Past Projects


PRACTICAL INNOVATIONS FOR INCLUSIVE CONSERVATION AND SUSTAINABLE LIVELIHOODS The project "Practical Innovations for Inclusive Conservation and Sustainable Livelihoods" has been supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) for a three-year period (2007-2009). In line with IUCN Nepal Programme Framework and SDC priorities, the project aims at addressing social inequity, rural poverty, weak governance and economic disincentives as the major root causes as well as building on opportunities for biodiversity conservation. There are three components to the project, one focusing on Benefit Sharing for sustainable NTFP/MAP management in Doti district of Far West Nepal and the other on Landscape Governance in Ilam Siwaliks and Tinjure-Milke-Jaljare area of Eastern Nepal. Each focuses on a different ecosystem: forest (Benefit Sharing component) and freshwater (Landscape Governance component); and each links the different thematic priority areas of IUCN programme. Details of the three project components are as under:

Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (MAPs) and Non Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) significantly contribute in rural livelihoods particularly to households dependent on common natural resources. With the recent boom in promotion of NTFPs, unsustainable harvesting, habitat loss and inadequate attention to promote MAPs and NTFPs in community forestry have posed serious adverse impacts on availability and productivity of selected traded species. Gaps in technical skills relating to sustainable harvesting, in-situ and ex-situ conservation, processing and value addition; inadequate capacities for collective efforts in management and marketing have further limited the possibilities of reversing the trend and ensuring continued supply of these resources to local people. Existing policies, governance and practices do not ensure equitable access and benefit sharing for weaker segments of society; particularly poor and socially excluded households and women.

In the previous SDC funded phase, the IUCN MAPs/NTFPs Project worked through numerous MAPs/NTFP groups of the respective CFUGs and made satisfactory achievements in areas of in-situ and ex-situ conservation. In order to ensure legal security, the MAPs and NTFPs groups institutionalized provisions in respective CFUG’s statutes. While some of the groups have acquired capacities (technical and institutional) for conservation, sustainable harvesting, processing and value addition, development of a market-oriented approach still needs further learning and assistance. Building on the lessons of IUCN, SDC’s Nepal Swiss Community Forestry Project and other organizations/projects, the technical and social skills of the people at the project site will be further refined in an action learning approach. Relevant policies will be influenced and governance systems improved, fair prices and marketing promoted and access to information improved. This project, as stated below, is focused on increasing the economic benefits from NTFP/MAPs to women, poor and socially excluded households and is implemented in Doti district.

Non TimberForest Products (NTFP) Conservation Project, Far WestNepal
The conservation and sustainable use of medicinal plants and other NTFPs project focuses on fostering local institutions and enabling local communities to sustainably conserve forests through in-situ and ex-situ conservation and by promoting cultivation of NTFPs and medicinal and aromatic plants in Doti District. IUCN works in 10 village development committees of Doti district through NTFP user groups, women’s groups and traders and has helped establish nurseries and demonstration sites, supported income generation and strengthened the tenure rights especially for the poor and landless.

Half of the country's protected areas include settlements and farmlands, and most national parks are adjacent to areas with high populations. Therefore, the Nepal Biodiversity Strategy (2001) identified landscape level conservation as a major strategic direction for biodiversity conservation in Nepal. Landscape biodiversity conservation initiatives have been envisioned that extend far beyond the periphery of parks and will create networks of protected areas, conserving the core and corridor habitats required for the long-term survival of biodiversity. It is a holistic approach and promotes people-led integrated natural resource conservation. Landscape level conservation creates avenue for integrating endeavour for biodiversity conservation and improving livelihoods of the people.

The implementation of equitable and effective approaches for the management of landscapes faces a number of major challenges. In particular, certain forms of governance structures and processes will be required to address major issues such as inclusion, transparency and especially the equitable sharing of cost and benefits. Therefore, local organizations need to be supported in strengthening their governance systems and in mobilizing human and financial resources. In previous years, IUCN Nepal has contributed to the design and implementation of several interventions for conserving critical Churia ecosystems in Ilam as well as conserving rhododendron and its habitat in the TMJ areas.

