मुक्तक

जीवन अनि मृत्यु बीचको, साँधको अभाव खेपिरा’छु ।

नयनबाट बाढी रोक्ने, बाँधको अभाव खेपिरा’छु ।

के-के मात्र चाहिने यो #साला_जिन्दगीमा…… !!

अाजभाेलि रुन एउटा, काँध को अभाव खेपिरा’छु ।

Towards The 2030 Agenda with Community Forestry

Also in this link: http://www.voicesofyouth.org/en/posts/towards-the-2030-agenda-with-community-forestry

After the termination of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2015 AD, the world is now heading towards The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Prepared by the United Nations (UN), the agenda constitutes 17 goals with 169 targets envisioning a more peaceful, just, sustainable and inclusive world by 2030 AD. The goals, termed as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), address the three dimensions of sustainable development – social, economic and environmental.

According to the UN, Nepal has already prepared the preliminary national report on the implementation of the SDGs but the comprehensive plan on how to act upon these goals is yet to be prepared. That is to say, Nepal now has to put forward its plan on how the national priorities will be set, how institutional and financial arrangements will be made, how the indicators will be developed for the timely assessment of the achievement of the goals and so on. The goals are quite ambitious and there will be a lot of things to do for the achievement. This article discusses how Nepal’s community forestry sector can contribute to the achievement of these goals.

The program that began after the handling of a patch of forest to the local villagers of Thokarpa Village, Sindhupalchowk district for the management and utilisation in 1973 AD, by the then forest officer, has now become the world renowned “Community Forest” model. Community Forest (CF), as stated by the Forest Act 1993 AD, is that part of national forest which is handed over to the local people, forming a group known as Community Forest User Group (CFUG), for the management and utilization of the forest and its resources provided that they are able and willing to manage it. And now, there are about 20,000 CFs in the country with an equal number of CFUGs.

Poverty and hunger reduction had been the very first goal in the MDGs too. The first and the second goals of the SDGs also aim to eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms everywhere and end hunger and achieve food security by 2030 AD. The Community Forest Development Program Guideline 2071 BS, clearly states that 35 per cent of the total income of the CFUG should be invested on pro-poor targeted programs within the group. The annual income of Nepal’s CFs is over $10 million and the figure is yet increasing as the number of CFs being handed to the user groups is increasing. That way, community forestry sector contributes roughly $4 million annually (35 per cent of over $10 million) in the pro-poor targeted programs. Though there are accusations that the community forestry is under elite domination, it is not that poor are not getting any benefits. What is true is community forestry has the potential; the problem is of effective governance and law enforcement only.

The guideline also stipulates that among the two tiers of the organizational structure of CFUG, i.e. General Assembly (GA) and Executive Committee (EC), either chairperson or the secretary of the later one must be a woman. For maintaining a bank account of the group, there must be the joint signature one of which must be of woman. These provisions help in the empowerment of women and girls in decision making in public life and provide equal opportunities for leadership which are envisioned in the fifth goal of the SDGs. Similarly, there must be 50 per cent women participation in the EC with proportionate representation of Dalits, Jananatis, indigenous and marginalised people. This helps in reducing inequalities within the country, achieving inclusive and just societies and also in ensuring inclusive participation in public decision making. There are so many women-only run CFUGs that are reported to be even better than the generic ones. The provisions of annual public hearing and internal and public auditing help develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions ; CFUGs in this case.

The 25 per cent of the income from the CF, which is mandatory to be spent in forest management, development and protection activities helps minimise adverse effects of climate change, combat desertification, halt and reverse desertification and halt biodiversity loss.

The CFUGs have been doing other various activities like providing scholarships for the deserving students from their groups, constructing gobar-gas plants, constructing and/or maintaining physical infrastructures like roads, schools, hospital buildings and toilets to name a few. These all activities help accomplish the targets in one way or the other. The scholarships help in ensuring quality education, constructing toilets and hospitals helps in ensuring sanitation and healthy lives, constructing gobar-gas ensures access to affordable and sustainable energy and so on.

But it is neither the provisions nor the goals themselves that make difference. We have to act upon them to make the desired differences. The UN itself states that the SDGs are not stand-alone goals as were the MDGs. So it is not that wise to assert this sector/activity helps achieve this goal and that sector/activity helps achieve that goal. Achievement (or underachievement) of one goal has the impact on the achievement of other goals too. For example, eradicating poverty, ensuring sustainable consumption and production helps in reducing hunger, managing forests sustainably and scientifically helps in mitigating negative impacts of climate change, ensuring inclusive and quality education helps in creating peaceful, just and inclusive societies and so on. Evidence also show that families with educated mothers are healthier. So, either directly or indirectly, the forestry sector, particularly the community forestry has great impacts on the achievement of the global goals. Hence more budget needs to be allocated to the forestry sector and more work needs to be done for augmented benefits and its greater contribution towards the sustainable agenda.

