Snow leopards have the power to unite people and bring nations together

Thank you to all who took part in our week of action to celebrate International Snow Leopard Day last October. Since then, nearly 14,000 of you signed a petition asking leaders to protect snow leopards by prioritizing climate adaptation programs across their habitat. This weekend, we will share your calls to action during the 13th annual Steering Committee Meeting of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP) in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

What is GSLEP?

GSLEP is a first-of-its-kind intergovernmental alliance comprised of environment ministers from all snow leopard range countries. Snow Leopard Trust was instrumental in creating and supporting this path-breaking model of cooperative nature conservation. 

This 13th steering committee meeting will bring together environment ministers from snow leopard range countries, representatives from partner organizations and international financial institutions to discuss the current status of snow leopard conservation. 

Sessions will focus on climate action and adaptation support for local and indigenous communities and snow leopard conservation, the ethical conservation movement, transboundary cooperation, innovative conservation financing mechanisms, and sustainable practices in linear infrastructure. And the snow leopard will be promoted as an international icon of climate resilience.

Why focus on climate adaptation programs?

The high mountains of Asia known as Earth’s Third Pole, provide water to support a third of humanity. It is one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, with the rate of warming expected to be twice that of the Northern Hemisphere. Melting glaciers, extreme events, changing seasonal patterns and enhanced risk of diseases are putting the region’s people and wildlife populations at greater risk. Climate Adaptation strategies are urgently needed for the communities that have a high dependence on ecosystem services. 

According to a GSLEP representative, “While the world is aware of the plight of the North and South Poles, the “Third Pole” – Asia’s high mountains – faces a silent crisis. The endangered snow leopard is the symbol of the importance and vulnerability of the Third Pole. This magnificent species has brought all our nations together to collaborate for conservation and climate action in Asia’s high mountains under the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program.” 

During this week’s sessions, representatives from our team will ask environmental ministers and political leaders across snow leopard range countries to take the following actions:

  • Strengthen efforts to protect snow leopards and turn this iconic mountain species into the international symbol of climate resilience across the Earth’s Third Pole.
  • Implement climate-resilient livelihood and income development programs for local and indigenous communities linked to people’s well-being and conservation of snow leopards.
  • Strengthen disease and healthcare management in snow leopard habitats to minimize disease risks for people, livestock and wildlife.
  • Ensure that economic and infrastructure development in mountain ecosystems are sensitive to the needs of snow leopards and their habitat.

Thank you for answering the call to protect snow leopards and the people who live alongside them by signing and sharing the petition. Your voice matters for snow leopards and for humanity.

Thank you to the generous sponsors for supporting the 13th GSLEP Steering Committee Meeting.

Hosted by: Ministry of Ecology, Environment Protection and Climate Change, Government of Uzbekistan and the Secretariat of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program

Supported by: International Snow Leopard Trust, United Nations Environment Program, World Wildlife Fund, United States Agency for International Development, and Peace Nexus Foundation

Photo credit: Tashi R. Ghale

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