A Garden of Health & Prosperity
The capital of Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, lacks public parks for its growing number of citizens. At an alarming rate, the peri-urban sites are converted into town. There is no national park demonstrating Ethiopian nature in the vicinity of the capital, and the surrounding countryside contains only farmland or tree plantations. There is an urgent need for at least one significant area where the urban population can spend periods of rest in a natural, clean and unspoiled surroundings, among greenery and fresh air.
1.2 The Problem
1.3 The Entoto-Natural-Park ProjectAt the northern edge of Addis Ababa, a mountain ridge rises to an altitude of more than 3 100 meters above sea level. On the mountain known as Entoto, a state-owned forest company planted huge areas of eucalyptus, which are now being cut down by the forest company itself and by fuel-wood collectors. The region faces big problems concerning erosion, over flooding and uncontrolled exploitation.
A group of enthusiasts formed a non-governmental organization, the Ethiopia Heritage Trust (EHT) for the conservation and preservation of aesthetic and/or historic buildings, sites and the land of scenic beauty in Ethiopia. On November 17. 1993, Mr. Michael Sargent, British Council representative and founder of the ETH, together with Ato Hamza M. Sheik, head of the Natural Resources Development and Environmental Protection Bureau of Region 14 (the administrative region in which Addis Ababa is situated) raised the possibility of creating a natural park on the Entoto range of hills. As Ato Hamza found the objectives of the EHT proposal in line with the Economic Policy of the Transitional Government, which affirms the need to develop and protect natural resources, he approved of the idea.
The progress of the ProjectBetween September 1993 and September 1994 decisions were taken on the criteria for the location of the natural park. Continuous discussions were held between members of the EHT and representatives of the government, and informal contacts were taken with different people who might have opinions about the project. Collection of seeds and production of seedlings was initiated in order to prepare for a beginning of replanting in 1995.
However degraded, the area still has many natural features which are interesting to develop into a natural park. Beyond motives concerning the nearness to Addis and history very much related to the foundation of the capital, the topography offers many views over Addis Abeba, the countryside and the Sululta plains. Many brooks intersect the area, and on their sides, sparse vegetation of the indigenous tree Juniperus procera ("Tid' in Amharic) is remaining. Open spaces with seasonal flowering meadows is another quality of the area.
The Eucalyptus ProblemOn the Entoto mountain and at many other places around Addis Abeba the existing vegetation is Eucalyptus globulus. This is an Australian tree brought to Ethiopia by a Swiss ambassador some 100 years ago. At that time most of the area around the town had been deforested due to the need for wood for construction and fuel. The introduction of the new species was very successful, as its speed of growing surpassed the indigenous trees. Some of the eucalyptus on Entoto have their origin in that first phase of reforestation, but plantations have been added now and then through this century. At present, the bulk of the ark area is covered by eucalyptus plantations. The new species is an integral part of the Ethiopian history, but at the same time, it is a tree that does not belong to the Ethiopian flora.
By the time of Menelik II, the mountainous region of Addis Ababa was state-owned. Authorities were employed to supervise the management of the forest and then also controlled forest guards. Citizens of Addis Ababa were allowed to harvest the forest every fourth month for their subsistent needs in the presence of the forest guards. But as the forest resource quickly became depleted, due to population growth, Menelik II introduced species of eucalyptus for reforestation of the forests around Addis Ababa.
The eucalyptus plantations, mainly consisting of the Australian Eucalyptus globulus had a connection to each resident of the city, as the king ordered every person to raise, plant and utilized 100 seedlings. This initiated a private business of selling fuelwood some 6 years after the Menelik ordinance. Another factor intensified the control and management of the peri-urban forests; the leasing system to the aristocrats and dignitaries.
(Håkan Blanck and Pia Englund, Entoto Natural Park 1995).
The text below describes the administrative work regarding the park's development in the period up to 1995. The section of the statement as follows may, therefore, be of interest to those very initiated in the Park's background and development.
1.4 The Objectives for a Natural Park in Addis AbabaReferring to A Preliminary Survey of A Possible Site at Entoto, written by Ethiopian Heritage Trust, the objectives of creating a natural park for Addis Ababa are:
1. To provide a recreational facility for the citizens of Addis Ababa.
2. To educate the population, and especially young people, in the importance of conserving the natural environment.
3. To encourage the re-emergence of the natural vegetation and wildlife of the area, and set an example in good conservation management.
4. To enable people living in the neighbourhood of the Park to participate in its development and to draw some benefit from it.
