Gedeo striving to additional UNESCO’s inscriptions

Bale mountains also become World Heritage Site

ADDIS ABABA – The Gedeo Culture and Tourism Department of South Ethiopia State said consolidated efforts are underway to make the area’s splendor heritages inscribed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

 Ethiopia managed to register two major tourist destinations namely the Gedeo Cultural Landscape and Bale Mountains National Park as World Heritage Sites in UNESCO’s 45th World Heritage Committee meeting in Riyadh last Sunday and yesterday respectively.

Approached by The Ethiopian Herald, Department’s Promotion and Information Expert Daniel Ketema stated that various efforts had been made to inscribe the Gedeo community’s unique land management, historical artifacts, and standing stones, cave inscriptions and traditionally managed forests in UNESCO.

Moreover, a number of activities have been carried out towards the Gedeo community’s cultural judicial system inscription under UNESCO in the intangible category. The system focuses on mutual understanding, reconciliation, fairness, and development in the area. There are over 520 shengos (association of local elders) in the area to facilitate such activities.

The expert further noted that the Gedeo people have over 5,000 –year-long history of preserving and conserving the environment including forest and heritage and passed from generation to generation. The zone has magnificent cultural, historical and natural tourist attractions whilst local fathers have been playing an indispensable role in preserving and developing the resources wisely.

Out of the 10,000 standing stones or stela – archaeological sites in East Africa, over 6,000 are located in Gedeo.

Last year, the zonal administration discussed with over 15,000 individuals drawn from different sections of the society including students, teachers, researchers and others aiming to stimulate the flow of tourists into the area.

“The zone is not securing sufficient benefit from the tourism sector owing to inadequate promotion and awareness creation activities as well as limited infrastructural penetration. However, efforts are being made to transform Gedeo as a preferred tourist destination and increase the revenue and expedite the conservation activities.”

Situated in the Oromia State, Bale Mountains National Park is the second largest natural heritage site in Ethiopia and inscribed in UNESCO’s world natural heritage.

In a statement released yesterday, the Ministry of Tourism said that the inscription of Ethiopia’s two major tourist destinations as World Heritage Sites is a great achievement for the country and its people.



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