Building Partnerships to Support UNESCO’s World Heritage Programme in India
The need to strengthen the effective management, protection & conservation of the Outstanding Universal Values of existing Natural World Heritage Sites (WHS) in India through sustainable partnerships between stakeholders originated the UNESCO project– “Building Partnerships to Support UNESCO’s World Heritage Programme: India” ,a component of UNESCO’s World Heritage Biodiversity Programme in India (WHBPI) (http://whc.unesco.org/en/activities/78/).
Nanda Devi NP and Biosphere Reserve encompass the transition zone between Greater and Trans-Himalaya, and hence support a high biological diversity. In 1988, the Nanda Devi NP formed the core zone and the surrounding areas as the buffer zone for the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve (2,237 km2) declared under the MAB programme of UNESCO which were later amended in 2000 to encompass a total area of 5860 km2 that included the Valley of Flowers NP (88 km2) as the core zone. The Nanda Devi NP and the Valley of Flowers NP were inscribed as ‘World Heritage Sites’ during the years 1988 and 2004 respectively http://www.ndwhs.org/
The Wildlife Institute of India (WII) is implementing the project in Nanda Devi & Valley of Flowers National Parks and Keoladev National Park. Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE) is implementing the project in Kaziranga National Park and Manas National Park. Project Activities in Nanda Devi WHS includes capacity building of the staff for effective management of the site; enhancing the role of local communities in its management, protection & conservation of site; research & monitoring management & governance, communication & advocacy and the World Heritage Biodiversity Programme for India. The project has been conceived for a period of 10 years and is currently funded for the first phase (till September 2012) with the financial support of the United Nations Foundation, Ford Foundation, Sehgal Foundation and the Government of India.
The project endeavours to develop effectively managed clusters of existing and potential World Heritage Sites representing critical ecosystem and habitats of India. Management of these sites combines law enforcement, communications and advocacy, habitat integrity, enhanced connectivity, science based management with participation and livelihood support for local communities and engagement with civil society.
Ms. Shazia Quasin is Senior Research fellow at the ENVIS centre at the Wildlife Institute of India. She worked in the Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve, Western Himalayas for her doctorate. She was a participant of Go4BioDiv 2010 from India, and now the youth coordinator for the Go4BioDiv 2012 in WII.