5. To offer scientists opportunities to observe and survey the geology, hydrology, vegetation and wildlife of the area.
The Objectives for a Natural Park in Addis Ababa
2 LANDSCAPE PLANNING
A MINOR FIELD STUDY IN ETHIOPIA
2.1 The Background of the Minor Field StudyIn the fifth year of the Landscape Architectural Education at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU), the students are expected to prepare a thesis as a group project. Emphasis is placed both on the formulation of the problem of study, the development of relevant methods for collecting, structuring and explaining knowledge, and the achievement of results, as well as the students gaining self-knowledge during the working process.
A synergy of knowledge between Ethiopia and Sweden according to an authority projection, giving justice to a collaboration between each country's areaIn the spring of 1994, the Ethiopia Heritage Trust sent a request to the Department of Landscape Planning at SLU, concerning the possibility of finding two interested students carrying out a part of the planning and design for Entoto Natural Park, while taking part in the ongoing discussions. This proposal was transformed into a project in May 1994, when we, Håkan Blanck and Pia Englund, accepted the challenge of spending ten weeks in Ethiopia, making a Minor Field Study (MFS), supported by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).
2.2 The Formulation of Our TaskThe correspondence with the Entoto Park Committee in Addis Ababa confirmed the need for us focusing on an inventory, followed by an analysis and a concept-making of the characteristics of the area within the proposed park boundaries. We were to prepare a basis for the continuing discussions in the Park Committee, work closely together with them, but also, in the end, to give our independent view on the location of various activities of the Natural Park, thus providing models for gentle exploitation.
To us, our task very much seemed to involve reading the landscape proposed for Entoto Natural Park, using knowledge from the field of landscape planning. We had the experience of drawing background maps, of interpreting aerial photographs, and we knew the importance of starting from the existing qualities of a site or landscape, before arguing for a specific design.
After studying the landscape and participating in the planning of the Entoto Natural Park, we wanted to demonstrate principal sketches of two smaller sites in the lower part of the Park to see what design is encouraging the usage of indigenous plant material could look like. The plantings should restrain the pressure of the park visitors and fill the important function of conservation.
2.3 Our Project ObjectivesBefore going to Ethiopia, we received some information on the park project from our supervisor. We were asked to join the planning by making proposals for the design. As students of landscape architecture, we are used to starting from a wider perspective and, after a thorough analysis of the various aspects on different levels, eventually focusing on the detailed design. We were planning on gathering as much background material as possible in Ethiopia and making the synthesis and the design proposal when we were back in Sweden. As the area meant to become a park was vast, we realized that we could not make detailed designs for all of it, so our intentions were to make designs for some smaller areas, that could serve as examples for the future development.
When the Park Committee in Addis Abeba has presented the idea of bringing in two Swedish volunteers, they hesitated. There was an obvious risk that there would be too much European influence in the project, as there were already many expatriates in the group, and we had too little knowledge about Ethiopia. Yet, to us, the idea of coming as foreigners to a completely new culture and into a group of strangers was very exciting. A newcomer in a project often sees things in a different way from the people who have been in it from the beginning, and we were hoping that we could contribute with approaches. From the information we had got before our arrival in Addis Abeba, it seemed as if the Park Committee already had a good overall view of the area, but we wanted to help them to make it more readable by transforming the information and the visions into maps and drawings.
2.4 InfluencesDuring our education, we are trained in an ecological way of thinking. In one course in Biotope Design (VL5), Mårten Hammer, an ecologist and research leader, speaks about the three basic principles for designing and managing nature. The first principle concerns the interacting way of the ecosystem in which the plant society is one part. Each change, for example, alternation or abandonment of management, in any part of an ecosystem is likely to affect also other parts. The second principle regards the specific conditions favourable for each species within the ecosystem. One must consider the tendency for competition between different plants or animals. The third principle is that plant societies are not stable but are continuously changing in structure and composition. This leads us to make the statement that continuous management and knowledge of the aims with the interaction are two necessary elements in designing with nature. "Working with vegetation of a wildlife character presupposes a positive attitude to change and an acceptance of a certain degree of dynamics." (Hammer 1989).
We also have respect for the view of the landscape consisting of many layers of information. The landscape is more than its physical factors, such as soils, geomorphology, vegetation layers, water and topography. It is also the living history of man and serves as the environment for people and animals, forming a culture. This way of looking at the landscape is developed in the Netherlands into the Triplex-model: The base is the abiotic layer (the geomorphology and the hydrology). The second layer of flora and fauna is added, and eventually, the anthropological layer completes the model. We believe that no one can develop a long term sustainable environment without paying attention to all three conditions.
