To mark International Snow Leopard Day, the Permanent Mission of the Kyrgyz Republic und UNDP have invited conservationists and other interested parties to a high-level panel discussion on Snow Leopard and High Mountain Ecosystem Conservation.
The event was opened by Ms. Adriana Dinu, Executive Coordinator, UNDP – Global Environment Finance, and Mr. Adylkalyk Rustamov, Director of the State Agency on Environment Protection and Forestry of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Mr. Rustamov thanked attendees for their interest in snow leopards. He highlighted the role of this cat as an ambassador of Central Asia’s mountain ecosystems. In his remarks, he particularly stressed the importance of integrating climate-smart conservation efforts with the interests and needs of the local communities who share the snow leopard’s habitat – a point that was shared by Peter Zahler, coordinator of WCS‘s snow leopard program. Mr. Zahler spoke of the economic challenges these communities face – and how they can be met, for instance through co-management models of protected areas; a model WCS has successfully implemented in Afghanistan’s Wakhan
John Farrington of WWF presented innovative conservation solutions.