Climate Action

LET’S DISCUSS: UNEP Vanishing Treasures

vanishing treasures

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) introduced Vanishing Treasures in 2018. What is their initiative? What work do they carry out? And what do they hope to achieve? We explore their programme below...

What is the Vanishing Treasures Initiative? 

The €9 million vanishing treasures initiative was introduced in 2018 by UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme) and the Government of Luxembourg, expected to last four years targeting mountain regions to improve and maintain their ecosystems, protect flagship species, train wildlife managers in specific conservation practices and improve communications between climate research and biodiversity conservationists. 

Which mountain regions does the programme target? 

Central Asia (Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan), Bhutan, and the Virungas (Rwanda/Uganda), which are home to endangered species such as the Snow Leopard, Royal Bengal Tiger, and Mountain Gorilla.  By learning how best to protect these species, the programme hopes to find broader solutions in protecting surrounding areas and inclusive fauna and flora. 

How is the programme driving change? 

The teams are establishing a ground-breaking, solid knowledge base on the impact of climate change in mountain areas and on key mountain species, as well as on local communities living closely to mountain habitats.  In the next phase, the initiative will work ‘hand-in-hand’ with authorities, communities and governments to integrate climate action into local conservation policy, establish connectivity in mountain habitats and pilot community-based ecosystem solutions for resilience to climate change.  The initiatve is also exploring how to reduce conflict between wildlife and humans that live side-by-side in the mountain regions. 

What are the facts? 

  • Approximately 16% of the human global population now live in mountain regions that have historically been inaccessible and protected from human intervention.  
  • Global temperatures have risen by 0.7oC since 1980, but the increase is greater felt in mountain regions. 
  • There are as few as 4000 Snow Leopards left in the wild due to deforestation, conflict with humans and the impact of climate change. 
  • There are approximately 2500 Royal Bengal Tigers left in the wild. 
  • Mountain Gorilla numbers are increasing, and currently reported to be around 1004. This is due to focused initiatives and programmes in improving their conservation and protection of the species. 


Visit the Vanishing Treasures website here to learn more about their work and follow their progress!  

Posted by Claire Edwards 29 October 2020

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