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New agreement to tackle climate change impacts in Himalayas

16 December 2011

As part of our Living Himalayas Initiative, we’ve recently played a leading role in securing an agreement between India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh to combat the impacts of climate change in the region.

This is the first time the four countries have agreed this kind of action. And, says WWF’s Dr Liisa Rohweder, it marks a major milestone - “taking us one step closer to our vision for a Living Himalayas, with nature and people thriving in harmony”.

WWF-UK is closely involved in this important initiative. We’ve joined forces with colleagues in Finland and the US, as well as Bhutan, India and Nepal, to support the governments and create further success stories for the people and natural resources of the Himalayas. “This will help make the area a showcase for the rest of the world,” says Dr Rohweder, chief executive of WWF-Finland.

The agreement is part of our Living Himalayas Initiative which is helping to save the rich, natural and cultural heritage of this unique part of the world. We’re working to secure more than 7 million hectares of forest, grassland and wetland, as well as the region’s important plant and animal species.

“Conservation, and the impacts of climate change, aren’t restricted by political boundaries”, says Dr Rohweder. “They’re also interconnected with issues of biodiversity, water availability and human livelihoods - so our efforts to address these issues look beyond borders.”

The governments of the four countries acknowledge this, and have agreed to work together regionally. Not only that, but our role as a solutions-based organisation with decades of experience in the region means we can help make a genuine difference.

The Living Himalayas Initiative will now look for further support from the WWF global network so it can continue to work effectively on issues linked with securing the freshwater systems of the Himalayas, and the sustainable use of the area’s other extraordinary natural resources.

We intend to increase our focus on protecting some of the iconic species of the region, such as the magnificent but endangered snow leopard, and to increase the role of local communities in conservation. We also plan to establish a network of community conservation areas across the eastern Himalayas.

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