Building on best practices and acquiring knowledge from experiences of other organisations and projects working in similar field conservation initiatives will be further consolidated in these two sites following a landscape approach. The main focus of this phase will be on the governance aspects of landscape management. Principles of good governance such as representation, transparency, accountability and the rule of law will be mainstreamed into participating local organizations, institutions and dialogue platforms. Issues of gender, ethnicity, minority and cultures will be adequately addressed at all stages of interventions from conservation planning, decision making, implementation and benefit sharing. The two projects under this component are:

Tinjure Milke Jaljale (TMJ), North East Nepal
The community conservation of rhododendron project in Tinjure-Milke-Jaljale area of north-east Nepal has been implemented in 23 village development committees of three districts (Taplejung, Terthathum and Sankhuwasabha) which aims at facilitating community management of this area that includes the largest diversity of rhododendron species in Nepal. IUCN works with a local NGO and various community-based organizations and networks on activities such as reducing fuel wood use through the use of improved cooking stoves and reducing acute dependence on forest resources through green income generating activities like eco-tourism, bee-keeping, and NTFP conservation.

Ilam Siwaliks, South East Nepal
The collaborative conservation of critical ecosystem in Ilam Siwaliks, implemented in six village development committees of Ilam district, aims to conserve the ecosystem functions and biodiversity of the fragile Siwaliks zone in Ilam District. IUCN works with a network of Community Forest User Groups, an Apex Body of Women’s Groups and Flood Control Committees (FCC) to halt the ecological degradation of the area whole supporting local livelihoods. The conservation work has centred on building the capacity of local bodies to undertake better forest and watershed management and promoting green income generation and alternative energy technologies.

IUCN Nepal is implementing its projects in an uncertain working environment. In order to remain relevant and effective, IUCN should be able to adapt the IUCN Programme in the timely manner to address emerging project needs related to knowledge (e.g. required research, case studies, learning documents), practice (e.g. complementing field activities, support of local partners) and policy  (e.g. advocacy activities, policy enforcement). Therefore, the third component of the project is focused on the sustainability of the IUCN Programme and the organization as a whole. 

The outcome of the Emerging Initiative component is that IUCN Nepal is strengthened to address emerging programme needs related to knowledge generation, field practice and policy support.


The conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in Nepal (CoSUWeN) project is first of its kind to undertake a combination of building institutional capacity, enhancing collaborative management of wetland resources, linking practice into policy, and pilot interventions by addressing a range of ecological, economic and social challenges in two of Nepal's four Ramsar sites - Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Ghodaghodi Lake Complex. Led by the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, the project is a joint initiative between the Government of Nepal, Global Environmental Facility/UNDP Nepal and IUCN Nepal. The new US$ 4 million project promotes an ecosystem approach to wetland management in Nepal, with appropriate capacity building, legal and policy strengthening, and mainstreaming of biodiversity within production systems.

The project’s goal is to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of wetland biodiversity and environmental goods and services for improved local livelihoods in Nepal. Aimed at creating sustainable livelihoods, the project focuses on integrating biodiversity conservation within national development and conservation planning frameworks, strengthening institutional capacity and increasing awareness, as well as developing appropriate partnerships between agencies and with local communities and private enterprises to support improved management and sustainable use of wetlands products and services.

Since 1997, IUCN Nepal has been working to raise awareness and contribute to the compliance of Ramsar Convention through many initiatives. The informal wetland group facilitated by IUCN has made significant contributions in dealing with sustainable and wise use of wetland issues, implementation of Ramsar Convention and preparation of the National Wetland Policy, 2003.


The project “Environmental justice in the rural and natural resource context in South Asia” contributes to filling the gaps identified by the SOAS and Forest Trends studies, and builds on the conclusions of the PANOS workshop by developing the rural, natural resource context of the concept of environmental justice in Nepal, India and Sri Lanka.

The long-term goal of this initiative supported by Ford Foundation is to see the natural resource context accepted and integrated into the concept of environmental justice at global, regional, and national levels and effectively used to improve rural livelihood security at the community level. Its immediate objectives are to:

  • identify the relationships between resource rights, environmental justice in the rural context, and livelihood security;
  • propose South Asia-specific strategies for using the concept of environmental justice in the natural resource context to promote rural livelihood security; and
  • contribute to the evolution of the concept of environmental security by developing the “Southern” perspective of its rural, natural resource aspects.

