On March 19-20, 2015 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Ministers and senior officials of 12 snow leopard range countries will be coming together for the first Steering Committee meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystems Protection Program (GSLEP).
The meeting will be a continuation of the joint actions of the 12 countries following the Bishkek Declaration adopted at the Global Forum on Snow Leopard Conservation held in October 2013 under the leadership of the President of the Kyrgyz Republic Almazbek Atambayev.
The GSLEP Program aims to ensure the long-term survival of the snow leopard in its natural ecosystem. It is a joint initiative of the governments of the range countries, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. Experts and senior officials from the 12 countries had identified 23 key landscapes to be secured for the endangered cat at a workshop at Lake Issyk Kul district, Kyrgyzstan, last June.
The upcoming inaugural meeting of the Steering Committee of the GSLEP program is a significant milestone where the high level steering committee will be appraised of the progress made till date, which includes identification of 23 landscapes that cumulatively encompass nearly 25% of the global snow leopard habitat, development of management planning guidelines, resource mobilization for national and regional components by range countries, and establishment of the GSLEP secretariat to coordinate program activities. The steering committee will also provide direction to take the program forward by helping secure resources and identifying priorities for action at national and regional levels.
The State Agency for Environmental Protection and Forestry under the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic, along with the GSLEP Secretariat, the Global Environment Facility (GEF), the Global Tiger Initiative (GTI), Union for Conservation of Nature and Biodiversity (NABU), Snow Leopard Trust (SLT), United Nations Development Program (UNDP), World Bank (WB) and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) are key partners in this upcoming event.
The two-day long meeting will be held at Jannat Resort in Koi-Tash village near Bishkek on 19 and 20 March 2015, and the delegates will join the Noorus (Central Asia new year) celebrations on the 21st.