Khangchendzonga is the 11th Biosphere Reserve to be added to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves
New Delhi, 25 July 2018 (UNDO) : Today, the 30th Session of the Man and Biosphere International Coordinating Council currently taking place in Palembang, South Sumatra Province, Indonesia, has added the Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve to UNESCO’s World Network of Biosphere Reserves.
Commending the joint efforts of the State Government of Sikkim and the India’s Man and Biosphere Committee, Eric Falt UNESCO New Delhi Director said ““Congratulations to India! This makes it a total of 11 biospheres in the country. Biosphere Reserves in India are truly exceptional places for exceptional people. They are a wonderful world of their own, to be preserved with UNESCO for generations to come!”
The Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve falls within the Himalaya global biodiversity hotspot and displays an unsurpassed range of sub-tropical to alpine ecosystems. The core zone alone boosts to have over 150 glaciers and 73 glacial lakes. The prominent one being the famous 26 km long Zemu glacier. It is home for many of the globally threatened fauna including Musk deer, snow leopard, red panda and Himalayan Tahr. It is also home for many ethnic communities including Lepcha, Nepalese, and Bhutia.
The Khangchendzonga National Park within Khangchendzonga Biosphere Reserve has been identified as the biggest Important Bird Area in Sikkim and supports 130 endemic species of eastern Himalayas and over 212 bird species of conservation concerns including 7 globally threatened species.
Because of its location, which includes the third highest peak in the world, Mount Khangchendzonga, it offers unique opportunities for joint collaboration and conservation of biodiversity with neighboring countries.
Comprising of 669 biosphere reserves in 120 countries, including 20 transboundary sites, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) of the Man and Biosphere Programme consists of a dynamic and interactive network of sites of excellence. It works to foster the harmonious integration of people and nature for sustainable development through participatory dialogue, poverty reduction, human well-being, respect for cultural values and by improving society’s ability to cope with climate change.