«His Majesty's Government Ministry of Population and Environment Kathmandu, Nepal June 2000 Ministry of Population and Environment 1 State of the ...»
9881.6 million in 1998 and its contribution to GDP is 3.5 per cent (MOF, 1999). In order to enhance the image of Nepal as a tourist destination, Nepal prepared and implemented a Plan of Action under the theme "A Sustainable Habitat Through Sustainable Tourism" and " A World of its Own". The Visit Nepal '98 was regarded as an event of national significance, with the target of increasing the tourist number from 363,000 to 500,000; lengthening the average duration of stay from 11.3 nights to 12 nights; and enhancing the average spending per visitor from US$ 42 in 1995 to US$ 50 in 1998. Emphasis was given to improving the quality of current tourism products, developing eco-friendly value-based tourism products, and promoting domestic tourism (MOTCA, 1997).
Along with tourism development, a few environmental issues have emerged, particularly in the trekking areas. Demand of more firewood for heating and cooking purposes for the tourists and their support staff has accelerated forest degradation in areas where regeneration potential is very low. For example, over 10 support staff is required for a mountaineer.
It is natural that they require more firewood for cooking and heating purposes. Although, HMG has introduced a mechanism to use the kerosene as an alternative energy, there is still a practice to use the firewood by the supporting staff. Furthermore, development of new forests through plantation requires long time. Trekking activities have increased the disposal of non-degradable items in the mountains. Thus, waste disposal and management issues are also on the increase. The Annapurna, Everest and Langtang areas are facing the problems of plastic, glass, foil, and batteries (ICIMOD and CRT, 1997). An estimation indicates that about 15 tons of waste remain to be gathered from the Mt. Everest Base Camp area (Warmer, 1996). Recently, Wilderness Annapurna -1999 collected about 1.5 tones of trash from the Annapurna area.
In view of the success of the Visit Year 1998, HMG has planned to celebrate the year 2002 as Destination Nepal for the promotion of tourism development.
In sum, Nepal is rich with well-known cultural heritages. Eight cultural sites are enlisted in the World Heritage List. Various monuments and cultural sites are managed by community-based organisations. However, owing to fast social transition, the traditional management systems have been eroding. Indigenous skills are being replaced and the quality of cultural sites is fast degrading.
Despite tourism being a major source of foreign exchange earnings, enough priority has not been awarded to environmental issues which have arisen due to unregulated tourism activities and inadequate waste management facilities in the mountain areas.
2.12 Environmental Awareness and Communication HMG recently introduced formal environment education at primary and secondary levels, and has plans to introduce it at the tertiary level also.
Primary school curricula comprise of environment and health components, whereas tertiary level environmental science introduced by both Tribhuwan University and Kathmandu University is aimed at producing skilled human resources. Pokhara University has also granted permission to private institutes to conduct environmental training programmes. Environmental aspects have also been included in various non-formal and informal education courses, with primary focus on natural resources management, health and sanitation.
Various forms of media are involved in creating public awareness. These include group meetings, mass media, personal contacts as well as a combination of all of these. Media is used to serve specific needs of the target groups. Communication and information messages are designed separately for urban, semi-urban and rural areas with due consideration to environmental problems.
Ministry of Population and Environment 69 State of the Environment Report, 2000 The Ministry of Population and Environment is implementing a number of public awareness activities. These activities include, inter alia, weekly radio programmes, teleserials and spot announcements. Newsletters, storybooks, informative booklets and environmental journals are also regularly published. In this fiscal year 1999/2000, the Ministry is implementing public awareness activities through the mass media, such as the radio, television, cinema halls the print media. Informal group meetings, training workshops and seminars are also being organised. The Ministry is also implementing advocacy programmes aimed at policy-makers and journalists. Besides, a number of organisations are involved in creating public awareness about environmental issues. The following table gives a glimpse of public awareness activities in Nepal.
Environmental awareness activities have made a positive contribution to resource management, health care and adoption of conservation measures in infrastructure projects and programmes. Various organisations have launched conservation extension activities as an integral part of their programme implementation. As recognition for their contributions special awards such as the National Forest Conservation Award, have also been instituted to recognise individuals and organisations involved in public awareness activities. The Ministry of Population and Environment has also Ministry of Population and Environment 70 State of the Environment Report, 2000 started to award organisations, particularly on World Environment Day (5 June), in recognition of their work on environmental management.
Interpersonal communication or radio programmes are considered more effective than any other form of media. However, the importance of print materials cannot be underestimated. Literacy level of Nepalese has considerably increased and reached about 57 per cent for males and 32 per cent for females in general, and as high as 77 per cent for boys and 56 per cent for girls between the age of 11 to15 years. Environmental education and communication programmes launched by both governmental and non-governmental organisations have also contributed towards understanding and acting for environment management.
Following the reinstatement of democracy in 1990, His Majesty's Government of Nepal (HMG/N) revised the environment friendly policies and programmes. While previous policies relied mainly on command and control instruments, more recently economic instruments are considered equally important in order to improve environmental conditions. To address environmental concerns and issues described in Chapter Two, the following section deals with policy and legal measures and its implications on environment management. Highlights of international commitments and emerging environmental issues are also included in this chapter.
