Himalayan Wetland Intiative concludes draft strategy


The 6th meeting of the Himalayan Wetland Initiative

The 6th meeting of the Himalayan Wetland Initiative, organized by the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and funded by the Asia Pro Eco Europe Aid Cooperative Office, was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 1st to 3rd September, 2008. The main objective was to complete the draft of a strategy for the Himalayan Wetland Initiative so that Contracting Parties in the Himalayan region can consider and endorse the final version during COP10 at the end of October.

The meeting was opened by Mr. Ananda Pokhrel, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, who expressed concern over the loss of glaciers in the Himalaya which will cause significant decrease in the availability of freshwater throughout the whole region, and have adverse knock-on effects on wetland ecosystems and the people dependent on them.

The meeting was also attended by representatives of the governments of Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, representatives of ICIMOD, IUCN, WWF, and Wetlands International, the Representative of the Delegation of the European Commission to India, Bhutan and Nepal, and the Ramsar Senior Regional Adviser and Regional Technical Officer for Asia-Oceania.

The three day meeting was successful in that participants agreed on a text for the ‘Himalayan Wetland Initiative Strategy’, with the intention to return home to obtain endorsement of the Strategy from their governments in time for COP10.

Participants at the meeting also welcomed the statements from the representatives of the government of Bhutan on their imminent accession to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, and urged them to try to finalize the accession process in time for formal announcement during Ramsar COP10.

-- Lew Young, Ramsar

The minutes from the meeting can be found here (PDF).

Group photograph in the grounds of the offices of ICIMOD.

Prof. Yang Yuming (China), giving an update on the activities that China has conducted to support the Initiative.

Meeting in session.

From left to right, Mr. G. Karma Chhopel (Director, National Environment Commission, the Royal Government of Bhutan), Dr. Hua Ouyang (ICIMOD), and Dr. Eklabya Sharma (ICIMOD).

Dr. Annapurna Das (Director General, Dept. of National Parks & Wildlife Conservation, Nepal) and Mr. Denis Landenbergue (WWF International).

Dr. Mats Eriksson (ICIMOD) being attacked by a highly endangered Himalayan yeti whilst Ms. Haitang Liang (Wildlife Conservation Society China Programme) looks on.

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