And thankfully, it is not the politicians who run the Community Forest User Groups but the local people themselves who work for their own benefits. Hence the guidelines are also less likely to be infringed.

Research Finalized – Forschung beendet

[ Blog by Anja Schmidt, a masters student from University of Copenhagen, Denmark who was in Nepal for her research. We (me, Muna Sharma and Kripa Pokhrel) had assisted her for the research as well for the language. I have translated her German language blog with the help of Google Translate and posted here. You can find the original version here: https://anjanepal.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/research-finalized-forschung-beendet/ ]

Hello dear friends, 

After 3 weeks of hard research, I am back from Pokhara. Even if I had in the time access to the net, it has not yet submitted to upload pictures or blog posts. But for now 🙂

On April 18, we are re-started, in a jeep, which has cost us a fortune. The ride was the same rafting experience as before, with the exception of one thing! The road was built, so we were (naturally without signage only by grapevine) redirected through the river basin and uh yes the river just 😉I’ve never been so happy with four-wheel drive, which I can tell you. So we did not get stuck, the driver was so chilled that he joked one joke after another and just before the huge storm and thunderstorm we landed in Baluwa.We have thankfully also found a good homestay and ate again with the old woman, who has already hosted us on our last trip. “Ama, tharkari Denus na 🙂ra torre daal!” 😀My Nepali enough now so far that I can order food without problems (vegetables and some daal). When I talk about vegetables, it is not like tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, zucchini, etc., it consists almost 80% potatoes and then either peas or spinach (chick peas, green peas) and if you are lucky, Okra, green Beans, cabbage or cauliflower. But since the season is not the best, it was mostly the first.

imageIn Baluwa, we were able to quickly dig the few households and get all the data so that we are back up to Jhawa after 4 days. On the way, we met a few guys we already knew from previous interviews. They have played in the mountain river and have climbed a cherry tree up and down to get the cherries from the top branches. Man, man, because I have become a bit nostalgic, with the exception that they were 200x better climber than I did 😀A boy has then also gedrück me a handful of cherries in the hand! Yes, fruits for eating!

In Jhawa everything has remained so far, except that Aunti has her daughter with baby there. The little one is so sweet-naturally I can not remember the name, so it was great again that all of them just called Nani! Little Nani was the sweetest girl ever, screamed at the oil massage, and slept otherwise;) On one of our days off, Aunti took the chance to put me in a sari, give me a tika, put on her jewelery and so on Neighbors! The white girl in a sari! It was pretty funny, Praerana attracted me and it had to of course the pictures are taken 🙂Tadaaa I in Sari:

image  And then it went on up and down the mountain, the households with children, which we had in the database. Can be funny, but is usually exhausting, especially if one must realize that felt half of the people have moved away. The earthquake has left a serious mark. The beautiful houses were all made of the earthquake, and the higher we got, the worse it became. Therefore, most of the people live in zinc bins without electricity (only a few solar cells on the roof for light in the evening and mobile phone charging) and really only inadequate water. As already mentioned in the morning and evening max 2 h. And we had sometimes really bad luck that the water was less than an hour on. The drought at the time is really bad, affects the harvest and indeed extremely on the water supply. There was hardly any rain in the time we were there, and the midday heat had half killed us. (Try to be in a corrugated hut at over 30 degrees. This is like a sauna gang only without cooling possibility)😉

For those who can not imagine really what we do all day because there, here’s a sample daily schedule:
5:00 rising and morning rituals
6-6: 30 Breakfast (mostly Roti – fried flatbread with vegetables) 6:30 To our households with children: we have questionnaires for the children between 8-14 years and also for a family member (mostly the mother), in addition we measure the children (weight, size, mittoberarm circumference), because I make statements about the nutritional state would like. The balance was there mostly the big highlight for almost any … When can one here otherwise times its weight measure 🙂
11:00 Lunch (exception Daal Bhat: Lentil soup with felt a kilo of rice 😉and vegetables and sometimes Achar – pickled vegetables or leafy vegetables (horseradish, spinach, Gandruk, tomatoes)
11: 30-15: 00 recess, it’s very hot and there are no children at home now, during the holidays because they are in the woods, or help in the field and are in school just in school
15 : 00-19: to make 00 again from to households and try interviews
19:30 dinner (exception Daal Bhat said I night no more rice eaten have, so to speak Daal and vegetables for me)
21:00 bedtime

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We did not only do interviews / surveys, but also focus group discussions or with the children. In contrast to Praerana, unfortunately, I could not conduct informal conversations. So, unfortunately, if you do not speak the language. But then I concentrated more on the observation. 2 interviews I could lead and I hope that still some follow with NGOs.

