25 August 2017

This week, the leaders of the 12 snow leopard range countries, international organizations, researchers, private sector, and civil society organizations gathered in Bishkek under the invitation of the President of Kyrgyz Republic to reaffirm collective commitment to conserve the majestic snow leopard and its habitat.

The GEF Small Grants Programme (SGP) at UNDP has been a key partner for the implementation of the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection Program (GSLEP), which was launched after all snow leopard range countries unanimously adopted the Bishkek Declaration for Snow Leopard Conservation in 2013.

                      Yoko at Snow leopard forum       International Snow Leopard Forum

The SGP is active and has supported snow leopard conservation and high-mountain ecosystems in 11 range countries, including Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Nepal, Mongolia, Pakistan. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. SGP has supported over 20 community-based demonstration projects on habitat loss, livelihoods, and human-wildlife conflict in high altitude pastures.

Through these projects, we are working with governments and partners to strengthen:

  • community based conservation and co-management;
  • standardized wildlife and habitat monitoring;
  • anti-poaching and anti-trafficking initiatives;
  • institutional capacity building and policy development; and
  • transboundary cooperation and information sharing.

Promoting snow leopard conservation serves a broader purpose than simply saving one magnificent, endangered species - snow leopard habitats are part of larger ecosystems that provide water, pasture, soil, wildlife, and culture.

Keshav Varma CEO of Global Tiger and Snow Leopard Initiative with YokoAs part of the International Snow Leopard Forum this week in Bishkek, Yoko Watanabe, SGP's Global Manager, made an Opening Remark and Co-Chaired key sessions. SGP has been a proud partner working with Kyrgyz Republic and range countries in advancing the conservation of Snow Leopards and its landscapes for the past years. Yoko thanked the strong partnership, particularly on many successful SGP's community-based projects in the 11 range countries in the region. She also highlighted the key role and involvement of women, youth, and indigenous peoples in these projects.

Working closely with local communities and indigenous peoples, particularly the pastoralists in the remote mountainous habitats, were recognized as essential element in addressing Snow Leopard conservation by the President of Kyrgyz Republic, Assistant Secretary General of UNDP, and all leaders from the range countries and international organizations, including GEF.

SGP, together with partners, will be further strengthening related initiatives to conserve the magnificent cats in the high altitude mountains and landscapes.

See below the message from Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator on the ocassion of the forum.



See  below the message from the UN Secretary General, Antonio Gutierres.


1. Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager of the Small Grants Programme making opening remark at the Science Forum                      

2. Almazbek Atambaek, President of Kyrgyz Republic opeining remarks

3. Yoko Watanabe, Global Manager of the GEF Small Grants Programme with Keshav Varma, CEO of Global Tiger and Snow Leopard Initiative