Message from the Director General

Celebrating the International Day for Biological Diversity

(Kathmandu, 22 May 2010)

The HKH region is endowed with a significant and very rich biodiversity The complex and diverse ecological systems are an integral part of the culture and traditions that form the basis of the livelihoods of more than 200 million people. However, the biodiversity of the region is facing multiple challenges through drivers such as change in land use and cover, globalisation and economic growth, and socioeconomic and demographic changes. The major challenge is to balance ecosystem conservation with sustainable use of biodiversity resources, especially for poor and marginalised mountain communities.

ICIMOD is celebrating the International Year of Biodiversity (IYB) 2010 with various activities including bringing its experience in biodiversity conservation and management in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region to global conferences and meetings, and organising regional and national events.

This year’s International Day for Biological Diversity, with its theme ‘Biodiversity, Development and Poverty Alleviation’, provides an especially important opportunity for raising public awareness. ICIMOD joins the world in celebrating the day from 22-24 May to increase awareness of biodiversity issues; and help people understand the Centre’s conservation activities and the importance of biodiversity for sustainable mountain development in the region. As a part of the celebrations, ICIMOD is organising an e-discussion on ‘Biodiversity and Gender’, and a regional photo contest on ‘Mountain Biodiversity’ reflecting the themes of the International Year ‘Biodiversity is Life Biodiversity is Our Life’ and of the International Day. A special programme will be organised at the Centre on 24th May. The winners of the photo contest will be announced and the photographs exhibited; a draft summary from the ongoing e-discussion on ‘Biodiversity and Gender’ will be shared; and the regional ‘HKH Conservation Portal’ will be launched. A street drama will be performed on the theme ‘Water and Biodiversity’ by a local youth organisation at three public venues in the Kathmandu Valley. 

ICIMOD is also promoting the IYB in the run up to the Day, by participating in the Fourteenth Meeting of the Subsidiary Body on Scientific, Technical and Technological Advice (SBSTTA-14) of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) from 10-21 May in Nairobi, Kenya.

The theme for the International Day for Biological Diversity is important for us as it directly reflects ICIMOD’s concerns and approach, as seen in the conservation and sustainable development initiatives of the Centre. ICIMOD is integrating biodiversity into the development agenda at the regional, national, and local levels. The initiatives include promotion of transboundary conservation by regional collaboration, promoting value addition interventions for non-timber forest products and medicinal and aromatic plants, and promoting pro-poor trade and tourism activities.

We hope that this Day will help to increase awareness and motivate many people to take initiatives that consider biodiversity as a source for sustainable livelihoods in the mountains.

Andreas Schild