Without trans-border management endangered species in the Tumen Region face extinction
The Tumen Region is host to a range of unique but threatened environmental resources that are of regional and, in some cases, global significance. They include the Tumen River and its tributary system, as well as coastal wetlands and offshore areas such as Peter the Great Bay. The region's fragile ecosystems include steppe and temperate forests that are habitats of the endangered Siberian tiger, the Far Eastern leopard, the Mongolian gazelle and several species of crane, to name just a few.
Economic development in the Tumen Region is starting to impact on these unique resources, and further commercialisation has the potential to worsen significantly the pollution of international waters and degradation of the region's biodiversity. Main threats are from the unsustainable exploitation of natural resources such as timber and fossil fuels, new transport and communication lines that cut across the habitats of endangered species, and environmentally damaging construction. Population growth and urbanisation are increasing the demand for water, food, energy and construction materials, and could result in the loss of wetlands because of lower water tables and changing land use patterns.
Environmental degradation not only results in the loss of environmental assets of regional and global significance, but can also lead to the eventual destruction of important sources of income and growth, such as tourism, if they are not managed in a sustainable and environmentally responsible manner.
The UNDP/GEF Tumen River Strategic Action Programme has been set up specifically to ensure the preservation and protection of the regionís unique environmental assets for future generations, while at the same time allowing for the ecologically sustainable economic development of the area.
The two-year, US$ 5 million project aims to strengthen the capacity of the participating countries to manage regionally and globally important environmental resources in the Tumen Region.
Specifically, the project will prepare a Transboundary Diagnostic Analysis (TDA), a Strategic Action Programme (SAP) and the capacity to implement the SAP.
The SAP will provide the common framework for identification and formulation of strategies, programmes and projects responding primarily to transboundary issues of environmental management.
A strong participatory approach is enshrined in all facets of the projects, and grassroots awareness building and training activities are integral parts of all project components.
The project complements national environmental management efforts by the Tumen Programme member countries and is consistent with the Memorandum of Understanding on Environmental Principles signed by the member countries in December 1995.
The UNDP/GEF Project Coordination Unit is co-located with the Tumen Secretariat in Beijing. For further information, please visit www.TumenNET.org
The Global Environment Facility is an international fund created in 1991 to assist with the implementation of international conventions on climate change and biodiversity. 142 countries currently participate in GEF. For further information, please visit the GEF website: www.gefweb.org