In the evenings it was not boring, because a few others were also there. Researchers and Ingeneers. With which I’ve then in the evening times local alcohol approves 😀rice uh well I do not know exactly. Neither proper wine, nor clear! The whole cup full, over 30% … wuhu I would not have watched, then it would have quickly turned 3. If they drink, then right! Well, was not quite my taste, but at least tried😉

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Unfortunately this time the disease did not spoil us. First, it caught Muna and was so bad that she had to go back to Popkhara. Typhoid as a diagnosis, but thank God she is now well again. A new interpreter could come to thank God, Kripa, and we were all happy, otherwise we would have had to spend much longer in the field. Unfortunately Praerana was afterwards with illness and also that was no better and she is to Kathmandu to her family. And there it was only 3. Aditya, Kripa and I – last men standing.
Haha, we thought at least … .the day we were at 3000m altitude, I’ve got a fever attack, of course, and my runny nose has not made breathing easier. It was pretty cold up there and a shack made of corrugated iron and the toilet outside, making the location not really a health environment 😉well, the next day after Lame for 4 hours (with paracetamol is everything) and back to Jhawa 2h. One of the Homestay owners has pressed me a plant to help to Aryuveda. All right, bring it on, so can not hurt 😉what can I say, I was dead after the trip and really had to stay in bed. My two assistants have done great work in the time and have continued without me. Without the two I would probably not yet down.
The health post in Jhawa gave me then still offered blood to take off, but when I saw the room, which is about as clean as a workshop, I have rejected and that now in Pokhara afterwards fetched. Apart from a bad cold and a parasite I’m getting a rough ride 😉So all again OK and I could for the first time today again go jogging.

The farewell to Aunti, the neighbors and children was sad despite everything. Aunti has every vice depends on us a prayer shawl and Tika added, symbolizing luck on our way 🙂group picture, press and then off you go to Pokhara!

imageSo here I am, enjoying the diverse food – by 95% Daal Bhat and 5% Roti – I could not wait to eat a few fruits and to polish off some spaghetti 😀Next, the data is sorted and some pre-analyzed before I 10 days disappear to yoga and then (FINALLY) Anne comes 🙂
I hope you are all well and the sun and heat has now arrived in Europe! Take care of yourselves!

See you soon, Your Anja

Reducing carbon emissions: Responsibility of key nations

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The United Nations Framework for Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)’s 13th assembly in Bali, Indonesia, in 2007, first developed the concept of REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation).

Of the total greenhouse gas (GHG) emission, it was found that deforestation and forest degradation account for nearly 20 per cent emission in the form of carbon. Hence to reduce the GHG emission, preventing deforestation and forest land degradation was seen as one of the crucial tasks. And, for those developing and underdeveloped countries that help in reducing the atmospheric carbon by capturing and sequestering in their forests, the developed countries, listed as Annex I countries, which are the top GHG emitters, had to help them financially and technically. Based on the results of how much carbon is sequestered by the forests with reference to a certain baseline data, the forests are to be paid. This is the basic concept of carbon trading. The REDD mechanism became REDD+ and REDD++ after additional components such as sustainable management of forests and conservation and enhancement of forest carbon stocks are included in it.

Global temperature is soaring neither because ‘we’ (Nepalese) are consuming a high amount of fossil fuels nor because we are rapidly clearing forest lands. The amount of GHGs emitted by Nepal annually hardly equals the daily emission, if not hourly, by, for example, China alone. Similar comparisons can be made with the USA, India, Russia, Japan and the European Union. Nepal’s contribution to global GHG emission is just 0.025 per cent. Ceteris paribus, it would take forty years for Nepal to emit 1 per cent of the current annual global GHG emission. Even if we allocate our whole budget in fossil fuel only, our contribution to annual global GHG emission probably won’t reach 1 per centAnd still, we are behind REDD that aims to reduce atmospheric carbon by preventing deforestation from us, not from the top emitters! Should we always focus on forest conservation only or think about development too? It is not that development cannot be achieved within environmental protection, but instead of regulating a REDD implementation mechanism, deploying that manpower in other developmental works will be more beneficial. We are in the list of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) not because we don’t have sufficient money but because we don’t have the ability to spend it effectively and the will to develop ourselves.

