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No Mountain Too High? Assessing the Trans-Territoriality of the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation Initiative

  • Vivekanandan, J.

Regional efforts to preserve mountain landscapes that account for half of the world?s biodiversity hotspots raise pertinent questions for existing statist discourses and practices of territoriality. The paper focuses on the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KSLCDI), a transboundary Himalayan collaboration involving China, India and Nepal that seeks to conserve an area of shared cultural heritage and rich biodiversity. The UNEP-supported initiative, aimed at integrating regional, national and local actors redefines the role of the state from policy control to policy coordination. This prompts three key questions that the paper seeks to investigate. Firstly, how will states and sub-state actors negotiate divergent interests and approaches to natural resource management? Secondly, to what extent can spatiality be read with citizenship within the framework of transboundary conservation? Thirdly, what are the prospects for cross-border initiatives to reconcile conservation strategies devised at the national and regional levels with indigenous value systems, which have traditionally regulated local resource use? The paper is an enquiry into the Initiative?s potential to redefine the spatial and operational remits of state capacity and its implications for mountain governance.

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