SLN inputs into coming GSLEP SC Meeting 2022
The Global Snow Leopard Ecosystem Program (GSLEP) will be hosting its seventh Steering Committee (SC) Meeting on the 20-21 October 2022 in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. This will be the first in-person meeting of the Steering Committee after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the meeting, GSLEP member governments and partners will review the conservation work being done across the snow leopard range and also aims to identify future priority actions to conserve Asia’s mountain ecosystems.
The Snow Leopard Network (SLN) has been a GSLEP partner since its inception sharing the latest research and conservation practice from SLN organizations and individual member practitioners. This year’s GSLEP SC meeting offers an opportunity to bring into focus emerging themes and priorities from the perspective of the latest research, knowledge and conservation practice. SLN’s Steering Committee is working to identify a key set of priorities that we hope GSLEP partners and governments will actively consider in their coming annual draft resolution.
We would appreciate your ideas and suggestions on these selected priorities for the coming year, recognizing that multiple and integrated actions for the snow leopard are required across a number of fields. The below four priorities have been selected as critical for the coming period and offer strong likelihood of supporting ongoing GSLEP processes. It would be excellent to have a sense of which amongst these priorities are relevant and urgent from the perspective of SLN members. Please feel free to rank and to provide comments and feedback with respect to the below suggested priorities:
A. Climate Change: Climate change is the overarching threat to snow leopards, mountain ecosystems and people. Knowledge on the impacts and trends of this threat remains limited. It is proposed that a collective effort is put in place to monitor climate change indicators across the snow leopard range using agreed on and shared robust methodologies. This should include tracking socio-ecological change in addition to key ecological processes.
B. PAWS: Assessing the global snow leopard population through the GSLEP Population Assessment of the Worlds Snow Leopards (PAWS) process provides a baseline for almost all research and conservation efforts on the snow leopard. PAWS is reaching a critical stage in its implementation. A special effort is needed to continue actively investing in this effort and accelerating bringing the PAWS national and global estimates together.
C. Unusual Encounters: GLSEP is compiling a database on Encounters with snow leopards as a means to identify hotspots of negative interactions with humans and changes in snow leopard distribution. This platform also could help identify areas where snow leopards were unknown to occur. In order to make this an active resource for snow leopard conservation, SLN proposes supporting GSLEP in this effort through offering practitioner feedback on the framework and promoting contributions.
D. Integrated Conservation Approaches: Snow leopard conservation policy requires a multi-pronged approach and actions at large scale. Threats to snow leopards cannot be tackled in isolation. There is an urgent need for initiatives to promote cross-sector collaboration across administrations (transport, tourism, economic, environment, Illegal wildlife trade etc.) and strengthen cohesion across stakeholders to promote synergies for snow leopard conservation. Examples of such integrated approaches going to scale need to be shared and documented.
SLN’s Steering Committee will review the ranking and suggestions in early October in time for the GSLEP SC meeting. We hope this process can support the GSLEP initiative to collectively support the conservation of snow leopards, their mountain ecosystems and the people living in them.