Anyway, we are implementing REDD, but the issues of permanency, leakage, baseline data, etc. are raised and we are not certain to be paid again. We have been calculating the amount of dollars we deserve from our carbon sink but we don’t know if we will really get it. Just a year ago, officials were wary of the source of money for the Green Climate Fund (GCF) which is supposed to pay for the carbon sink after 4 years, i.e. 2020 AD and the scenario has not yet changed significantly.

What makes the situation worse is the recent political development in the United States, which is also the second largest GHG emitting country, where the newly elected president Donald J. Trump has expressed doubts over climate science, signifying it as a hoax. How can we expect such a country to pay for the carbon sink whose president-elect has even threatened to withdraw last year’s already ratified Paris agreement?

We have always been discussing how Nepal can get benefits from carbon trading. We hardly hear the discussions about how carbon trading benefits the environment actually, as the objective of REDD is to reduce the emissions and ultimately limit the rise in temperature. But at the same time, the top carbon-emitting countries do not seem to be serious about cutting down their emissions. Though the ratification of last year’s Paris agreement by many countries earlier than expected showed some silver linings, the recent political development seems to jeopardize the deal. It is not sure now that they will fulfill their commitment to limit the emissions.

If we really work for the environment, we must be able to tell them, the top emitters, “We don’t want any payment for the carbon we sequester. It’s our responsibility towards the environment/ the mother earth. We actually need you to cut down the emissions.” Then only will we have the ethical right to pressurize them to cut down the emissions. Otherwise, they will always go on saying that they were helping to mitigate the effects of climate change by paying for the carbon and it seems that we are letting them emit as much GHGs as they want for the sake of money. Expecting money from the one and pressurizing the same to cut emission does not seem reasonable. What if those countries themselves say that they won’t pay for the carbon sink? The USA may say so soon. Will we start deforestation to pressurize them? Certainly not.

Developed countries are also unwilling to cut down emissions in the name of ‘economic growth’. But, the Climate Group, in one of its news stories last year, wrote – “Demonstrating again that economic growth can be achieved within environmental protection, according to the document presented to the press, ‘Switzerland emits less GHG today than in 1990 despite the fact that gross national product increased by 36% over the intervening period.’”

If Switzerland can do it, can’t other countries do the same?

tht-opinion-2016-nov-17


[ Rewritten article of Carbon Trade Hallucinations (own blog) and published in The Himalayan Times, November 17, 2016. http://thehimalayantimes.com/opinion/reducing-carbon-emissions-responsibility-key-nations/ ]

Then Joonkiree decided to fly !

I turned into a fidget when my parents told me that I was going away from home for further studies. I stayed here with my grandfather and grandmother, my dad and mom and my brother and sister for all those twelve years. How cozy our home is!

Early in the morning, as soon as I get up, grandmother would give me a glass of hot milk and I would drink it sitting by the side of the fire place. I would do my homeworks then. Whenever I had a problem, there would be my dad to help me with a genial smile on his face. Grandmother would prepare such a delicious breakfast for me. After breakfast, I would catch my dad’s hands and go to school. I would go and report him directly if anybody inflicts pain on me. Then he would go and scold them caressing my hair. I would feel safe and happy then.

After school, I would catch the hands of my elder brother and sister, one on each side, as dad would stay for some extra classes after school. When I reached home, either grandmother or mom would serve snacks again. Fried rice or Milk and leftover rice or Roti or Makai bhatmas would be our snacks. Sometimes, there would even be my favorite snacks Boke Puwa, a special type of Puwa my priest grandfather used to bring whenever he goes to perform some rites. If I wanted more, my siblings would not hesitate to give their share to me. Grandmother would suggest me to go to play with friends then. We would play Dandibiyo, Marble, Hide and seek and Police and Cops till evening. If it got too dark my brother would come looking for me and I would go home with him. Mom would ask how the day was, what I learned at school today, what I ate after school, what I played with friends in the evening, if I squabbled or fought with them – everything since morning till evening. After dinner, I would cuddle my grandfather and ask him to tell a story. Sometimes I would fall asleep before he ended the story and the next day I would ask him to repeat the story from the previous day. Continue reading