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World Tibet Network News

Published by the Canada Tibet Committee

Friday, July 11, 2003


Tibet Bureau, Geneva
11 July 2003

UNESCO adds 15 new sites to world network of biosphere reserves

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.


3. Day 7:

(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

Articles in this Issue:
  1. Top of His Game
  2. TYC drama competition focuses on present Tibetan tragedy
  3. 17 perish in Tibetan landslide
  4. Peruvian first lady calls on Dalai Lama
  5. The first lady of Peru in Dharamsala
  6. Planning Commission formally launched

Other articles this month - WTN Index - Mail the WTN-Editors

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