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22 Feb 2018 | News

Regional Workshop on Planning Transboundary Technical Collaboration for Landscape Management

In an effort to identify specific areas for transboundary technical cooperation in biodiversity conservation and sustainable development at regional and bilateral levels, the Landscape Initiative for Far Eastern Himalaya (HI-LIFE) organized a workshop in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, from 8–9 February 2018.

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The goal of the workshop was to concretize regional technical collaboration to support the nomination of the Hkakaborazi Landscape nomination as a World Heritage Site and to discuss activities for 2018. The event also sought to inform national partners about HI-LIFE in relation to the Mid-Term Action Plan IV (MTAP IV) of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and strengthen partnership for MTAP IV implementation within HI-LIFE. Representative partners of HI-LIFE participated in the workshop. They included 43 government officials, protected area managers, and scientist from China, India, and Myanmar.

ICIMOD and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Conservation (MONREC) hosted the workshop. Khin Maung Yi, Permanent Secretary; Naing Zaw Htun, Deputy Director; and other staff members represented MONREC. Maung emphasized the importance of wildlife traffic control, resource use and management, collaborative research and monitoring for sharing resources and encouraging conservation across the landscape.

Eklabya Sharma, Deputy Director General of ICIMOD, talked about the extensive research and studies carried out under HI-LIFE and the iterative processes that led to the development of regional a cooperation framework. He said that such fundamental preparatory work is what has become the basis for HI-LIFE to move to its next phase.

In his presentation, Rajan Kotru, Regional Programme Manager, Transboundary Landscapes, ICIMOD, discussed global climate trends and their impact on the HKH region where floods make up one-third of all natural disasters. The multiple effects of black carbon and expected issues like temperature rise, increased glacial and snowmelt, health disadvantages, agricultural productivity, and impact on forest ecosystem services, he said, are major concerns.

Major issues related to biodiversity conservation and cumulative growing demands were discussed during the event. Poverty and inequality were presented as major root causes. Lack of management concepts reflective of changing development contexts, policy and strategy guidance, and limited understanding of landscape from different perspectives were identified as some of the challenges to linking the transboundary approach to the science-policy-practice interface. Workshop participants discussed the importance of transitioning from government to governance, and the incubation of good institutional partnerships was presented as means of steering impact agendas from the local to the global.

Other key focus areas discussed include:
  1. Technical collaboration for long term research and monitoring of medicinal plants, flagship species, and habitats;
  2. Management of ecosystem services and mapping land use change;
  3. Regional ecotourism potential assessments to improve livelihood development in pilot areas;
  4. Strengthening cross-border mechanisms;
  5. Exchange and sharing for resource management plans for law enforcement; and
  6. Regional and national policy dialogues and their linkages to global development agendas.

Country partners formulated action plans for 2018 and representatives from each country highlighted the need for enabling policies to collaborate and support institutions from the local, national and regional levels.

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