New Initiatives in Biodiversity Conservation and Management

02 Jun 2009


Regional Experience Sharing Consultation on Landscape Approach to Biodiversity Conservation and Management in the Eastern Himalayas held in Tengchong, Yunnan Province, PR China, May 24 – 28, 2009

Representatives from Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar and Nepal shared their experiences in biodiversity conservation and management at a workshop concluded last week in China, and discussed developing a transboundary landscape around the watersheds of the Brahmaputra and Salween rivers (covering parts of China, India and Myanmar) and strengthening transboundary landscape approaches in the eastern Himalayas.

Biodiversity conservation initiatives in mountain areas have gained impetus in recent years, in part due to alarming rates of biodiversity loss, predictions regarding climate change, and recognition of the global importance of mountains in providing ecosystem goods and services. Global communities and international conventions, notably the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), are addressing these concerns by encouraging the establishment of protected areas and advocating that countries reduce loss of biodiversity by developing effective management approaches, and especially landscape level approaches and regional initiatives.

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) organised a consultation to share experiences using landscape approaches in biodiversity conservation from 24-28 May 2009, in Tengchong, Yunnan, PR China. About 25 experts (from government, scientific institutions, civil society groups, and individual professionals) from five of ICIMOD’s eight regional member countries, ICIMOD, and the UNEP Regional Office for Asia, took part. Prof Yang Yongping, Deputy Director, KIB, welcomed the gathering at Tengchong saying “KIB is privileged to be part of the Organising Committee and of the consultation workshop, which is addressing very important themes on transboundary protected areas, advocated by the CBD as ‘the ecosystem approach’ for biodiversity conservation”. He emphasised the importance of Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve with its unique and high level of biodiversity. In his Keynote Address, Dr Eklabya Sharma of ICIMOD highlighted the importance of transboundary biodiversity conservation and the need for integrated approaches addressing both socioeconomic and socio-cultural dimensions. He gave an overview of ICIMOD’s biodiversity conservation Initiatives in the Hindu Kush-Himalaya region and stressed the importance of providing effective conservation at the landscape level.

The four days consultation shared the biodiversity values and services provided by three key protected areas: the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve in China, Namdapha Tiger Reserve in India (also a National Park), and the Hkakaborazi National Park in Myanmar. Although in different countries, all are within the Bramhaputra-Salween landscape, an area at the watersheds of the Bramhaputra and Salween rivers that has an astonishing level of biodiversity. During the consultation, experiences were shared on landscape approaches used in other areas, including the Kangchenjunga Landscape, Bhutan Biological Conservation Complex, and Sacred Himalayan Landscape-Nepal, and on proposed initiatives for the Karakoram Complex and the Kailash Sacred Landscape, as a basis for assessing the need for and feasibility of the new transboundary Bramhaputra-Salween Landscape. The consultation identified areas where more information was needed, especially in biodiversity, socioeconomics, and cultural understanding, and follow up actions in each of the countries. The workshop also identified potential for regional cooperation in technical thematic areas, capacity building needs, and transboundary issues and initiatives, and steps to be considered in developing a regional cooperation framework (RCF) for the landscape.

A field visit was organised to the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve by the Tengchong County Office of the Baoshan Administration Bureau of the Gaoligongshan National Nature Reserve so that participants could experience the issues for themselves ‘on the ground’.

Dr. L.M.S. Palni, Director of the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, stressed that “Conservation without Compensation is just Conversation’. On similar lines, Dr. Yang YongPing, Deputy Director of KIB said that “Conservation with the People, by the People and for the People” should be the approach to be adopted in the region. In conclusion, Dr. Yang Yongping and Dr. Eklabya Sharma emphasised the need to integrate protected areas into transboundary landscapes, to develop connectivity corridors, and for collaborative approaches among the regional member countries.

For more information please contact:

Dr. Eklabya Sharma
Tel: +977-1-5003222
Fax: +977 1 5003299