SAWEN co-organizes the Global Snow Leopard Meeting
23 January 2017

SAWEN co-organizes the Global Snow Leopard Meeting

The Government of Nepal in collaboration with Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), South Asia Wildlife Enforcement Network (SAWEN), the Snow Leopard Trust, USAID, the World Wildlife Fund, Global Tiger Initiative Council, National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), WWF Nepal and Zoological Society of London Nepal Office (ZSL Nepal) organized the 'Global Snow Leopard Meeting' on 17-20 January 2017 in Kathmandu Nepal. The four days meeting committed to work for conservation of endangered snow leopard and its habitat holistically.

On the final day of the program, the GSLEP Second Steering Committee Meeting of was held in presence of environment/forest ministers or their representatives from snow leopard range countries. Inaugurating the Steering Committee Meeting Rt. Honorable Prime Minister of Nepal Mr. Puspa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda' highlighted that the snow leopards are true ambassadors of the high mountains of Central and South Asia and their landscapes provides numerous ecosystem services for millions of people. "It is not only the responsibility of these 12 countries and a handful of organizations, but that of everybody who wishes for clean air and water to help conserve snow leopard and its ecosystems" said Rt. Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Prachanda. During the occasion, he announced NRs 5 million from the government of Nepal for the conservation of snow leopard in Nepal.

Prior to the Steering Committee meeting, two days Management Planning and Stocktaking Workshop was held on 17-18 January 2017. Chief Guest of the inaugural program of the workshop, honorable minister Mr. Shankar Bhandari, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Nepal, emphasized on the need of more researches to generate concrete knowledge base about snow leopard and its habitats, including more reliable population estimates. For this, he announced a plan to establish a Himalayan Research Center in Nepal.  The workshop reviewed the ongoing Landscape Management Planning process in the snow leopard range countries aiming to bolster the efforts to secure 23 landscapes by 2020 as agreed on the Bishkek Declaration in 2013.

The meeting produced a 'Kathmandu Declaration' highlighting the biological, cultural, and economic importance of the Asia's high mountains inhabited by the diminishing snow leopard population, and calling for the global communities for more substantive and integrated investments and engagement for recovering the snow leopard populations and securing their habitats. The Declaration encourages more researches and involvement of youths in overcoming the threats that the snow leopards currently face including habitat degradation, climate change, retaliatory killing, and poaching and illegal wildlife trade.

Ministers from six snow leopard range countries; Afghanistan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Nepal, Pakistan and Russia and representatives of the minister from rest of the six range countries participated in the meeting. Representatives from partner organizations including ICIMOD, INTERPOL, IUCN, Snow Leopard Conservancy, Snow Leopard Trust, Shan Shui, TRAFFIC, Wildlife Conservation Society, UNDP, USAID, WWF were also present in the meeting.

Later this year in September, a Global Snow Leopard Summit is planned aiming to gather heads of states from the  snow leopard range countries in Bishkek to garner high level political and financial commitments for the conservation of snow leopards. There was also a consensus during the Global Snow Leopard Meeting on electing Nepal as the next Chair of the GSLEP Steering Committee, to take over the chairmanship after the Summit in September.

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