International Snow Leopard Day Commemoration
On October 23, 2013, the Bishkek Declaration was endorsed by the governments of twelve snow leopard range countries, to ensure that snow leopards and the people who live among them thrive in healthy ecosystems that contribute to the prosperity and well-being of our countries and the planet. The Bishkek Declaration set a goal of securing at least 20 snow leopard landscapes with viable snow leopard populations by 2020, and led to the formation of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP). Since then, October 23 is commemorated each year as International Snow Leopard Day.
On Friday, 21 October 2016, the Government of Kyrgyzstan, UNDP and GSLEP partners will organize a high-level commemorative event and panel discussion at the UN Secretariat in New York.
The event is designed to:
• celebrate International Snow Leopard Day;
• re-enforce collaboration and synergies needed to conserve snow leopards and strengthen the livelihoods of communities whose well-being depends on high mountain ecosystems;
• highlight innovative programming, partnerships and progress on the ground;
• strengthen political support and commitment for ongoing and new GSLEP initiatives; and
• announce the launch of a global GEF-funded UNDP transboundary programme on snow leopards, and plans for a Global Presidential Summit on Snow Leopards to be held in Bishkek in the summer of 2017.
UNDP and the Global Environment Facility (GEF) are committed to contributing to GSLEP objectives through financial and technical support. GEF has a long history of supporting conservation of the snow leopard and its habitat, having approved 24 total projects and invested nearly USD $100 million toward UNDP-implemented projects in all 12 range countries since 1991. Several new GEF-financed, UNDP-implemented projects have emerged since 2013, representing an investment of about $45 million to support snow leopard range countries in meeting their national targets toward achieving GSLEP objectives, while leveraging over $200 million in co-financing from national and international GSLEP partners.
For UNDP, GEF and GSLEP partners, advancing the cause of snow leopard conservation represents the opportunity to protect globally significant biodiversity and work toward the improved well-being of humans—both women and men—as well as safeguarding essential ecosystem functions benefitting all life on Earth. Reviving and incorporating the traditional knowledge of the indigenous peoples, ethnic minorities and pastoralists who have lived on these lands in harmony with nature for centuries is essential to further promote conservation and sustainable development initiatives.
More information on UNDP, GEF, and GSLEP partner work is available in Silent Roar: UNDP and GEF in the Snow Leopard Landscape. This work is part of UNDP’s broader efforts to address illegal wildlife trade, protect biodiversity and ecosystems services, and accelerate achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.