A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is signed between the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) and International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Nepal for enhancing biodiversity and sustainable livelihoods through the promotion of renewable energy technologies in the protected areas of Nepal.
The MoU was signed by Executive Director of AEPC, Prof. Dr. Govinda Raj Pokharel and Country Representative of IUCN Nepal Dr. Yam Malla on behalf of their respective institutions.
The main objective of the memorandum is to work together in expanding the AEPC and IUCN’s services to Nepal’s protected areas to support the conservation of biodiversity and enhance ecosystem services and local livelihoods through the promotion of renewable energy technologies. The MoU also aims to reduce local communities’ dependence on forests for traditional energy sources such as firewood and reduce carbon emission by reducing firewood consumption and providing alternative renewable energy options especially of the protected areas. It will also help to enhance livelihoods of local communities through support to existing and new income generating activities through use of renewable energy and improve the biodiversity status of the nation’s protected areas through promotion and increased use of renewable energy technologies by the identified communities and households,
Energy is one of the vital inputs to livelihood and pre-requisites for socio-economic development of Nepal. Over 85% of the rural population still depends on firewood for their basic energy needs such as cooking and heating. This has resulted in reduced forest cover, increased carbon emission and induced health hazards among the vulnerable groups of Nepalese society, especially the children and women. Government of Nepal has established 20 Protected Areas including ten national parks, three wildlife reserves, six conservation areas and one hunting reserve covering around 23.23% of the total land area of Nepal. In particular, there are buffer zones around 12 national parks and forest reserves. Out of 118 ecosystems identified in different physiographic zones in Nepal, 80 ecosystems are represented in the protected areas. Around 10 lakhs people are reported to live in and around the protected areas and directly depending on the forest and other natural resources for livelihood.
In these circumstances, this understanding will create long term programme partnership which will contribute to the overall national goal of poverty reduction and economic development through promotion of renewable energy technologies in and around the Protected Areas of Nepal.