Gangtok, Feb 17:
The first meeting of the landscape committee of the GEF-GOI-UNDP SECURE Himalaya project for West Sikkim was held today at the Zilla Bhawan, Gyalshing.
The meeting was presided by Karma R. Bonpo, District Magistrate, Gyalshing. He was accompanied by Surat Gurung, ADC Development Gyalshing and the other committee members which comprised of Officers from Forest Department, Horticulture, Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, BDOs and UNDP India team members.
The DC West gave valuable inputs and stressed on working with enforcement agencies to address waste management, free ranging dog issues and also to sensitize stakeholders in border areas. He also urged the project to generate quality information and awareness materials which will highlight the unique biodiversity and cultural values of KNP. He also assured convergence with existing schemes like BADP to maximize outputs. The project team mentioned that they will note down all suggestions and include the same for final approval at the state project steering committee meeting to be held shortly. The other members also gave their inputs and deliberated regarding the outcomes. In his concluding remark, the DC mentioned that the SECURE Himalaya project is very important for the state and should focus on demonstrating innovative conservation and livelihood solutions which can be replicated in other areas.
At the outset, Rajarshi Chakraborty, State Project Officer, SECURE Himalaya Sikkim welcomed all the participants and gave an overview of the project and the progress achieved so far between 2019-2021. He mentioned that the project implementation has suffered due to initial procedural delays and consecutive COVID 19 restrictions but still through regular mobilization and support of UNDP, certain important outputs have been achieved including quality baseline information on all conservation and livelihood related aspects through research done in the initial years, support to management of national park and wildlife sanctuaries in the landscape including KNP, strategic partnerships to enhance conservation and prevent degradation with State Biodiversity Board, KCC, WWF, Animal husbandry department etc. He also mentioned that previously the landscape committee meetings were planned but could not take place due to covid restrictions and now is a critical juncture in the project due to the upcoming.mid term review, requiring all stakeholders to take a stock of the progress and to ensure expedited outputs. Jaya Narayan Sharma, Project Associate, SECURE Himalaya next presented the draft Annual Work Plan of 2022-23 with tentative activities against each of the targets and inputs were sought regarding their relevance, budget and convergence possibilities. Mr Siddharth Nair and Mr Ummed Dhakad, Project Associates from UNDP national team also explained the significance of the midterm review and achieving convergence.
The vote of thanks was proposed by Tashi Choden Shengna, Community Mobilizer, SECURE Himalaya where she thanked all committee members for their participation and inputs.