In Sweden, there is a strong call for the upgrading of our views on the cultural landscape, instead of deforesting fields and meadows. Suddenly, farmers and landowners in Sweden have economically support thanks to policies for the preservation of the local identity of a site. A lot can be done to develop a more varied landscape by giving priority to the edges between different rooms in the landscape, and by not decreasing the number of gradients. Knowledge of ecological patterns and internal structure for biological and cultural diversity is incorporated in all subjects given at the Department of Landscape Planning at SLU.
We believe that designing with nature demands a lot of planning, especially in a situation where the landscape is severely degraded, or the opposite, where it is young. The former is the situation in many developing countries, and the latter can be found in the polder landscapes in the Netherlands. As exchange students in the Netherlands, we have gained some experience from courses in Landscape Planning and Design at the Wageningen Agricultural University. The International Course in Planning and Design in Developing Countries provided examples of the circumstances of planning in many third-world countries. It also emphasized the importance of a flexible mind and willingness to penetrate behind any convention to find sources of local knowledge if the landscape planner is to succeed with his task. At Wageningen, there is also a stress on the legibility of the planning process. It should be clear for an outsider when and why certain decisions have been taken. In some assignments, we were also asked to present as much information as possible in easily understood drawings and plans instead of in the text.
The Introduction Course at the International Rural Development Centre, Swedish Agricultural University (10 weeks) proved very good as a preparation for our MFS in Ethiopia. The course dealt with many issues related to third-world countries, and above all, it gave a perspective on development in these countries. One approach taught in the course was Participatory Rural. Appraisal (Chambers, R, 1992). This was easily applied in the planning process of Entoto Natural Park when creating a framework for mapping and discussions.
Fig. 3: The work process
Information was gathered from four types of sources: from persons, from visits in the area, from maps and aerial photographs, and from literature. Every day we discussed the project with members of the Park Committee or others, both to get more information and to hear views on different ideas. Once every second week the Park Committee had their meetings. At these, we also presented our progress, and the resulting discussions and criticism were essential for our work. Our attention was continuously drawn to subjects and problems too big and complex for our short stay, and also in this respect, the meetings served well in clarifying our and the other members' undertakings. In this way, during the ten weeks, we gained more and more knowledge about the proposed site of the Park, at the same time as we saw the level of complexity rising, and we had to reduce our interest in some of the issues. Still, one of our objectives was to have a holistic approach, to view as many sides as possible and to try to put the jigsaw puzzle together.
On our first meeting with the Park Committee, the members agreed upon what help they wanted from the Swedish volunteers. A Term of References had been prepared and was given to us. We had a discussion on our own view on our contribution to the project. This resulted in a plan of having one regular meeting every second week, exchanging opinions and experiences around our conclusions. In this way, it was avoided that we created a product which was more our own than a product of the Park Committee.
We conducted research in various libraries in Ethiopia. In the library of the National Herbarium, Faculty of Science, we found relevant material and floras on plant societies for the agro-climatic Zone in which the Park is situated. Many interesting books on Protected Landscape Management and statements on Natural Resources Conservation by IUCN were found too. A report on the situation of Women Fuelwood Carriers and the Peri-Urban Forest was lent to us very kindly by the National Herbarium. The second volume of the National Conservation Strategy of the Transitional Government of Ethiopia gave us the background to present policies.
To collect impressions in line with the goal of transforming the Park into a natural park with an Ethiopian identity, we made many excursions. One theme of the study was to examine how a natural forest at the same altitude and annual rainfall as Entoto, was composed. For this purpose, we visited the forest school of Wondo Genet, one-day-drive south of Addis, and Menagesha State Forest, 30 kilometres west of the capital.
A study in itself during the whole stay was a comparison of the Ethiopian and the Scandinavian view upon nature. Information was gathered during informal interviews with different people, but also by studying people's behaviour.
We made organized trips to almost all major public parks in Addis. Entoto was meant to have an Ethiopian identity, at the same time as it should be special in comparison with other parks. The Park Coordinator of Entoto Natural Park, Wro. Beletu Mengistu was our guide on one excursion, and Wrt. Meseret Berhane, Park Administrator in Region 14, was our guide on our second visit. On these excursions, studies were made of Ethiopian behaviours in city parks and the design of the parks.
We had the ambition to clarify the information important for planning by using maps and pictures. Facts taken for granted by some can be new to others, and seeing old information presented in a new way can also initiate new ideas. A big part of our role in the project was to collect, structurize and evaluate the knowledge that had already been expressed by the group. This information we integrated with all sorts of data, among others from reading topographic maps, aerial photos and the Master Plan of Addis Ababa.
