Asia News
ACTION
 

Nokia signs IUCN Balkila Himalayan Watershed Project

Nokia and IUCN have signed a new project partnership agreement which aims to identify opportunities to address climate change and natural resource loss in the Balkila Watershed of Uttarakhand State, India. Ganesh Pangare, Head, IUCN Asia Water and Wetlands Programme, will coordinate the overall management of the Balkila project, which will be implemented by IUCN India programme. He will lead the implementation of integrated solutions for meeting local energy, food and water needs in the region. Roundtables will be organised on water and resilience in the Indian Himalayas, in order to establish a dialogue with outputs used to influence planning and action on development and climate change adaptation.

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Balkila Watershed and Gopeshwar town
 

Ba Be becomes Vietnam’s third Ramsar Site

On February 2, 2011, World Wetlands Day, Ba Be National Park was recognised as Vietnam’s third Ramsar site. Ba Be National Park is centred on Ba Be Lake, which is at an elevation of 178 m and is the only large natural mountain lake in Vietnam. The 1994 Biodiversity Action Plan for Vietnam listed Ba Be (together with nearby Na Hang Nature Reserve) among the 12 highest priority sites for biodiversity conservation in the country. Nomination of Ba Be is an important step forward in implementing the Ramsar Convention in particular and in conserving Vietnam’s biodiversity. The Viet Nam Government's Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment Biodiversity Conservation Agency, the national Ramsar Administrative Authority, is now working on the nomination of Tram Chim National Park, one of the few remaining natural wetlands in the Mekong Delta, as Vietnam’s fourth Ramsar site.

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Puong Cave in Ba Be National Park
 

Tree plantation campaign launched by IUCN Pakistan for International Year of Forests

IUCN Pakistan, under its six year program BPSD “Balochistan Partnerships for Sustainable Development” launched the spring tree plantation campaign by planting 8500 saplings of various indigenous species at Bagh Viala village in Qilla Saifullah district. The programme has established four nurseries in Ziarat, Pishin and Qilla Saifullah districts with the aim to scale up the growth of indigenous plants and shrubs in the length and breadth of  Balochistan and mobilize the communities for improvement and conserving their natural resources. IUCN has already rehabilitated 100 acres of rangelands and forests in the district, and more than150 acre are being planned for future rehabilitation. 

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Plantation of 8500 saplings of various indigenous species at Bagh Viala village in Qilla Saifullah district.
 

Water security and climate change: India Water Forum explores solutions

Water security and climate change were the main focus of the newly organised India Water Forum (IWF), which took place in New Delhi from 13-15 April. This inaugural international water conference aims at exploring solutions for sustainable governance and integrated management of water resources. Organised by The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), and in association with the Government of India's Ministry of Water Resources, IWF specifically addressed the challenges and opportunities for water in the face of climate change. The conference endeavored to showcase knowledge and technologies developed in different countries and encouraging networks and partnerships.

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Ferry commuters on Bhramaputra river, India
 

Call to Action: Conservation of Gibbons in Lao PDR

Developed for the project “Conservation Action Planning for Gibbons in Lao PDR”, this Call to Action highlights the gibbon species of Lao PDR, threats to their continued survival and requirements for their conservation. The project is being implemented by IUCN Lao PDR and Fauna & Flora International, partnering with the Division for Forest Resources Conservation. Funded by the United States Embassy in Lao PDR, with contributions from the Arcus Foundation and Mohammed Bin Zayid Foundation, the planning process aims to engage important stakeholders, improve knowledge of gibbon populations, and leverage future support for their conservation.

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EVENTS
 

Natural born heroes

IUCN's April Focus highlights the compelling stories of some of conservation’s unsung heroes in their efforts to save the natural world. From our rivers, deserts, forests and coastlines to the international corridors of power, IUCN works with thousands of people who are battling with quiet determination to protect biodiversity and to give nature a voice.  Asia celebrates just a few of its heroes along with many others from around the world.

> Read about our heroes
Hanging on for dear life, Nick (right) had just jumped and caught this 400 kg dugong with bare hands!
 

