China, India and Nepal Strengthen Cooperation to Conserve the Kailash Sacred Landscape

08 Sep 2010

   TwitCount

Jiuzaigou, Sichuan Province, China and Kathmandu, Nepal

Representatives from China, India and Nepal discussed the initial steps in developing a regional cooperation framework for the Kailash Sacred Landscape, including a feasibility report, conservation strategy and environmental monitoring plan. The Kailash Landscape covers the area linked culturally and geographically to the sacred mountain, which is also known as Kang Rinpoche, Gangrenboqi Feng, and Kailasa Parvata. The representatives met at the Second Regional Workshop on the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative held from 4 to 6 September 2010, in Jiuzhaigou, Sichuan, China. The workshop was organised by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and hosted by the Chinese Academy of Sciences ICIMOD Committee (CN-ICIMOD) and Chengdu Institute of Mountain Hazard and Environment Research, supported by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The first regional workshop was held at Almora, Uttarakhand, India in April 2010.

The Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative (KSLCI) focuses on developing a transboundary regional cooperation framework for conservation and sustainable development. Development of the Regional Cooperation Framework for the Kailash Landscape is being facilitated by ICIMOD with support from UNEP. The Landscape, which includes the southwestern portions of Tibet Autonomous Region of China, and adjacent Himalayan regions in India and Nepal, is among the most culturally and ecologically diverse and fragile areas in the world, and has sacred significance for hundreds of millions of people in Asia, and around the globe. The framework is expected to focus on transboundary biodiversity, and environmental and cultural conservation; scientific and technical cooperation; information exchange and sharing; and regional guidelines and policy mechanisms. The framework is being prepared based on the principles of participatory management, equity, sustainability, partnerships, ecosystem approach, lessons-learned approach, and transboundary cooperation.

The workshop had 25 participants representing 14 institutions including senior government officials from India and Nepal, and senior officials from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. Representatives of the lead partners – the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development, India, and the Central Department of Botany, Tribhuvan University, Nepal – described the progress in the development of a conservation strategy and environmental monitoring plan. ICIMOD presented a regional feasibility assessment that included delineation of the target landscape, a policy review, and a synthesis of feasibility assessments from each country. Other topics included descriptions of the landscape, status of resources, culture and heritage sites, tourism/pilgrimage status and potentials, environmental degradation and cultural integrity, identification of priority areas, community perception on biodiversity, cultural values and best-suited livelihood options, enabling environment assessment through policy review, and finally the identification of gap areas. The three countries will finalise their reports on the conservation strategy and environmental monitoring plan after the discussions at the workshop. ICIMOD is preparing a regional conservation strategy and environmental monitoring plan to feed into the regional cooperation framework.

Workshop participants discussed a draft outline for developing a ‘Regional Cooperation Framework (RCF) Agreement’. Mr Surya Prasad Joshi, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation of the Government of Nepal mentioned that the Kailash programme should also benefit from the two separate bilateral agreements of the Government of Nepal with its neighbours India and China. Dr Elizabeth Migongo-Bake of UNEP emphasised the importance of embedding an ecosystem approach for optimising landscape services in the programme development. Dr Shi Peili of the Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Beijing expressed the need for integrated approaches and technical cooperation between the countries. The Director of the G.B. Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) in India, Dr LMS Palni, emphasised the participatory and people-centred approach that is being adopted in the preparation of the regional cooperation framework. Dr Eklabya Sharma of ICIMOD presented the design and vision of the Initiative and briefly explained the programme of work for the start-up phase of 18 months commencing February 2011, and outlined elements for two 5-year implementation phases from the middle of 2012.

On 6 September, participants were able to see for themselves some of the biodiversity and cultural conservation initiatives in the Juizhaigou National Park. This park located at the edge of the Eastern Tibetan Plateau is a UNESCO World Heritage Site where ecotourism is strongly linked with conservation.

The Third Regional Workshop on the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative will be held from 16-18 December 2010 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Read more about the Initiative at http://books.icimod.org/index.php/search/publication/688

For more information please contact:

Dr Krishna Prasad Oli
Regional Coordinator, Kailash Landscape Project
email: koli@icimod.org

Ms Nira Gurung
Communications Officer
email: ngurung@icimod.org
Tel. +977 1 5003222