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11 Aug 2015 | News

Experts stress need for collaboration to protect the natural heritage of earthquake-affected areas of Nepal

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Over 50 experts and conservation practitioners from the region stressed the need for greater collaboration to overcome the socio-ecological impacts from the recent Nepal Earthquake and to protect Nepal’s rich biological and cultural heritage at an event held on the sidelines of IUCN’s 6th Asia Regional Conservation Forum held 10–12 August 2015 in Bangkok.

The side event on ‘Nepal Earthquake: Supporting a nature-based response and recovery to strengthen long-term resilience’, was organized by the NNC-IUCN and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The event was opened by Yogendra Chitrakar, Chair of the Nepal National Committee- IUCN  (NNC-IUCN), who underscored the need for a concerted effort to rebuild and protect Nepal’s natural heritage. “The recent earthquake in Nepal could lead to setbacks in its progressive conservations efforts, but it has also created new avenues for collaboration among national, regional, and global players to protect Nepal’s rich natural heritage.”

In his keynote address, Basanta Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation at ICIMOD, took account of the magnitude of damage brought by the recent earthquake in Nepal and its more than 300 aftershocks. He highlighted the collective efforts of the Government of Nepal and other organizations that have supported the disaster relief and recovery efforts, including ICIMOD. “Recent advances in information technology have provided us with tools that supported an effective response, and can also be used to support a sustainable recovery”, he said.

With a brief introduction of the ecosystem-based conservation approach, Nakul Chettri, Coordinator of the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative at ICIMOD, highlighted the response of NNC-IUCN members through their immediate actions with relief materials including food, temporary shelter and medications to the natural disaster. “The NNC-IUCN’s initial response to the earthquake was an important first step, but now more strategic planning and sustained collaboration among the members of the IUCN are needed”, said Dr Chettri.

In closing, Arzu Deuba, IUCN Regional Councilor for South and East Asia, highlighted the need for both short-term and long-term strategies to restore the natural heritage that was lost during the Nepal earthquake.

The event concluded with a token of appreciation presented to the Zhang Xinsheng, IUCN President, for the organization’s contribution to earthquake relief and recovery efforts in Nepal.

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