The Gran Paradiso National Park, after accruing an intense experience with respect to cross-border collaboration, opened a dialogue in recent years with other mountain parks, in the wake of the process started in Rio de Janeiro and then re-launched in Johannesburg.
In particular, the participation in the Mountain partnership paves the way for new perspectives and new approaches towards cooperation and dialogue between partners interested in the sustainable development of mountain areas and, more important, between parks.
On 10 October 2006 representatives of Nepal Government, Ministries and environmental institutions together with delegates from the Gran Paradiso National Park and Italian institutions adopted, after two days of working meetings, started the “Cogne Declaration” in Turin.
The declaration establishes principles, criteria and areas of the partnership that will be started between the Gran Paradiso National Park and the Sagharmatha National Park on biodiversity, natural and cultural resources and sustainable development.
This partnership is part of the Mountain Partnership that was launched by the 2002 UN Declaration in Johannesburg.
The Sagarmatha National Park
The Sagarmatha National Park, established in 1976, is a site in the Khumbu region, Nepal. Its area is 1148 sq km, and it was set up to include the highest world peak, Mount Everest (8,848 m) and to protect the unique landscape of the Himalayan mountains. 4 out of the 14 mountains higher than eight thousand meters are included in the protected area.
The Park is known among alpinists and hikers: a combination of natural beauty and local culture Sherpa make it the favourite destination for those visiting Nepal. UNESCO has recognised the Park as World Heritage site right for its characteristic natural landscape.
The Park is for 69% above timberline; forests constitute only 3%, while the remaining 28% is covered by pastures. The birch trees and arboreal rhododendron reach 4,500 metres of altitude and then make room for rocks and ice. Endemic plant species are 11.
Due to its high average altitude and harsh climate the Park is relatively poor in mammals. However the species that live there are important and endangered: among them the Snow Leopard, musk deer, Himalayan black bear, Wolf and Goral. The most common wild specimen is the Tahr. Ben 199 species of birds recorded in the Park.
About 3,500 ethnic Sherpa people reside in the villages of the Park. The Sherpas occupied the Khumbu Valley about 600 years ago and have inherited a rich and distinctive culture. Their economy is based on farming, herding and trade with Tibet. Since 1950 the alpine expeditions and trekking tourism are strongly increased giving the opportunity to Sherpa to live of tourism, even if the presence of about 20000tourists per year have caused pollution and waste disposal problems.
At Buddhist monasteries held meetings to celebrate religious holidays. Marriage rituals and funeral Sherpa are unique. The sacred words "Om mani padme hum" are often engraved on stones, on rocks and pebbles. As a sign of respect, monasteries and Mani rocks are route clockwise.
The mountain partnership
The Mountain Partnership is a voluntary alliance of partners that aims at improving life of mountain people and protecting the mountain environments in the world.
Launched during the World Summit for the Sustainable Development in 2002, the Mountain Partnership provides richness and diversity of resources, informations, knowledge and its members experience, in order to sustain improvements in the mountain areas.
For more informations: Sagarmatha National Park