Ministry of Environment and Forests
Government of India
12th March 2011
Meeting of the National Steering Committee for Project Snow Leopard
The Project Snow Leopard (PSL), inaugurated in January 2009, is a participatory conservation programme of the Ministry of Environment & Forest (MoEF) for strengthening wildlife conservation in the unique high altitudes of India. This pioneering initiative aims at holistic conservation of Snow Leopard landscapes with the inclusion and support of local communities, civil society organizations and reputed scientists. The 2nd meeting of the National Steering Committee for this project took place on 11th March 2011 and was chaired by the Minister of State for Environment and Forests (I/C) Shri Jairam Ramesh. In addition to the senior officials from the five Snow Leopard states of India, the committee includes scientists and experts from Nature Conservation Foundation, Wildlife Institute of India, World Wildlife Fund and Wildlife trust of India, all of whom attended the meeting. Most importantly, representatives of the army and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, who have a large presence in all snow leopard areas, were also present for dialogue.
Various developments and bottlenecks of the project were deliberated. The committee reviewed the progress made by individual states in identifying Snow Leopard landscapes on a scientific basis and preparing appropriate Management Plans. The participants also discussed critical issues regarding streamlining of mechanisms for state-wise disbursement of funds. All states suggested the need for greater capacity building, improvement of facilities, and providing “difficult-area” incentives to field staff vital impetus for improving on-ground monitoring and protection.
The Committee has decided to streamline the preparation of Management Plans by issuing guidelines to all member states based on the extensive work done by Nature Conservation Foundation in Himachal Pradesh. NCF was also identified as the anchor institution for all technical and scientific matters related to the Snow Leopard Project.
The Minister also identified the need for a more structured dialogue with the Army and the ITBP, to facilitate a deeper involvement of these bodies in conservation issues in the snow leopard landscapes. In conclusion, Shri Jairam Ramesh underscored the importance of involving international expertise and exchanging know-how on snow leopard conservation, and proposed the idea of India hosting an international conference on conservation of snow leopards and mountain landscapes.