Lake Tana new UNESCO-biosphere reserve
Lake Tana in Ethiopia is one of 20 new sites added to the UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves.In June the International Co-ordinating Council (ICC) of the UNESCO-programme „Man and Biosphere“ made these additions during its 26th session in Paris. The nomination of Lake Tana and surroundings is based on the „Management Plan Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve“, prepared by the Michael Succow Foundation and the NABU Germany within the joint project „For Man and Nature – Creation of a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve at Ethiopia’s Lake Tana".
The partners also launched a new website "Lake Tana Biosphere Reserve". It provides thourough information about this region of international importance in regard to its biodiversity as well as its cultural heritage.
Lake Tana, Africa’s highest-elevation lake covering 3000 m2 in total is the source region of the Blue Nile. It represents the most important African wintering area for the Common Crane and numerous other water birds and passerines. The region is home to hippopotamus, crocodiles, monitors, mountain python, and no less than 15 rare endemic species of fish. Ethiopian-orthodox monasteries and churches are situated on many of the lake’s 37 islands. They are surrounded by last remnants of the so-called “church forests”, viewed as sacred sites. Lacking alternative sources of income the local population has been forced to overuse Lake Tana's natural resources creating an ever-increasing pressure on the environment. The management plan therefore shows possibilities of sustainable land use and nature protection. Conflicts between current land use and protection of natural as well as cultural heritage is evident in other regions of Ethiopia, too. That's why the Michael Succow Foundation is currently preparing an "Analysis of potential for further UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in Ethiopia".
In July 2013, the Marion Dönhoff Fellowship at the Michael Succow Foundation began. Each year, the programme funds a study and research stay in Germany for up to four young people from post-Soviet countries. They can work on a self-chosen topic for up to five months, supported by the Michael Succow Foundation and other organisations. The results will be published. The fellowship programme aims at promoting the debate on environmental journalism, political ecology, nature conservation and sustainable development in the countries of the former Soviet Union. The Marion Dönhoff Fellowship supports a critical East-Western dialogue on environment and sustainability, furthers regional and international networks, and explicitly includes issues concerning human rights.
It sponsors persons and organisations involved in these areas in former Soviet countries. In the spirit of Marion Dönhoff the aim is to strengthen proactive behaviour and individuals' awareness to be jointly responsible for common welfare. The programme is funded by the Marion Dönhoff Foundation. It connects two concerns of Marion Dönhoff: on the one hand, Marion Dönhoff kept pointing at the negative sides of capitalism, the unlimited pursuit of growth. On the other hand, cooperation with Germany's eastern neighbours and the promotion of young people were of great importance to her.
Current deadline for applications is 1st of January, 2015.