Author: Krishna Prasad Oli

Paper Abstract:

The present international borders are political boundaries. Ecosystems existed long before the political boundaries. Political boundaries and landscapes do not limit species and communities of plants and animals. Hence, many countries in the Asian region share common biological and natural resources across their borders. The rationale for Trans boundary protected area are very important and consists of maintaining ecology and improving its management, economic opportunity, bringing isolated people together and provide the basis for peace and collaboration reducing hostilities among people and nations. Nepal has long felt the need for conservation of Trans-border biological resources. Most of the PA'S in Nepal are either adjacent to the international border with China or India. For example, four contiguous protected areas around Mt. Everest – Qomolangma Nature Preserve (QNP) in Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR), China and Sagarmatha (SNP), Makalu-Barun (MBLP), and Langtang National Parks (LNP) in Nepal - conserve a large, continuous ecosystem and rich cultural and natural heritages on both sides of the Himalayas. Similarly Kanchendzonga Conservation area (KCA) is situated along the Transboundary border between Nepal the TAR and Kanchendzonga Nature Reserve (KNP) in Sikkim State of India. The area jointly covers large tracts of the Himalayas to maintain species, communities, and ecological processes for the services of mankind. The isolated communities in these Trans boundary parks and reserves are home to large number of people who share a common cultural heritage. However, due to remote mountainous landscape and high-altitude environments, these people are some of the poorest in the world. Reconciling the needs of these local communities while conserving ecosystems has become a major challenge in these PA'S. The Kanchendzonga Mountain Ecosystem contains one of the richest biological diversities in the Eastern Himalayas. Realizing the need to protect this unique ecosystem, bordering nations (viz. India and Nepal) have declared Kanchendzonga Nature reserve and KCA respectively as protected areas in the Kanchendzonga region. Poor socio-economic conditions and isolated geographic location have impoverished the local communities in the Kanchendzonga region. Unaware of the potential economic values of surrounding bio-diversity, the economic necessities have compelled the local communities to engage in illegal hunting and trade of valuable plants and animal species. The problems are exacerbated due to lack of a viable livelihood for the local people and surveillance from the concerned government authorities. In recent years, Transboundary conservation is receiving greater attention due to nations recognizing their environment security. Transboundary protected area is important in this region due to many areas of high biodiversity located along the border where illegal harvest is also acute in such areas. In the Himalayan region recent efforts have been initiated for the conservation of unique biodiversity. Transboundary Conservation efforts have been initiated in the region from 1992 and from 1994 and from 1995 continuous positive efforts have been made in this direction. The paper brings a brief background of the Transboundary region of Kanchendzonga and discusses in detail critical conservation and social issues in an outstanding part of the planet. There are many social, political and reality matters that are important for the establishment of TBPA in the region. The paper focuses on the main Transboundary issues and problems and potential solutions pertaining to each issue. It also makes some suggestions for future development of Kanchenjunga as Transboundary Protected area.

Source: Krishna Prasad Oli