Washington, D.C., August 3, 2005 —
The International Finance Corporation, the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development, and partner organizations have launched a biodiversity
program to help protect the endangered snow leopard against poaching in
the remote Kyrgyz mountains.
The two-year conservation program will improve management and monitoring
at the Sary-Chat Ertash Zapovednik nature reserve, which is located in
the northeast of the Kyrgyz Republic near the Kumtor gold mine,
an IFC and EBRD investment project.
The project will be run and implemented by Fauna & Flora International
and the Community & Business Forum in partnership with the International
Snow Leopard Trust. It is jointly funded by IFC and the EBRD. The Kumtor
Operating Company is providing additional financial support.
IFC and EBRD’s involvement in the initiative is part of the ongoing work
by both institutions to improve the Kumtor mining operations’ long-term,
sustainable development. The project will help nature reserve staff engage
with local communities and develop initiatives that link conservation of
the reserve’s biodiversity with improvements in local livelihoods, such
as handicrafts, sustainable forestry, and agriculture.
“This is a very exciting program as it not only shows that mining operations
can exist side by side with nature, but also includes surrounding local
communities in the project consultations,” said John Middleton, IFC’s
senior environmental specialist overseeing the project.
Engaging communities and local businesses in the sustainable management
and use of natural resources is a key element in the fight to stop the
loss of biodiversity and to strengthen conservation.
“This initiative represents vital steps in the Kyrgyz Republic’s transition
process, which will set an example in the region,” said Jean-Marie Frentz,
the EBRD’s environmental specialist in charge of the project.
The project will also provide training and mentoring to the nature reserve’s
staff in administration, oversight, and skills to combat poaching. The
aim is to improve the management of the Sary-Chat Ertash Zapovednik reserve
through the development of a protected area management plan and a strategy
for monitoring biodiversity.
the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes sustainable private
sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and
improve people’s lives.
The EBRD (www.ebrd.com),
owned by 60 countries and two intergovernmental institutions, aims to foster
the transition from centrally planned to market economies in central and
eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.