Strengthening the institutional and policy innovations for conservation across international boundaries in the Eastern Himalayan region, using Kangchenjunga Landscape as a case study 

TBM Phase II (1 April 2005 – 31 March 2008) particularly focused on promoting the concept of conservation corridors as linkages to protected areas, fostering stakeholder acceptance, and breaking ground in regional cooperation to promote the landscape approach to biodiversity conservation. It also looked at the options and means for strengthening the institutional and policy innovations for conservation across the Kangchenjunga Landscape. 

 

Objectives

To encourage the adoption of biodiversity management plans developed through participatory processes (involving local communities even during the planning phase) so as to convert them into national/regional actions for biodiversity conservation and socioeconomic development

  • Collaborating local partners and communities accepted the corridor development concept and actively contributed towards planning and upscaling the prioritised options for linking conservation and livelihoods in the respective corridor areas.
  • Three strategic documents for Bhutan, India, and Nepal were drafted and processed for review by respective member countries.
  • Nepal’s strategic document was integrated into the Government of Nepal’s Sacred Himalayan Landscape Strategic Plan 2006-2016 Broad Strategy.
  • India’s strategic plan was approved by the steering committee (formed earlier during the preparation of the corridor development plan), agreed in principle by the central government, and recommended for thorough analysis by the Government of West Bengal.
  • Bhutan’s Strategic Document was published by the Royal Government of Bhutan and was taken as an example for the development of national corridor plans for other corridors
  • The process facilitated corridor-specific conservation-based microenterprise options for community socioeconomic development.

To enhance the capacity of partners within the Kangchenjunga landscape with particular attention to the institutions, formal and informal, that are critical to the success of conservation efforts

  • Capacity building training programmes were organised for stakeholders, with the level of participation and the adoption of technologies based on the livelihood options in corridors and buffer zones. The training covered formation of self-help groups, sericulture, non-timber forest products (NTFPs), medicinal and aromatic plant cultivation, silviculture, forest resource management, off-season vegetable production, floriculture, etc.
  • Regional training on ecotourism was provided for extension staff from development organisations in the three regional member countries
  • The project helped partners obtain co-financed projects to supplement the TBM work.
  • The projects supported participation of representative from the three member countries in conferences and workshops: symposium organised by ICIMOD during the Association of Tropical Biologists’ annual meeting (in China);
     
    Regional Conference on Managing Protected Areas: Shifting Paradigm (in Nepal).

To develop policy frameworks as agreed in the regional consultation for conservation and sustainable management of ecosystems with a regional perspective

  • A Regional Cooperation Framework for implementation of the Convention on Biological Diversity in the Kangchenjunga Landscape was developed, bringing together the common elements of the national conservation policies with reference to the goals agreed by the Convention on Biological Diversity, particularly Goal 2.3 of Decision VII/27 on mountain biological diversity (on establishing regional and transboundary collaboration and cooperative agreements). The framework builds on commonly prioritised conservation issues such as over-extraction of resources, haphazard land use practices, livelihoods and weak enforcement of conservation policies. It presents minimum standards and indicators that can be applied to evaluate a nation’s progress towards achieving CBD’s objectives and touches upon the implementation mechanism, identifying the stakeholders and their key roles at the local, national, regional, and international levels.
  • Experience, lessons and learning on transboundary biodiversity management in the Kangchenjunga Landscape were presented at international fora.
  • A presentation on the landscape approach was made during the World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Spain in October 2008.
  • ICIMOD contributed to a chapter to ‘Mountain Connectivity Conservation Management Lessons Learned: Case Study’ at the IUCN/WCPA Mountain Biome Workshop held in Ecuador in November 2006.
  • Recognition by international fora brought in positive regional and global support and international acceptance of ICIMOD’s transboundary conservation initiative.

To strengthen information sharing mechanisms based on the distribution of biodiversity, assessment of threats, and development of appropriate institutional and policy innovations with a regional perspective

  • Information on protected areas in the HKH was updated and the status of protected areas system in the HKH analysed. Analysis revealed a paradigm shift from a ‘protectionist’ approach to a ‘community-based approach’ to conservation, with an increasing trend of establishing protected areas under IUCN categories V and VI, i.e., protected landscape and resource areas, respectively.
  • A compendium of action research articles, ‘Biodiversity Conservation in the Kangchenjunga Landscape’, presented biodiversity values of the landscape, challenges for their management, a socioeconomic and livelihood overview, and policy development processes in the three countries. It indicated the need for a community-based approach and transboundary cooperation for effective conservation that links to sustainable development.
  • Posters, brochures, peer reviewed articles, and website information were also developed.