Parallel to this, we made regular field trips studying different topics in the Park area. We found it essential to study the landscape at the site and not merely at the drawing table. On every visit to the Park, we took notes and made photographs. Before starting a day of field study, we always made agreements with the local employee from EHT, Napoleon Tsegaye. The cooperation with him gave mutual benefits for us, for him and for the Park Project, as there were an extraordinary open-mindedness and a sharing of experiences and knowledge between us.
The method of transforming knowledge into maps and drawings helps to visualize opportunities and constraints of the landscape. During the design process, information from many disciplines is integrated as well as interrelationships between different scales are shown. As a result of a map or drawing prepared by us, the Park Committee got a visual impression of the existing or projected situation at Entoto.
2.6 Progress of the ProjectWe arrived in a very active phase of the Entoto-Natural-Park project. Most proceedings were on an administrative level, i.e. creating legal, economic and public support. One of our objectives was to present the visions in a clearer way, by means of pictures, maps and text. This was meant for the EHT, but also for the public, and our most important contribution during our stay was perhaps the maps and pictures we prepared for a meeting arranged to get economical support.
Between September 1993 and September 1994 decisions were taken on the criteria for the location of the natural Park. Continuous discussions were held between members of the EHT and representatives of the government, and unofficial contacts were taken with different people who might have opinions about the project. Collection of seeds and production of seedlings was initiated in order to prepare for a beginning of replanting in 1995. An "Outline of facilities to be created/established' was transformed into an "Entoto Park Terms of Reference for the Swedish Volunteers', a guideline for the planning and design of the Park.
The major issues from September to the end of November were:
- the park security: Appointing a chief guard and selecting guards. To save the remaining junipers, as well as Eucalyptus, from the accelerating cutting. Fencing with barbed wire and thorny shrubs. The ways of watching over the Park with the help of radio and guards on horse.
- The survey: Inventory of flora and fauna. Defining the boundaries. Compilation of the history of Entoto.
- The legal letter: Legal transformation of the land from the authorities (Reg. 14 and possibly Reg. 4) to the Trust.
- The park brochure: A leaflet presenting the project to possible investors and members.
- The businessmen meeting: A presentation of the Trust and the Park for possible investors.
- The matter of going public. How to inform the residents in and around the Park area, as well as those of Addis, about the project in the best way.
- Park trips. The best way of gaining support for the Park idea was to bring people to the site.
- The range of the Park. Where the boundaries should be, i.e. how big area could be managed, would the Park benefit much from the adding of adjacent land, or would it only bring more trouble?
- The compensation: How to deal with the people now using the area for dwellings, crops, cattle breeding, grazing and fuelwood collection, and how their source of income could be compensated.
- The contents of the Park: What was desirable and reasonable to include in the park design
- The workload. In a very active phase of the project, there was too much to administrate for the full-time employed park coordinator and her assistant, and there were also too many groups to guide in the Park area. The other park members had already more than enough to do, but the budget did not allow any more employees.
- The sub-committees: Several issues were so important that they demanded extra attention. It was agreed to form sub-committees with P.C.-members and experts concentrating on these.
3 THE INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK AROUND THE CREATION OF ENTOTO NATURAL PARK
3.1 Planning StructureThe institutional framework around the establishment of the Entoto Natural Park is in its initial stage. This chapter briefly gives our view of what governmental and non-governmental institutions contribute in different ways to the idea of a natural park.
3.1.1 The Ethiopian Heritage TrustThe Ethiopia Heritage Trust (EHT or the Trust) is a newly started Ethiopian voluntary organization, and is in its constitution non-political, non-religious and non-profiting. Founded by private individuals wishing to make a personal contribution towards stopping the decay and the destruction of the historical buildings and natural environment of the country, the organization has from the beginning been supported by the Administration of Region 14. Membership is open to all after paying an annual or lifetime fee.
Article 3 regarding the aim of the Ethiopia Heritage Trust claims: "The Trust is to act as a body of sites and buildings of historical and/or aesthetic interest and of lands of natural beauty to be preserved for present and future generations" (Statues of The Ethiopia Heritage Trust, pg 1)
a) The Governing CouncilEHT is ruled by a governing Council, consisting of 14 councillors, elected by the members of the EHT. Among its duties is to perform all acts necessary for the EHT, such as acquiring aesthetically and historically interesting sites and buildings and the land of natural beauty, repairing, restoring and conserving such sites, buildings and land to the highest standard, and to improve awareness regarding issues of conservation and preservation in Ethiopia.
b) The Park CommitteeFrom the Governing Council, a number of committees have emerged. One of them is the Park Committee, which has the determination to create a natural park of high quality for the citizens of Addis Ababa on the slopes of the Entoto mountain.
