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UNESCO Programme To Protect Yading Reserve In Eastern Tibet

[WTN-L World Tibet Network News. Published by The Canada Tibet Committee. Issue ID: 2003/07/11; July 11, 2003.]

Tibet Bureau, Geneva
11 July 2003.

UNESCO adds 15 new sites to world network of biosphere reserves
http://portal.unesco.org/en/ev.php@URL_ID=13534&URL_DO=DO_TOPIC&URL_SECTION= 201.html

According to a UNESCO press release on 10 July 2003, Fifteen new sites in 10 countries have been added to UNESCO's World Network of Biosphere Reserves, including the first members of the network in Slovenia and Yemen. Three extensions to existing biosphere reserves have also been approved, reflecting on-going efforts to improve existing sites, illustrating the vitality of the network. The World Network of Biosphere Reserves now consists of 440 sites in 97 countries. The new biosphere reserves and extensions were approved by the Bureau of the International Co-ordinating Council of UNESCO's Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme at its meeting on July 8-11 at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris.

Biosphere Reserves are pilot sites, which perform three complementary functions: biodiversity conservation; development (integrating local communities) and logistic support (combining research, education, training and monitoring).

One of the new sites is Yading (Tib: Nyiting,Daba Dzong) in Eastern Tibet in present-day Sichuan province of the People's Republic of China. The UNESCO press statement described the region as a "part of the eastern extension of the Tibetan plateau ranging from 2,200m to 6,032m and comprises three sacred mountains. The area is not only noted for its high biological diversity, but also for its associated cultural values."

According to the UNESCO press release, the World Network of Biosphere Reserves is the main operational tool of the MAB Programme. Biosphere reserves are sites nominated by countries where the interdisciplinary MAB approach can be applied in actual situations. They also serve as sites for exploring and demonstrating approaches to sustainable development. The global network that they constitute covers a representative - and growing - sample of the major ecological regions and human use systems of the earth. The biosphere reserves approved this year demonstrate an increasing interest in using the biosphere reserve approach to reconcile conservation and development in coastal areas and archipelagoes, and in protecting cultural values dependant on the maintenance of certain traditional uses. There is also an increasing interest in transboundary biosphere reserves, which straddle national boundaries, as frameworks for joint efforts to manage and conserve shared ecosystems.

Additional information found about Yading at these websites:

1. Three years ago the Yading national park area was one of the true wilderness areas left in Kham Tibet. With its three 6000m sacred peaks (sanctified by the 5th Dalai Lama as manifestations of the bodhisattvas Chenrezi, Chenadorje and Jampayang), it combines stunning high altitude and remote natural beauty with a profound religiosity. Alas, once the Shangri-La tourism board happened upon this, they poured money into the northern gateway to the area, creating the usual tourist infrastructure along with an irritating ticket system. All is not lost however, and despite the initial frustration we felt at this intrusion into a previously unspoilt area, in fact in the end it has proved to be a blessing. On the one hand, the development is restricted to a very small corner of the area, and looks like if anything it will serve to keep the excesses of mass tourism constrained to that corner. On the other hand, to avoid the crowds, it has forced us to scout out 2 new routes, namely this one (006), and Gods & Mountains: Yading from the East (005). Whereby the latter is really just a reversal of an earlier route, this one takes the trek to another level, going deeper into the wilderness and climbing higher altitudes. The trek actually starts from a village north of Zhongdian, and climbs fast for the 9-day trek north, crossing some 4500m+ passes into the 3-peak sanctuary of Yading. More than its eastern-approach counterpart (005), this is a trek for experienced high altitude trekkers only. However for those who feel up to it, this is one of the most dramatic and beautiful treks we've ever offered. http://www.haiweitrails.com/006_gods_mountains_south.htm

2. TREKKING AT DACOHENG-YADING NATURE RESERVE http://www.tibet-tours.com/english/kham_amdo_trekking_daocheng_yading.htm

3. Day 7: http://www.biztravel.com/TRAVEL/SIT/sit_pages/8924.html

(D7-D12) Trekking across Yading Baoliudi to Lugu Lake- An entirely unique experience of the eastern Himalayas, this trek combines an awe-inspiring beauty with an ancient mystique in a wilderness experience like no other. At an altitude of 4-5000m, the trail wends its way round the three sacred peaks - Xiannairi (6032m) to the north, Yangmaiyong (5958) to the south, and Xiaruoduoji (5958m) to the east - passing though virgin forests, along valley floors and over spectacular passes before dropping down to Lugu Lake. Scattered throughout the region are the rough stupas, mani stone piles and temples that give testament to its long and isolated past. In Tibetan Buddhism, mountains such as these have a religious significance higher than the Dalai Lama or any monastery. It's not difficult to see why. Yading also has one of only seven 'Death Vallies' in Greater Tibet, along which departing souls make their final (or not so final) journey. Notes on trekking: Pack horses to carry all equipment. Despite the altitude and the dramatic scenery neither the hike nor the horse-riding is technical. Fully guided - all meals and equipment provided (not incl. sleeping bags).

4. Daocheng-Yading 8-day Tour http://www.chinawesttour.net/english/sc/you/qt9.htm

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