China doubles down on claims on eastern Bhutan boundary   

GS#3 DEFENSE 

Background: 

Beijing had made this claim while objecting to a request to develop the Sakteng wildlife sanctuary in eastern Bhutan’s Trashigang district at an online meeting of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). 

Bhutan-China Border Dispute

  • Bhutan and China have border disputes dating back to 1984. But they were limited to North Bhutan  and West Bhutan. 
  • It is the first time China is making a claim to East Bhutan, more precisely Sakteng was never a part of the exising disputes.

Sakteng Wildlife Sanctuary : 

  • Wildlife sanctuary located mostly in Trashigang District and just crossing the border into Samdrup Jongkhar District, Bhutan. 
  • It is one of the country's protected areas. It is listed as a tentative site in Bhutan's Tentative List for UNESCO inclusion.
  • The sanctuary is of easternmost temperate ecosystems and landscape
  • It is part of the Eastern Himalayan subalpine conifer forests ecoregion. 
  • It protects several endemic species including the eastern blue pine and the black-rumped magpie.
  • Important rivers: Manas Chu, Bada Chu and Dhansiri Chu.

What is GEF? 

  • Global Environment Facility (GEF) is a multilateral financial mechanism that provides grants to developing countries for projects that benefit global environment and promote sustainable livelihoods in local communities.
  • Based in Washington DC, USA, GEF was established during the Rio Earth Summit of 1992.
  • GEF is managed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Bank and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • With 183 member countries, and alliances with civil society organizations, the purpose of addressing the environmental issues across the globe.

GEF also serves as a financial mechanism for the following conventions:

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNECCC).
  • UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
  • Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs).
  • Minamata Convention on Mercury.

 

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