Fauna & Flora International (FFI), a leading international conservation organization, and Kumtor Operating Company have launched a biodiversity project in Issyk-Kul province of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Memorandum of Understanding providing the framework for cooperation between FFI and Kumtor was signed in Bishkek in November 2012.
The proposed project builds on 10 years of collaboration between FFI and the Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve (SENR). Between 2002 and 2008 a number of environmental organizations worked closely with SENR to improve the capacity of the reserve and develop a detailed five-year Management Plan, which included measures to maintain the population of the snow leopard. The previous project was funded by the IFC, EBRD and Kumtor Company.
To build on this foundation, and further benefit biodiversity in the region, the SENR Management Plan will be updated in collaboration with all stakeholders, and then formalized at the national level. Activities contemplated in the Plan include scientific research, monitoring of fauna and flora and community outreach. FFI will also provide a series of training sessions for SENR staff and local communities and technical support for the implementation of the Plan. The initial 2012-2013 budget is approximately US $125,000, of which Kumtor will contribute US $70,000.
Michael Fischer, President of Kumtor Operating Company, stated, “Our Company attaches great attention to issues related to occupational safety and the environment. In compliance with the corporate social responsibility and sustainable development principles we will spare no efforts in promoting biodiversity conservation in the Kyrgyz Republic. We are developing our own Biodiversity Management Strategy and Plan which calls for expanded partnerships with local and international conservation organizations. The project we have started in collaboration with Fauna & Flora International is an important component of this work.”
“The growth of the wildlife population as observed in the area adjacent to the mine, which is home to the snow leopard, Marco Polo sheep, and other rare species, can be viewed as an indicator of the success of our environmental programs. I believe consolidated efforts of the Company and FFI will enable us to achieve more success”, – Michael Fischer said.
According to Jarkyn Samanchina, who represents FFI in the Kyrgyz Republic, “Fauna & Flora International is looking forward to continuing our work with protected areas in the Kyrgyz Republic. It is extremely important for us both to receive the Government’s support and to see active involvement of local experts and communities in the implementation of our conservation programs. Kumtor’s support for this the new project exemplifies a positive business approach to corporate social responsibility. The biodiversity conservation and management work in the Sarychat-Ertash Nature Reserve is of critical importance as the Reserve is one of the largest and unique in Kyrgyzstan”.
Founded in 1903, Fauna & Flora International (FFI) is the world’s longest established international conservation body. Operating in more than 40 countries worldwide – mainly in the developing world – FFI saves species from extinction and ecosystems from destruction while improving the livelihoods of local people. FFI chooses solutions that are sustainable, based on sound science and take account of human needs. The Kyrgyz State Agency of Environmental Protection recognized FFI’s activities by awarding it with Honorary Diplomas in recognition of its conservation initiatives and achievements in Kyrgyzstan.
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