China doubles down on claims on eastern Bhutan boundary
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.