GIANT Plant Conservation CON!

The reason I have felt obliged to attempt, a second time, to establish my 'Where have all the Flowers gone?' Project, is the failings of the current system. The world is being tricked into believing that meaningful measures are being taken to attempt to conserve (its is never 'preserve') the world's rare plants - and this applies both the developing countries like India, custodians of most of the NW Himalaya and some of the Eastern Himalaya but even the UK.

I am not impressed with the assorted charities which exist in this 'sector' nor the conduct of the major botanic gardens (in the UK at least). Some represent complete fraud, part of the giant con which is being perpetrated with senior academic figures being ill-informed and extraordinarily gullible (perhaps worse...).  The same applies to senior figures and celebrities (including top BBC figures), who ignorantly endorse these dodgy charities, their blessing leading to initially tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, up to millions being procured by 'slight of hand'.  I have proof but of course, hardly anyone wishes to listen.  IF I do expose one particular name, I am not going to be popular.  Being a whistle-blower has never been comfortable.

What funds (at times not inconsiderable) that are available to plant conservation are largely being wasted - just as happened to the European Union-funded 'Cultivation of Medicinal Plants for Traditional Medicine Project'. The whole premise of the project was flawed due to the involvement of people who knew little about the subject.  Perhaps it is the intention to merely produce reports in report-speak and not actually do anything or require the officials or governments of the countries involved to actually do anything.  I spoke with a representative of 'The World Bank' which considered Bhutan the least-corrupt country in the world - yet the project was destined to fail, which suited the Bhutanese, as they had insufficient trained manpower or resources to meet the 10% commitment to the costs.  Bhutan had become spoilt by countries falling over themselves to help its development (and as an individual consultant, where would you rather work, delightful, traditional, safe Bhutan, than a war-zone or a place with major health risks), expecting every source of support to be in a position to be as generous as the likes of DANIDA (see: http://pakistan.um.dk/en/danida-en/).

It is disheartening that so many projects fail or the only thing they have to show afterwards, is a building of limited use or other items which sound good on paper.  When I judged that one expensive item within the original plant, with a budget of purchase and transport from UK to Bhutan running to £30,000 (this was 25 years ago) was a waste of money and suggested the funds could be put to much better use, I was not popular...  I also, in my innocence, sacrilegiously' recommended, not throwing away too much money in the first year, was again stamped down, since if money was not spent in a particular financial year, it would not only not be made available the next, but be removed with budgets adjusted lower the next!  Madness but I was beginning to learn lessons.

Let me give some specific examples:

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