Secure Himalaya Project, a six-year project is launched on October 2, 2017 at Global Wildlife Program (GWP) annual conference in New Delhi by Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in association with the United Nations Development Programme in four states, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Uttarakhand and Sikkim with high Himalayan ecosystem to ensure conservation of locally and globally significant biodiversity, land and forest resources. Snow leopard and other endangered species are the main focus along with securing livelihoods of the people in the region and enhancing enforcement to reduce wildlife crime. The project is launched in association with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Jaime Cavelier, Sr. Biodiversity Specialist at the GEF said “This conference is of the utmost importance to the wildlife conservation community not only in India but around the world. Without local communities participating and benefiting from wildlife conservation, it is going to be very hard to win the current war against poaching and the international illegal trade of wildlife and wildlife parts. This conference promises to deliver solutions to these crises that affect us all.”
Marina Walter, Country Director a.i. UNDP India further added that “UNDP is proud to support the Government of India in the ‘SECURE Himalaya’ partnership, which is a recognition that people’s participation is critical to protecting the biodiversity wealth of the Himalaya’s and in securing the lives and livelihoods of local communities.”
Not only this but Claudia Sobrevila, the GWP’s Program Manager believes that through this project alliances will build between the private sector, local communities, and local government authorities.
The Secure Himalaya project’s objectives note that the snow leopard, its prey, its eco-systems face a variety of direct and indirect threats. Habitat degradation and fragmentation of area are a direct threat and increasing due to the high dependence of local communities on natural resources and unplanned infrastructure.
- $72.3 million is sanctioned to implement the project.
- The main focus will be on tackling smuggling and poaching of snow leopard and uplifting mountain community.
- The areas included are Gangotri-Govind and Darma Bayas valley in the Pithoragarh area of Uttarakhand, Pangi and Kinnaur in Himachal Pradesh, the Kangchenjunga and Teesta valley areas in Sikkim and the Kangchenjunga and Changthng in Jammu and Kashmir.
- Improved enforcement efforts and strict monitoring will be done to control illegal trade in the category of medicinal plants and aromatic.
- One of the main objectives is to promote co-existence between people and wildlife.