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30 Sep 2019 | News

Adopting a flagship species approach to conserve biodiversity and habitats in the Hindu Kush Himalaya

Adopting a flagship species approach to conserve biodiversity and habitats in the Hindu Kush Himalaya
Flagship species are effective ambassadors for conservation, drawing much needed attention to a habitat, campaign or environmental cause. Highlighting the conservation of such species in the Hindu Kush Himalaya (HKH) through a regional collaborative effort could support biodiversity conservation efforts across the region. In fact, the Convention on Biological Diversity’s (CBD) post-2020 global biodiversity framework will be following a comprehensive consultation process with provisions for global consultation meetings for the conservation of such iconic species.

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Over 97 participants attended the workshop, which aimed to provide scientific information and action recommendations for the CBDs post-2020 global biodiversity framework (Photo: CIB–CAS)

An international workshop on the conservation of flagship species and their habitats in the HKH region was held from 28 to 31 August 2019 in Chengdu, China. ICIMOD; the Sichuan Provincial Department of Forestry and Grasslands, China; the Chengdu Institute of Biology (CIB) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS); and the Chinese Academy of Environmental Sciences jointly organized the event.

Over 97 participants from 50 institutions and governmental departments in nine countries attended the workshop. Forty-nine presentations were given by scholars, including young scientists, and protected area managers from within and outside the HKH region. With the workshop acting as a platform for knowledge sharing, the presentations aimed to enhance the conservation management of flagship wildlife species and their habitats in global biodiversity hotspot areas; share conservation strategies and measures, and promote regional synergy and dialogue in conservation research, practice, and policies. Specifically, the workshop aimed to provide scientific information and action recommendations for the CBD’s post-2020 global biodiversity framework.

Presenters from China highlighted the ongoing drive for ecological civilizations (for instance, the national park piloting for giant panda), institutional reforms, protected area system development, local legislation, biodiversity assessment, and database development. “Flagship species and habitat conservation is a good entry point for solving biodiversity problems,” remarked Quan Zhanjun, Deputy Director, Institute of Environmental and Ecological Science, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences (CRAES).

A common theme across presentations was the need for greater cross-border, regional, and international collaboration. Such regional platforms could help regional experts share their research across wide networks, bolstering collaboration and cooperation for biodiversity conservation.

Bao Jianhua, Deputy Director General of the Sichuan Forestry and Grassland Bureau; Zhuang Yan, Director of the Department for International Organizations, CAS; and Yang Yongping, representative of the ICIMOD–CAS partnership – presided over the opening session. In his opening remarks, Yan spoke highly of the ICIMOD–CAS collaboration and expressed hopes for the continuation and expansion of their conservation works. CIB–CAS and ICIMOD will be working on a special publication on “Flagship species and their habitats in the HKH” based on articles submitted by the presenters.

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