Bhutan, India, and Nepal agree to enhance cooperation in the Kangchenjunga Landscape

20 Aug 2012


Gangtok, Sikkim, India

The unique, culturally and biologically rich landscape around Mount Kangchenjunga covers parts of western Bhutan, northeastern India, and eastern Nepal and is one of several Himalayan areas where countries need to work together to conserve and manage biodiversity. In a meeting held at Gangtok in Sikkim State of India from 16 to 18 August 2012, senior officials and experts from Bhutan, India, and Nepal developed a road map for carrying out collaborative work in this area. 

The Kangchenjunga landscape includes 15 protected areas. The countries agreed to work towards connecting these areas through ‘biodiversity corridors’ for species migration to assist adaptation to climate change; and to address problems that cross borders such as poaching, overgrazing, forest fire, and spread of livestock disease. 

The consultation was organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and hosted by the GB Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development (GBPIHED) in India, with support from the Forest Departments of Sikkim and West Bengal. It was attended by more than 40 representatives of governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

“The challenges of biodiversity conservation and management in the landscape can only be addressed if all three countries cooperate at various levels from local to bilateral to regional”, said Mr Bhim Prasad Dhungel, Minister of Tourism, Forests, Environment, and Wildlife Management of the Government of Sikkim, India. To this end, a similar collaborative initiative undertaken by ICIMOD in the Kailash Sacred Landscape could provide a model. “The work around Kailash already provides substantial scientific information to lead the process”, said Dr BMS Rathore, Joint Secretary of the Ministry of Environment and Forests, Government of India. 

The joint biodiversity conservation effort will focus on the people living in the landscape. “People in the mountains have to be compensated for their conservation efforts", emphasized Dasho Sherub Gyaltshen, Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Royal Government of Bhutan. Mr Krishna Acharya, Director General of the Department of National Park and Wildlife Conservation of the Government of Nepal, pointed out that the landscape programme must also jointly address wildlife-people conflict. 

The participatory and consultative process of preparing the transboundary initiative during the next 18 months will be led by ICIMOD. The preparations will include a feasibility assessment report, a conservation strategy, and a comprehensive environmental plan, resulting in a framework for transboundary cooperation. “We are very satisfied with the progress made at this consultation”, said Dr Eklabya Sharma, Director of Programme Operations at ICIMOD. “All three countries have given their full commitment for the preparatory phase of the Kangchenjunga landscape initiative”.

For more information, please contact: 

Dr Nakul Chettri
Biodiversity specialist, Team Leader-BCM

Ms Nira Gurung
Communications Officer

+977 1 5003222