3.1 Policy Initiatives
Development planning exercise, which was initiated in the mid-1950s, focused mainly on natural resources utilisation, agriculture production, sanitation and sewerage facilities, and infrastructure development. Nepal started its planned process of development in 1956, when the First Five Year Plan (1956-'61) was first launched. The main objective of this plan was to increase agricultural production and generate more revenue from forests. During this plan period, the Forest Nationalisation Act, 1957 was enacted and forests were nationalised.
The Second Five Year Plan (1962-'65) put emphasis on increasing food production. The following environmental concerns were also included in
?? survey of natural resources and activities in industry, electricity, irrigation and transport;
?? preparation of management plans for forestry for selected districts, particularly for afforestation, forest demarcation, construction of fire-lines, forest roads, and promotion of forestbased industries.
The Third Five Year Plan (1965-'70) incorporated the following
environment related policies and programmes:
?? resettlement programme in Terai to reduce population pressure in the hills;
?? a cadastral survey for land reform;
?? forest survey;
?? protection of temples and historical places;
?? preparation of a physical plan for Kathmandu Valley;
?? water quality analysis;
?? sedimentation and water flow recording in Terai; and ?? initiation of master plans for drinking water and sewerage.
The prime thrust of the Fourth Five Year Plan (1970-'75) was to mobilise internal resources and concentrate on a regional concept of development.
Sectoral policies of the Plan, related to environment in this Plan were:
?? delineation for major agricultural areas;
?? reclamation of forest land for more agricultural production by means of resettlement programmes;
?? increase revenue from forestry sector and scientific management of forest resources;
?? soil and land use surveys in selected districts;
?? soil conservation in Kathmandu Valley watershed; and ?? establishment of a laboratory to study the chemical composition of water.
The Fifth Five Year Plan (1975-'80) introduced the concept of ecological balance and economic development by giving primary emphasis to conservation and development of watersheds in the hills. It was during this plan period that land use and water resource development policies were first introduced. Likewise, the National Forest Policy,1976 was also
formulated. This Plan emphasised:
?? conservation of flora and fauna;
?? establishment of industries outside the densely populated areas;
?? development of new tourist places with due consideration to the environment;
?? women's participation in forestry, agriculture, health and water resource development activities.
The Sixth Five Year Plan (1980-'85) gave emphasis to the theme "Conservation" during the implementation of its development programmes.
This policy further emphasised the need for:
?? survey of endangered flora and fauna species;
?? reduction of over-dependence on agriculture;
?? environment impact assessment (EIA) of development projects;
and ?? review of rules and regulations concerning the environment of the urban areas.
Environment friendly polices were further elaborated in the Seventh Five Year Plan (1985-'90) and for the first time a national level policy on environment management was incorporated in this Plan. Emphasis was also laid on the importance of public participation in the decision-making process and the role of women and non-governmental organisations in environment management. The National Conservation Strategy as well as the Master Plan for Forestry Sector were also endorsed and their implementation initiated during this plan period.
The Eighth Five Year Plan (1992-'97) re-enforced environment management policies with specific reference to sustainable economic growth and poverty alleviation. The Plan emphasised, inter alia, the need for internalising the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system, particularly in economic development plans and programmes.
Improvement of legislative measures, and the promotion of environmental awareness at different levels were also emphasised in the Plan. A National Environmental Policy and Action Plan (NEPAP) was prepared in 1993 to facilitate integration of environmental aspects in the development process.
This was prepared in response to the growing environment conservation awareness and the need to maintain a balance between the environmental conservation and development activities (EPC, 1993). During this period, the Master Plan for Irrigation and Livestock was also prepared.
Environmental aspects were also incorporated into the hydropower, irrigation and industrial development policies. Preparation and implementation of the Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP) was also initiated during this Plan period. In addition, the period also witnessed incorporation of environment management in the election manifesto of political parties.
The current Ninth Five Year Plan (1997-2002) encompasses the principles of sustainable resource management. Realising the differences between urban and rural environmental problems, vis-à-vis utilisation of common resources, the plan appreciates the community forest management programmes. Retro-inspecting the Eighth Plan, following are some major
objectives of the Ninth Plan with regard to the environment sector:
?? Integrated approaches for development and environment;
?? Legal provision for national resource conservation;
?? Expansion of the scope of biological diversity;
?? Scientific forest management;
?? Pollution control programmes;
?? Involvement of private or civil society in management of municipal wastes; and ?? Economic incentive and disincentive measures for pollution control.
Some policy directives of the Ninth Plan are:
?? Priority to environmental programmes which involve women and poverty stricken classes of people;
?? Special programmes for environment conservation in remote areas;
?? Involvement of non-governmental organisations in environmental education;
?? Training and research on pollution control, solid waste management, etc.;
?? Development of environmental management information system;
and ?? Implementation of environmental standards.
The Ninth Plan also discusses environment specific issues, and programmes and activities have been planned in relation to these areas.
The Plan has emphasised the harnessing of solar energy by establishing 38,000 photovoltaic systems in remote area households. Moreover, about 300 solar dryers will be set-up in different rural communities. The plan also has a target of establishing micro-hydro projects worth 5,200 kilowatt (kW).
Similarly, it envisages spreading the biogas (methane gas) plants to a total of 90,000 during this period.