No one can achieve anything worth jabbing about without a team of like minded individuals, all striving for a better world. Here is the one and only Inger Vandyke, Professional Wildlife Photojournalist, Global Expedition Leader and BTS Team Member, writing about a subject dear to our hearts.
Broad Scale Conservation Initiative for the Himalayas is Ratified.
Through all these new, imaginative, and creative approaches to the problem of sharing our earth with other creatures there runs a constant theme, the awareness that we are dealing with life with living populations and all their pressures and counter pressures, their surges and recessions. – Rachel Carson
Photo: Inger Vandyke
The mighty Himalayas are some of the most fabled and cherished mountains in the world. A necklace of snow painted summits, the range is home to some of the world’s highest peaks, most endangered animals and millions of people. Its 15000 or so glaciers feed rivers that support communities both upstream at their termini and downstream in huge basins fed by the Indus, Ganges and Koshi Rivers.
On May 7, a memorandum of understanding was signed in Nepal that will consolidate a broad scale, trans-national conservation agreement involving the member states of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD). Spanning both the Hindu Kush and the Himalaya ranges through the countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan, the MOU also has the support of Germany and the United Kingdom who recognise the importance of healthy mountain ecosystems to the communities of the Himalayas.
This initiative not only encourages cross-boarder management initiatives, it seeks to provide a framework for countries to conserve Himalayan biodiversity by managing the landscape, enhancing opportunities and securing the livelihood of local communities like Lura, where the Beyond The Smile project is based.
For many small communities, isolation can sometimes imbue a feeling of futility for conservation projects. Scant communication and the consequential inability to see a ‘bigger picture’ means that micro projects involving conservation of biodiversity lack momentum from the start or are sometimes difficult to run over longer periods. Hence, this agreement which seeks to support numerous projects in collaboration, is vital in ensuring the sustained management of ecosystem services across the highest mountains on earth.