To hear for the radio programme on Environmental Justice which had been aired through Koshi FM, Biratnagar, Nepal. The information has divided into six episodes. Each episode is about 15 minutes long.


The project on rhino conservation aims to develop a sustainable long-term conservation programme for the conservation of endangered one-horned Asian rhinoceros and associated Terai grassland habitat in Nepal. The project focuses on three protected areas of Nepal’s Terai – Chitwan and Bardia National Parks, and Suklaphanta Wildlife Reserve. It envisages to strengthen and increase the capacity (particularly monitoring and surveillance of rhino and in anti-poaching) of Nepal’s existing wildlife department officials, rangers and communities across the network of protected areas; strengthen meta population approach; and facilitate improved governance of rhino conservation, improved public engagement and integration of politicians, stakeholders and local communities in conservation efforts and decision-making.

The three-year project is jointly implemented by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, and National Trust for Nature Conservation with the support of IUCN Nepal and WWF Nepal program. IUCN Nepal’s involvement in the project is to support the policy, community and trans-boundary communication and dialogue initiatives through its considerable neutral and convening power. In doing so, the focus is on generating conservation education and awareness at all levels through policy advocacy and outreach initiatives, and "Save Rhino" programme.


The project aims at mainstreaming environmental rights and sustainable development principles that represent the interests of all Nepali citizens, with particular attention to those of women, poor and marginalized people into the new constitution of Nepal. The project—supported by UNEP—is being implemented by IUCN Nepal for a period of one year.

To meet its objective, IUCN Nepal jointly with National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC), WWF Nepal and International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), will conduct scoping visits, organise multi-stakeholder consultations to review the draft constitutional provisions, and finalize the constitutional provisions on environmental rights. In addition to IUCN, UNEP is also collaborating with ICIMOD, NTNC and WWF Nepal in priority areas such as post-conflict assessment and Bagmati River conservation.

As the premier global conservation organisation with a constituency that includes both governments and private parties, IUCN has taken initiatives in developing international legal instruments and assisted different countries in enshrining right to healthy environment in their constitution and also developing environmental legislation. Earlier, IUCN Nepal had assisted the Constitution Recommendation Committee in 1990 when the Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal was being drafted. It was mainly because of IUCN’s proactive initiative environment related provisions were included in the Constitution of 1990, albeit in the Directive Principles and State Policies. It also provided valuable suggestions to the Interim Constitution Drafting Committee in late 2006.


This project aims to demonstrate the economic value of Churia ecosystem in Nepal by providing information and rationale for ecosystem management, options and support to decision-making in watershed management. The study shows the relative costs and benefits of current management actions for different stakeholders, and points to the tools that can help to overcome current financial and economic constraints to conservation that can be used to strengthen the Churia management in future.

Churia region contributes significantly to the livelihoods of the local communities through the provision of key ecosystem goods and services. However, the region faces unprecedented threats, the most intense of which are economic and financial in origin. The study consists of four case study sites representing East, Mid and Western part of Churia, and accounts for key goods and services that are of direct and immediate relevance to local communities. A joint project of IUCN Nepal, WWF and CARE Nepal, the study is expected to support decision-makers with information on economic importance of the region, and the possibility of innovative approaches to generate conservation finance. 


  • A close shot of medicinal plant Timur (zanthoxylum arnatum).

    A close shot of medicinal plant Timur (zanthoxylum arnatum).

    Photo: Giridhar Amatya, IUCN Nepal

  • A close shot of medicinal plant Yarsa Gomba (cordyceps sinensis)

    A close shot of medicinal plant Yarsa Gomba (cordyceps sinensis)

    Photo: Giridhar Amatya, IUCN Nepal

  • Member of the Dalit community harvesting rice in Chulachuli VDC, Ilam Siwaliks.

    Member of the Dalit community harvesting rice in Chulachuli VDC, Ilam Siwaliks.

    Photo: Deependra Joshi, IUCN Nepal

  • National flower, rhododendron flower's tree

    National flower, rhododendron flower's tree

    Photo: Kamal Maden

  • Ghodaghodi Lake, Ramsar Site.

    Ghodaghodi Lake, Ramsar Site.

    Photo: Giridhar Amatya, IUCN Nepal