Annual Report 2015: Facilitating regional cooperation

Two Eastern Himalaya Transboundary Initiatives Make Progress 

Two transboundary initiatives in the eastern Himalayas moved ahead in 2015 with milestones that included pilot projects and the endorsement and implementation of regional cooperation frameworks (RCFs).

The Kangchenjunga Landscape shared by Bhutan, India, and Nepal is a region of great biodiversity that includes the world’s third-tallest peak, Kangchenjunga, the source of many vital Himalayan rivers and watersheds. In 2015, Nepal and Bhutan endorsed the RCF, while India has agreed on the content and is in process of endorsing it. Nine pilot sites are focusing on concerns shared across the Kangchenjunga Landscape, such as human-elephant conflict, tourism development, and niche product development, as well as country-specific issues such as unique cultural areas.

The Landscape Initiative of the Far Eastern Himalayas (HI-LIFE) spreads across parts of China, India, and Myanmar at the junction of three global biodiversity hotspots and two major river systems, the Brahmaputra and Salween, and includes parts of India’s Namdapha National Park and Tiger Reserve.

Following HI-LIFE’s RCF, a soft guideline that outlines the principles of transboundary cooperation, an innovative process tool called ‘Landscape Yatra’ brought interdisciplinary teams to pilot sites in China and Myanmar to develop a shared vision for the area and determine next steps.