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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Neighboring countries to take stewardship of Mt Kanchenjunga

Bhutan, India and Nepal have developed a road map for carrying out collaborative work on trans-boundary Biodiversity Management in Kanchenjunga landscape

Three neighboring countries – Bhutan, India and Nepal – which share the Kanchenjunga landscape will now work together to enhance biodiversity conservation in the landscape.
This has been agreed during a consultation organized by the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
The secretary of the agriculture and forest ministry, SherubGyaltshen, represented Bhutan at the meeting. The conservation effort will focus on the people living in the landscape.
“People in the mountains have to be compensated for their conservation efforts,” he said.
The biologically rich landscape around Mt Kanchenjunga covers parts of western Bhutan, northeastern India and eastern Nepal where there are around 15 protected areas.
These areas will be connected through biodiversity corridors for species migration to assists adaption to climate change.
Bhutan, India and Nepal have also agreed to address cross border problems such as poaching, overgrazing, forest fire and spread of livestock disease.
The director general of Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation of the government of Nepal, Krishna Acharya also pointed out that the landscape program must also jointly address wildlife-people conflict.
“The challenges of biodiversity conservation and management in the landscape can only be addressed if all three countries cooperate at various levels form local to bilateral to regional,” said Mr. Bhim Prasad Dhungel, Minister of Tourism, Forest, Environment, and Wildlife Management of the Government of Sikkim, India.
Dr. Eklabya Sharma, director of Program Operations at ICIMOD said the progress made at the consultation was satisfying.
“All three countries have given their full commitment for the preparatory phase of the Kangchenjunga landscape initiative,” said Dr. Eklabya Sharma.
The participatory and consultative process of preparing the trans-boundary initiative during the next 18 months will be led by ICIMOD.  The preparations will include a feasibility assessment report, a conservation strategy, and a comprehensive environmental plan which will bring out a framework for trans-boundary cooperation.
A similar collaborative initiative which was undertaken by ICIMOD in the Kailash scared landscape could provide a model. “The work around Kailash already provides substantial scientific information to lead the process,” said Dr. BMS Rathore, joint secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, India.
The consultation organized by the ICIMOD was hosted by the GB Plant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development in India with support from the Forest Departments of Sikkim and West Bengal. More than 40 representatives of governments and non-governmental organization attended the consultation.

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