After the 20th anniversary of the Great Ethiopian Run in the Entoto Nature Park, Addis Ababa, the organizers of the Great Ethiopian Run (GER) officially announced the 20th edition of the GER at a press conference on December 10th at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Addis Ababa. Although the number of guests was limited to just 60 due to COVID-19 restrictions, many Ethiopian media outlets and celebrities attended the event. The Ethiopian Wildlife and Natural History Society (EWNHS, BirdLife-Partner) was among the guests and represented BirdLife Africa, the Migratory Soaring Birds Project and the Egyptian Vulture New LIFE Project, which is the message sponsor of GER2020.
The event was opened by the strong emotional speech of the world athletics legend and the founder of GER – Haile Gebresellasie:: “We managed to organize the first road race, unique in Africa, with 10,000 participants. Fast forward to 2020 It is known worldwide and got us very busy organizing the event before we finished the current one. It is a very exciting social event in Ethiopia. It’s indescribable and brings tears to your eyes every time you think about it. “
Egyptian Vulture, Copyright Glyn Sellors, from the Surfbirds Galleries
As part of the Egyptian Vulture New Life project, a brilliant announcement was also made about GER’s new message sponsor – BirdLife Africa. It was explained why it is important to preserve biodiversity and birds, with the urgent need for bird-safe energy infrastructure in Ethiopia at the fore.
In synergy with the above event, an even greater conservation achievement was achieved. In November, with the support of the MSB II project and the New LIFE project Egyptian Vulture, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was drawn up between the Ethiopian Electricity (EEP – responsible for the distribution and management of high-voltage lines in the country), the Ethiopian Electricity Supply Company (EEU – responsible for the distribution and management of low voltage and medium voltage lines in the country), the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) and the EWNHS have been signed.
This Memorandum of Understanding aims to ensure harmony between the development and management of the energy infrastructure on the one hand, and migratory and other endangered birds in Ethiopia on the other. Since Ethiopia signed the Memorandum of Understanding on the Protection of Migratory Birds of Prey in Africa and Eurasia (Raptors MOU) at COP 13 in February 2020, this is the next decisive step for the Ethiopian authorities to show their goodwill to preserve and fulfill the Ethiopian biodiversity to demonstrate the country’s commitments as a signatory to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS).