ICIMOD for regional ABS platform between Nepal,Sikkim

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Gangtok, Apr 22 (UNI) International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development(ICIMOD) today proposed setting up a common platform in the Eastern Nepal-Sikkim-Bhutan corridor for establishing regional Access and Benefit Sharing(ABS) regime from their biological resources.

''We have to come up with up with a common understanding and platform on the regional context to ensure a smooth ABS regime for local community,'' said Dr Eklabya Sharma, Programme Manger of ICIMOD today, during an international consultative orkshop on ABS being held at Gangtok.

Several bio-diversity stakeholders from Nepal, Bhutan and Sikkim are attending the two-day workshop that seeks to form strategies on various issues relating to Convention of Biological Diversity (CBD) ratified by the global community and prevention of bio piracy while protecting traditional knowledge.

While the Kathmandu-based ICOMOD project on ABS focus on four countries-India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, Dr Sharma highlighted on the need for regional platform.

Sikkim, which Dr Sharma termed as a natural laboratory, is a bio-diversity and extended around 100 kms from south to west straddled between Eastern Nepal and Bhutan.

''We look forward towards corridor development between these Himalayan countries for protection of wildlife, biodiversity and at the same time, ensuring livelihood options for the local community by landscape management and ABS, Dr Sharma said.

Sikkim forest minister S B Subedi highlighted the strategic international position of the state with respect to its rich bio-diversity.

Sikkim, with only 0.2 per cent land in the country boasts of 26 per cent of India's biodiversity, is being recognized as a bio-diversity hotspot.

''The key to ABS is to how the rules are implemented and how can the commercial companies are regulated so Sikkim can benefit from its vast resources,'' Mr Subedi said.

Sikkim government had already established the state Biodiversity Board on 2006 with the Chief Minister Pawan Chamling as the chairperson and framed the Biological Diversity Act.

The entire strategy of ICIMOD for Eastern Nepal-Sikkim-Bhutan corridor development will be revealed during a two day meet at Bhutan on May 6, Dr.Sharma said. Government representatives from this corridor will be attending and if an agreement is reached, then works for landscape management can be considered, he added.

An ambitious trekking route dubbed "Great Himalayan trek" spanning from Eastern Nepal and extending upto Bhutan through Sikkim route is a part of this landscape management plan.

UNI BG LL KLC1754

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