation activities belong to the same approach in preserving the national assets of Ethiopia which are crucial to strengthen the tourism sector and benefits of the people.
He said that to increase the tourism industry, the protection of bio-diversity and preserve the wellbeing of the environment is essential.
In this regard, Ethiopia’s environmental protection activities being carried out through its Green Legacy Initiative, a flagship program initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in June 2019, is also believed to boost biodiversity in addition to its contribution to ensuring food security of the country.
As per the initiative, the nation has planted 25 billion seedlings in four years exceeding the target by 5 billion.
Ethiopia’s forest coverage has jumped over 17 percent due to the planting of seedlings carried out during the stated years through the initiative.
Ambassador Maréchaux pointed out that the efforts being made through the Green Legacy Initiative and conserve national parks in Ethiopia play significant role to enhance tourism development and environmental protection.
According to him, Ethiopia is endowed with enormous varieties of plant and animal species vital to the development of ecotourism.
Ethiopia is an incredibly rich country for biodiversity with more than 6000 plant species amongst which 10 percent are endemic.
Ethiopia is also house of many endemic animal species. It has thus a leading role in the preservation of biodiversity.
Therefore, the Ambassador said, besides the conservation of the historical heritages of Ethiopia, such as the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, it is very important to complement these assets by conserving wild life assets in order to help flourish the tourism sector of the country.
It is to be noted the French Development Agency, AFD, and the Hailemariam & Roman Foundation (HRF) have signed a 5-million-Euro grant agreement for a project to preserve Ethiopia's Maze National Park and its watershed last week.
The ambassador said “This project is the first of its kind regarding of the biodiversity, so it is very important to start with this Maze National park project region of the country of rich biodiversity projects this one is the first in Ethiopia.
He further expressed hope that the project will be followed by other projects to conserve other national parks and all together with the heritages it will help to increase the tourist attractions of Ethiopia.
‘’We can be exemplary for other Ethiopian National Parks and that wildlife could become tourist attractions in addition to the heritages in Ethiopia.’’
The project on the Preservation of Maze National Park (MzNP) and its Watershed in Ethiopia is envisaged to make the park a model of well-managed, functional national park which adequately renders social, economic, and ecological benefits to the local communities that have long been the guardians of this relatively intact park.
France has been working in collaboration with Ethiopia in the tourism sector in protecting and restoring historical heritages, and human resources development in the tourism sector including the preservation of the Lalibela Rock-Hewn Churches.
Source: Ethiopian News Agency