A sunny afternoon in the outskirts of Lalitpur brought together Government representatives - implementing partners of the Integrated Landscape Management to secure Nepal’s Protected Areas and critical corridors (ILaM) project. The ILaM project organized the workshop on March 24-25 to review and assess the project by acknowledging and sharing the perspective from the core areas of the project. In the workshop, participants were Planning officers from the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, Department of Forests and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Forests, Environment and Soil Conservation, Lumbini Province, Chief Conservation officers and Planning officers from respective Protected Area Offices (Banke and Bardiya), Divisional Forest Officers and Planning officers from respective Division Forest Offices (Banke and Pahalmanpur).
Suman Subedi, Project Coordinator, ILaM welcoming the participants in the Annual Review and Planning Workshop © Pragyawatee Rai / ILaM
ILaM team advanced its objective by leveraging the workshop with personal experiences and knowledgeto engage in conversations about programs and policies that impact the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL) and all of its diverse ecology and inhabitants on a daily basis. This workshop provided the opportunity to review and assess about the ground interventions and shared learnings of biodiversity conservation and landscape management. The ILaM team has worked to bridge the gap between the Implementing organization– Ministry of Forests and Environment, WWF and the primary donor Global Environment Facility (GEF).
Suman Subedi, Project Coordinator - ILaM welcomed the participants and briefly explained on the key objectives of the workshop and encouraged everyone for an active engagement in the discussion. He stated that the ILaM project will be working collectively with all the implementing partners to promote integrated landscape management to conserve globally significant forests and wildlife in project areas.
Bharat Gotame, Project Manager – ILaM explained the overview of the project with his comprehensive presentation describing specific project areas, components, project governance structures, roles and responsibilities of PMU and Field Office, fund flow process and reporting structures respectively. He stated that the project activities this year was planned with an integrated landscape approach through capacity development and awareness programs, human-wildlife conflict management through wildlife rescue center, forest restoration through integrated grazing management in corridors and buffer zone.
Additionally, the workshop discussed on:
- Ground intervention to control Rapti river bank cutting (River bank Cutting leads to forest and habitat degradation).
- Undertake immediate response, preventive and mitigation measures on human wildlife conflict.
- Project intervention should be well aligned with the strategic plans/management plans of the partner organization.
- Skill-based trainings should be provided to the local youths and indigenous people and promote green enterprises (Chamomile and Mentha cultivation-high demand) in the area.
- Explore community-based tourism promotion on northern belt of Banke and Bardia National Park buffer zone to support livelihoods of Indigenous people and local communities (IPLC).
- Habitat management can be done in fringe area (edge between national park and buffer zone) with small scale investment. The participatory assessment report to identify priority community and forest should be reviewed rigorously and verified accurately in the field.
- There is a need to discover specific political and geographical boundary in the Kamdi and Karnali Corridor.
The Safeguard and GESI officer highlighted on the environmental and social safeguards and gender requirements of the ILaM project that will be aligned in close coordination with the implementing partners. Inclusive and gender responsive policies will be followed throughout the project cycle. The GESI aspects in buffer zone and corridors should be prioritized as marginalized inhabitants reside in the buffer zone and corridor area. Any adverse Environmental and Social impacts will be mitigated ensuring consent of indigenous people and local community.