One river, many countries: Sharing the mighty Mekong

Experts from the IUCN Mekong Water Dialogues recently participated in the International Conference on Watershed Management in Chiang Mai, Thailand, to exchange ideas and learn from lessons of watershed management around the Asia-Pacific region, and across the world. The international conference aimed to engage participants in dialogue on the challenges and solutions for watershed and river basin management. The meeting provided interactive fora for discussion on good practice, governance and economics and financing. Lively debates, panel discussions and keynote presentations across the three topics, provided the background for a valuable information exchange of activities and approaches undertaken in the Lower Mekong Region.

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Dr Robert Mather (left) participates in a panel discussion at the Watershed Management Conference.
 

13th IUCN Indian National Committee Meeting Held in New Delhi

The IUCN Indian National Committee (INC) had its 13th meeting on March 21, 2011 at the premises of the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India. With the welcoming of new members to the IUCN constituency in India and to the INC, the Committee also deliberated on subjects for collaboration among members including the Government of India and discussed critical issues for the CBD 11th Conference of Parties (COP) to be held in 2012. Dr Ashok Khosla, IUCN President and Mr T Chatterjee, Secretary MoEF, were present at the meeting with the INC members and office bearers. Dr Khosla called the IUCN members as the eyes and ears of the organisation and a crucial agent in the dissemination of messages pertaining to the environment. He announced that one of the IUCN Council meetings in 2011 would be held in India and it would be another opportunity for the members to interact and deliberate on interventions.

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Dr Ashok Khosla, IUCN President and Mr T Chatterjee, Environment Secretary, India, at the 13th INC meeting
 
KNOWLEDGE
 

Holistic approach is vital to combat climate change

Government, industry, community groups, individuals and all sections of the community have a part to play in responding to climate change, experts said at a recent discussion in Bangladesh. The observations came at a seminar titled 'Dissemination of Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009 and Progress of Implementation' organized by IUCN, on behalf of the Bangladesh Ministry of Environment and Forests, with the support of the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA). The Bangladesh Climate Change Strategy and Action Plan 2009 will form an integral part of the upcoming sixth Five Year Plan of Government of Bangladesh.

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(left to right) Dr Ainun Nishat, climate change expert, and Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, Coordinator of the National Climate Change Negotiation Team, were honoured guests at the seminar.
 

Environmental trends and adaptation options in the Mekong delta

IUCN supported two workshops in the Mekong Delta. The first workshop reviewed environmental conditions and trends in the delta. Dykes have been strengthened and new ones built but this is expensive and often unsuccessful because the dykes are now exposed to the full force of the waves, resulting in scouring and collapse. The construction of dykes has also limited the extent and duration of the annual flood, resulting in sedimentation of the canals (requiring extensive dredging) and reduced natural fertilization of the rice fields (requiring heavy use of chemicals). The second workshop focused on the tendency to prioritize investments in infrastructure and a move to balance this with investment in improved agricultural extension, crop diversification and other “softer” interventions. This may reflect a growing awareness, at least within academia and NGO communities, that continued investment in roads, canals, and dykes is causing major environmental problems and that natural solutions should be pursued.

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Low water levels in Hau Giang Province
 

IUCN Red Listing Process Commences in India

The IUCN Red Listing process made a significant leap in conservation efforts in South Asia with its formal entry into the policymaking frameworks of the Government of India. In a landmark event led by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), Government of India, with support from IUCN, a one day consultative workshop on the global Red Listing process was organised in New Delhi that saw the merger of India’s conservation efforts with the global IUCN Red Listing process. The platform explored the need to integrate the various ongoing Red Listing processes within the country and to develop a strategy for a country level initiative adopting the adopting the regional IUCN Red Listing guidelines. The event helped create for the first time in India a Standing Committee on IUCN Red Listing was formed to oversee the development of a country level process.

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Dr Susan Mainka, Head of IUCN Science and Learning, at the Red Listing consultation in New Delhi, India
 

IUCN, International Union for Conservation of Nature © 2011

IUCN helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges. It supports scientific research, manages field projects all over the world and brings governments, non-government organizations, United Nations agencies, companies and local communities together to develop and implement policy, laws and best practice.