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13 Jan 2021 | Transboundary Landscapes

Nature-based solutions for rural revitalization in the Far Eastern Himalaya

Liu Rongkun & Yi Shaoliang

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Wang Yungang, researcher from the Tea Research Institute of the Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, demonstrates how to trim tea plants (Photo: Li Chun)

More than 70 representatives from four villages in Fugong County, government agencies, local enterprises, and community cooperatives attended a workshop on sustainable livelihoods and development for communities in Fugong County, Nujiang Prefecture, in Southwest China’s Yunnan Province. The participants were predominantly indigenous Lisu and Nu people living in the remote Gaoligong mountains. The workshop introduced them to new approaches to green and sustainable livelihoods and also served as a platform for them to explore new and ecological development models for poverty alleviation and rural revitalization together with experts and government representatives.

The two-day workshop, held on 26–27 December 2020, focused on two themes – sustainable livelihoods and rural eco-tourism potential assessment – with a target audience of village rangers and women entrepreneurs. During the workshop, experts from the Tea Research Institute of Yunnan Academy of Agricultural Sciences, WildChina Travel, Shanshui Partner, Global Environmental Institute, and ICIMOD gave presentations and practical demonstrations on community-based conservation, nature-friendly products, eco-tourism design and development, tea plant management, pest control, and natural hazard risk management.

Many participants expressed their desire to have further exchanges with experts to advance rural revitalization in their villages. Zhao Yunxian, Deputy General Manager of WildChina, remarked, “This workshop not only allows the community to understand our company’s experience in eco-tourism product design but also provides an opportunity to appreciate Fugong and Nujiang counties. As eco-tourism practitioners, we need to explore how we can become good hosts to guests from all around the world. We need to strive to show our guests what Fugong and Nujiang have to offer.”

workshop in Fugong County, Yunnan, China
Participants attending the workshop in Fugong County, Yunnan, China (Photo: Zhang Chenyang)

 

On the second day of the workshop, the experts along with village chiefs from Yaping Village went on a field visit to the Yaping Ecological Scenic Area. The experts put forward suggestions on ways to design rural tourism routes and evaluated the possibility of pilot operations in the near future. Ken, chief of Yaping Village, appreciated the suggestions of the experts. “It is truly my hope that my fellow villagers will live a better life,” he shared. Ken stated that he looked forward to implementing the pilot eco-tourism route and activities in his village.

We organized the workshop in collaboration with the Global Environmental Institute (GEI), with support from the Forestry and Grassland Bureau of Nujiang Prefecture and Fugong County. The workshop was part of a larger Global Environment Facility Small Grants Programme-funded project titled “Promoting climate-smart livelihood space among mountain communities in Nujiang Valley, northwest Yunnan”, which has been implemented since July 2019 in a UNESCO World Heritage Site – the Three Parallel Rivers of Yunnan Protected Areas in northwest Yunnan, adjacent to eastern Tibet and Myanmar.

Another training workshop will be held in the first half of 2021 with a special focus on tea culture-themed eco-tourism, as potential project sites have been explored beyond Fugong County to Gongshan County. The workshop aims to further promote community-based conservation and sustainable mountain development in the Far-eastern Himalayan Landscape and will complement the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties (COP 15) to the Convention on Biological Diversity, to be held in Kunming, Yunnan Province, in June 2021.

Experts and Yaping Village locals
Experts and Yaping Village locals discuss ways to promote eco-tourism (Photo: Zhang Chenyang)
Village chiefs of Yaping Village and experts
Village chiefs of Yaping Village and experts during a field visit to Yaping Ecological Scenic Area to map potential eco-tourism routes and products (Photo: Li Chun)
Media coverage

Nujiang Prefecture Government Portal:

https://www.nujiang.gov.cn/xxgk/015279278/info/2021-154578.html

Fugong County Government Portal:

https://www.fugong.gov.cn/xxgk/015282573/info/2021-154568.html

Fugong Government News:

https://appfg.ccwb.cn/news/202101/20210106115147ACU9MH.html

 

Liu Rongkun is a PhD candidate at The Ohio State University. He is also a consultant for HI-LIFE activities in China.

 

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