ICIMOD celebrates the International Day for Biological Diversity

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ICIMOD organized a series of programmes at its headquarters and with partners in Nepal and Pakistan on the occasion of the International Day for Biological Diversity (IBD). At the Centre, the day was kick-started at the ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari by the Director of Programme Operations and four other ICIMOD staff from ICIMOD. Trees of four different types were planted, each with its own unique, symbolic importance. 

After the plantation, ICIMOD staff together with members of Godavari Kunda Forestry Users’ Group continued with the celebration by cleaning up the Godavari water source, which is located near the popular Godavari picnic area. As the main source of drinking water for people in the area and for those downstream, ICIMOD helped build a fence to protect the water source along with a message about the importance of ensuring its preservation and protection. The president of the Godavari Kunda Forest Users’ Group expressed his gratitude towards ICIMOD on the occasion. 

ICIMOD Knowledge Forum: Water and Biodiversity in the Himalaya

Dr Tirtha Bahadur Shrestha, eminent botanist and conservationist, gave a talk at a Knowledge Forum on 'Water and Biodiversity in the Himalaya’ organized at ICIMOD’s headquarters in the afternoon.

Dr Shrestha cited myriad examples illustrating why the Himalaya is justifiably called an ‘abode of biodiversity’. He highlighted the importance of the monsoon and other water sources and indigenous knowledge systems in biodiversity conservation, especially in the context of climate change. He ended on a note that ‘biological indicators as expressed in the behavior of species would be useful to determine strategy for coping with climate change or adaptation.’

Overall, the Knowledge Forum helped to generate awareness of the importance of biodiversity and water in sustaining life in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, including areas downstream.

Launch of the HKH Conservation Portal

Dr Shrestha also helped launch the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) Conservation Portal in its new avatar. The ICIMOD team involved in developing the portal gave a demonstration of its new features and functionalities and called on members in the audience to use it as a knowledge resource to meet their needs and also help build its content in a spirit of collaboration. Conceived as a regional repository of biodiversity and conservation related information from the HKH region, the portal serves as a platform for sharing of biodiversity data and information among the countries in the region and facilitates standardization during database development for biodiversity conservation at the landscape level.

Photo exhibition on ‘Biodiversity and Water’ 

Twenty photos from the entries to the ICIMOD’s Digital Photo Contest that illustrated the linkages between water and biodiversity were displayed during the Knowledge Forum. 

National Level Activities

Nepal

In Nepal, ICIMOD together with Small Earth Nepal, a non-governmental organization, conducted a chain of programmes at ICIMOD Knowledge Park at Godavari. 

Biodiversity Knowledge Cafe

A total of 40 students from three public schools – Padma Kanya Higher Secondary School, Kitini Highrer Secondary School, and Shree Padma Higher Secondary School – from Kathmandu, Bhaktapur, and Lalitpur districts participated in the Biodiversity Knowledge Café. Four experts, Prof. Dharma Raj Dongol, National History Museum; Mitra Pathak, National Herbarium and Plant Laboratories; Jyotendra Thakuri, Bird Conservation Nepal; and Pushpa Keshari Shrestha gave presentations, after which they discussed key solutions for conserving biodiversity in the World Café style. It provided the students with an opportunity to put forward their queries on biodiversity with the experts and also learn and share their knowledge on the topic. 

Flora and fauna identification and sketching

With the theoretical knowledge gained during the knowledge café and under the guidance of the experts, the students were sent around the park to identify various flora and fauna. They were also asked to sketch different species, which were later judged by the expert on the basis of the accuracy of labelling and quality of the sketch. Three winners were awarded prizes: 

First: Sunita Sunuwar from Padma Kanya Higher Secondary School

Second: Prajit Titung from Kitini Higher Secondary School

Third: Chhitiz Shrestha from Shree Padma Higher Secondary School

Pakistan

ICIMOD celebrations in Pakistan were done in collaboration with the Pakistan Science Foundation, Pakistan Museum of Natural History, and National Agriculture Research Centre. The objective of this IBD celebration was to raise awareness and understanding of water and biodiversity issues. The celebration activities included a symposium on biodiversity, poster and painting competitions, biodiversity exhibition and participation in the Green Wave Campaign, an international event promoted by the Convention of Biological Diversity among local schools in Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal, and Pakistan.

During an interactive symposium, scientists from various organizations made excellent presentations on the theme of ‘Water and Biodiversity’. The symposium ended with the distribution of souvenirs.

A poster competition was organized among students from the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and the top three posters were awarded.

An exhibition on biodiversity was also organized in the galleries of the Pakistan Museum of Natural History.

Siddeeq Public School, The Educators School System, and Pak Turk International School System actively participated in the Green Wave Campaign. Students from these schools planted tree saplings provided by the Rangeland Research Institute and uploaded the information on Green Wave Website.

ICIMOD celebrations in Pakistan