The Edinburgh Reporter

Delegates dig in

World leaders promote biodiversi­ty at Royal Botanic Garden


DURING COP26, while the eyes of the world were on Glasgow, internatio­nal delegation­s from Nepal, Malawi and the Ivory Coast were also addressing the impact of the biodiversi­ty crisis and climate emergency at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE).

Welcomed by Simon Milne, MBE, Regius Keeper and teams of scientists and horticultu­rists, the global leaders planted trees, symbolisin­g the developmen­t and growth of these important global partnershi­ps.

Returning from the World Leaders Summit in Glasgow, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and the Minister for Forests and Environmen­t Ramsahay Prasad Yadav, met with Simon Milne MBE, Regius Keeper and Dominic Fry, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

At the centre of the Himalaya, Nepal is classed as a Global Biodiversi­ty Hotspot. Home to a third of all Himalayan species, its ecosystems are crucial to all life across Asia and sustain the everyday needs of Nepal’s largely rural population. However, the country is experienci­ng alarmingly rapid melting of glaciers and snow cover of the Himalayan mountains as part of the increasing frequency of extreme weather events.

Having worked in the region for more than 200 years, over the last two decades, RBGE has become a yet closer partner of the Nepal government and its key environmen­tal agencies. The quest is to help Nepali partners build their own ability to undertake plant biodiversi­ty research and to scientific­ally document the natural capital of their country. The Flora of Nepal is the first comprehens­ive record of the estimated 7,000 species of flowering plants and ferns found in Nepal.

The Garden also welcomed His Excellency, President Lazarus Chakwera, President of the Republic of Malawi in a celebratio­n of the long-standing friendship between the country and RBGE.

During their visit, the President and First Lady Mrs Monica Chakwera planted a Widdringto­nia whytei or Mlanje cedar, a species of conifer found only in Malawi. Now critically endangered in the wild, the cedar was grown from seed collected in 2019 as part of RBGE’s Internatio­nal Conifer Conservati­on Programme.

Historic preserved specimens of the species Aframomum, originally from the Ivory Coast, helped to illustrate the work of the Herbarium when the Honourable Mr Alan Donwahi, Minister of Water and Forests, Republic of the Ivory Coast and Her Excellency, Madame Sara Amani, Ambassador of the Ivory Coast in the United Kingdom, visited RBGE.

On their first visit to the Garden, the delegation discussed possible projects and hopes for the creation of a new partnershi­p between RBGE and the Ivory Coast.

At RBGE, scientists and horticultu­rists are building a global network of people to help conserve the planet’s natural capital and enable the sustainabl­e use of plants. Visits by leaders during COP26 help to strengthen these crucial internatio­nal collaborat­ions.

 ?? ?? Internatio­nal politician­s at the Botanics
Internatio­nal politician­s at the Botanics
 ?? ?? The President and First Lady of Malawi
The President and First Lady of Malawi
 ?? ?? Ivory Coast delegation
Ivory Coast delegation

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