Fig. 4: The organization of the Ethiopian Heritage Trust
3.1.2. The Transitional Government of Ethiopia
"The Transitional Period Charter has affirmed the right of nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia to self-determination and to self-government to determine and manage their own affairs themselves. Proclamation 7 of 1992 provided for overall political power regarding the internal affairs of the respective regions to reside in elected regional councils. Proclamation 41 of 1993 defined the powers and duties of the central and the regional executive organs of the Transitional Government. The goals of decentralization include increased administrative efficiency, increased local participation in development planning and management and the allocation of resources, so they reflect more closely the development priorities of local populations." (NCS - Volume 2, 1994, pg. 99)
The Prime Minister's Office is the highest decision-making organ in Ethiopia. It has executive power over the regions.
a) Region 4 and Region 14Ethiopia is divided into 14 administrative Regions at the province level. The Regions do not answer to the Ministries (although they may take advice from them) but communicate directly with the Prime Minister's office. Region 14 incorporates central Addis Ababa and area south-west of the capital, while Region 4 begins at the Sululta plain and continues north. The boundary between Region 14 and Region 4 happens to cross the Entoto Park area. The administrative matters of the Park (land transformation, land use and management) will be discussed in both regions in the future. As the Regions are at their early build-up stage for planning and implementation, we were able to get only very limited information on the governmental, institutional mechanisms.
b) The Bureau of Natural Resources and Environmental ProtectionBureaus are regional administration units of ministry matters. Head of a Regional Bureau is titled President and is equivalent to Vice Minister, thus means he has direct contact with the Prime Minister's Office.
Ato Hamza M. Sheik had regular contacts with Ethiopia Heritage Trust during our stay, as the park area establishment and management was about to be transformed from the former Addis Bah project to the Trust, as a non-governmental organization (NGO). To observe this process gave a unique insight into the ongoing decentralization policy, including privatization of ownership. The Bureau has a big responsibility to implement the National Policy on Natural Resources and the Environment with its cross-sectoral approach and, and we got the impression, a far more effective and determined institution than any previous one in the natural resources sector.
3.1.3. Other Supporting Institutions
a) The National HerbariumIn the Faculty of Science at Addis Ababa University, the Flora Section takes a great interest in the conservation of the indigenous vegetation on Entoto (and on other mountainous areas) It is the scientific knowledge of this institution that makes it possible to make inventories on the present flora, and of plants, trees and plants societies suitable to reintroduce. Inventories of the flora on Entoto started in November 1994. Some members of the Park Committee belong to the staff of the National Herbarium.
Swedish Aid has five overall objectives, including the sustainable use of natural resources and the environment (Uthålligt Natur-Bruk i u-land, 1992). Here, SIDA stresses the special conditions in many third world countries and states that the protection of the environment should not be done for the environment itself, but for the people depending on that nature. The Swedish International Development Agency has different programmes in Ethiopia, among others in the sector of Nature Resources and Soil conservation.
During this MFS, contacts were taken with two employees from SIDA for us to get a background on ongoing development projects and to share principles of the development of a natural park in Addis Ababa.
Daag Skoog, head of the environmental sector at the SIDA Office in Addis Ababa, lent us the
newly SIDA published tree flora "Useful Trees and Shrubs for Ethiopia", which became an information source for the studying of indigenous vegetation in the Park.
For a long time, Sweden has supported Ethiopia to build up its school system, and in recent years, a growing part of the Swedish aid has turned to environmental education. Christer Axen is a Senior Expert at the Ministry of Education, Addis Ababa. Newly established in his post, he will work strongly for environmental education development in Ethiopia in years to come. (In 1995, his publication "A Guiding Document on Environmental Education in Ethiopia" will be released.)
c) The British Council,The Park Committee Office is presently at the British Council. Some people employed at the British Council have become governing members of various committees.
d) Faculty of Technology,
3.2 The Entoto Natural Park in the context of the National Conservation StrategyThe establishment of a natural park is in line with the objectives of the National Conservation Strategy, released by the Transitional Government in July 1994. A situation synopsis emphasizes:
"Ethiopia's rich national heritage and culture permeates every facet of daily life and provides a powerful and socially cohesive force in the national consciousness. It also provides a potentially valuable "resource" in terms of tourism. However, much of this heritage and culture is under threat through neglect, decay, removal or destruction as well as through the less visible and tangible impacts of changing socio-cultural values, foreign ideas and imported technologies."(NCS – Volume 2. 1994, pg 96)