Government of Nepal and ICIMOD Initiate Localization of Environmental Agenda and Issues at Provincial Level

   TwitCount

The Department of Environment, Government of Nepal (GoN) and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) conducted the Environment Convention 2075 (2018) in Kathmandu, Nepal on 2 October 2018 as the first step towards preparing a national framework that will guide provincial and local governments in formulating provincial and local level environmental policies.

The convention provided a national platform to deliberate on environmental issues (affecting air, water, and land), and is expected to help improve legislative instruments at the federal level and to ultimately guide provincial governments in formulating environment frameworks. The event initiated a process of localizing environmental agendas and issues. A compilation of the overview of technical and geographic issues that influence interactions with the environment in different sectors will be developed to identify gaps in existing policies and frameworks, and revise environment-related policies and legislative instruments. The President of Nepal, Bidya Devi Bhandari, in her inaugural address reinforced the need for clarity regarding the roles of all stakeholders in working with local, federal, and national governments to combat climate change and safeguard the environment for future generations across Nepal. Key participants included provincial ministers and secretaries responsible for environment-related activities, central-level agencies working on environment issues, the non-government sector, donor communities, and representatives from municipal governments. Expert speakers and sector participants discussed air pollution and its mitigation, urban environment and waste management, environmental impact assessments, rivers and their management, cryosphere and climate, forests and ecosystems, and green landscapes. In closing, the Minister of Forests and Environment, chief guest Shakti Bahadur Basnet, commended the convention for successfully bringing together varied expertise and sectoral experiences to discuss environmental challenges and potential ways ahead. He also urged stakeholders to consolidate efforts at different levels in order to bring about lasting and meaningful impacts.

Article 30 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal guarantees a ‘’clean environment’’ as a fundamental right, and elaborates that ‘’every citizen shall have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment”. Article 30 (2) of the constitution also encourages the state to formulate necessary legal frameworks to balance environment and development. In the spirit of the constitution, and in the context of the shift to a federal governance system, it is important to discuss key environmental issues and gaps in Nepal’s existing legislative and policy instruments, and to develop environmental legislative frameworks for provincial governments. To date, the existing Environment Protection Act 2053 (1997) and Environment Protection Regulation 2056 (1999) remain the major statutory and legislative provisions that guide the protection of Nepal’s environment. With the restructuring of state governance in the context of federalism, there is a need for an overall national policy on the environment, which will provide a guiding framework to provincial and local governments, while learning from the effectiveness of existing national laws and by-laws.