Press Releases

IFC and Partners Help Protect Snow Leopards in Kyrgyz Republic

In Washington

Hannfried von Hindenburg

Phone: (202) 458-5613

Fax: (202) 974-4384


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.

IFC (, 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 (, 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.