Gangtok, Jun 5 : "Let us cherish our biodiversity as common heritage and build a resilient society," Sikkim Chief Minister Prem Singh Tamang has said on Friday, greeting people on the occasion of World Environment Day. World Environment Day is celebrated on June 5 every year to raise awareness and encourage actions for protecting our environment with the involvement of more than 143 countries. This year, the theme for World Environment Day is biodiversity, "a concern that is both urgent and existential," in view of "the recent events, from bushfires in Brazil, the United States, and Australia to locust infestations across East Africa – and now, a global disease pandemic – demonstrate the interdependence of humans and the webs of life, in which they exist" the United Nations has said.
India is among the 18 biodiversity hotspots in the world and among the 12 mega diversity hotspots. Out of the 18 biodiversity hotspots--India owns two, namely the Western Ghats and the Eastern Himalayas. Sikkim covering just 0.2 % of the geographical area of the country has tremendous biodiversity and has been identified as one of the hotspots in the Eastern Himalayas. Sikkim has been a pioneer in biodiversity conservation.
Ecotourism initiatives began in Sikkim in the 1990s and it soon became one of the best ecotourism destinations in the Eastern Himalaya. Sikkim a biodiversity hotspot, is known for its rich biodiversity. However, like other mountain areas, Sikkim is faced with a number of serious issues that threaten the environment, biodiversity, and the livelihoods of its people. A recent assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has highlighted the threat to the Hindu Kush Himalaya region from global warming. Entire territory of 11 mountain states of India, including Sikkim, and Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts of West Bengal fall in this region.
"Glaciers are melting faster, flowering periods have advanced, rainfall has been erratic, and we are witnessing higher temperatures each year. As a result of climate change the frequency of natural disasters has increased," Chief Minister PS Tamang said in his message. "We are all in this together. Sikkim is a part of the greater Himalayan ecosystem with links to Bhutan in the east, Nepal in the west, and the state of West Bengal in the south. The common challenges need to be addressed through greater regional cooperation," he noted.
"I feel happy to see Sikkim as a partner of the landscape initiative in the Khangchendzonga complex," he continued, adding that the recent exchange of breeding yak bulls from Bhutan to Sikkim and Nepal and regional dialogue on large cardamom were good examples of regional cooperation which should be further strengthened. "It is revealing that this year’s World Environment Day reminds us that it’s time for nature. This is timely as the whole world is facing a pandemic and there is increasing evidence that this is a result of the degradation and unwise use of nature," he underscored. "On the occasion of the World Environment Day 2020, let us resolve to safeguard nature and double our efforts at building social-ecological resilience in Sikkim," he urged the people. "Once again my best wishes to everyone for a Happy World Environment Day!" the chief minister said concluding his message. (UNI)