The conservation and sustainable use of wetlands in Nepal project officially kicked-off today through an inception workshop. The 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 Ramar sites - Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Ghodaghodi Lake Complex.
Chairperson of the workshop, Mr. Tirtha Raj Sharma, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, said that Nepal's commitment to wetland conservation has been reflected through the inception of the project which aims at creating sustainable livelihoods, strengthening institutional capacity and increasing awareness, as well as developing appropriate partnerships at the central and local levels to support improved management and sustainable use of wetlands products and services.
Applauding the start of the unique partnership project, Mr. Narayan Belbase, Acting Country Representative of IUCN Nepal, expressed his confidence that the project will demonstrate pragmatic solutions for the conservation and sustainable use of wetland resources in Nepal.
"As new issues emerge, we combine the available knowledge from our networks of experts, members and partners, in creating sustainable solutions in policy and practice. The result is the dissemination of relevant knowledge and experience to advise the wider conservation and development community. It leads to policies, agreements and practices that allow healthy ecosystems to contribute to local economy, human well-being and the sustainable use of our wetland resources", Mr. Belbase added.
Amongst others, Mr. Ananda Raj Pokharel, joint secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Dr. Sultana Bashir, GEF Technical Advisor, Dr. Bishnu Bhandari, Chief Technical Advisor of the project, and Mr. Vijay P. Singh, Assistant Resident Representative, UNDP Nepal, highlighted the significance of the project dwelling on the project implementation mechanisms.
The five-year project is a joint undertaking of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation of the Government of Nepal, Global Environment Facility (GEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and IUCN Nepal.
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 contribution in dealing with sustainable and wise use of wetland issues, implementation of Ramsar Convention and preparation of the National Wetland Policy, 2003.