Nepal Towards the REDD Process
1. About context
Nepal is under low carbon economy country with per capita carbon emission less than 0.11, which implies one US citizen”s emission is equivalent to about 182 Nepali citizens emission. About 31 % of the population of the country is below poverty line (government information) where 70 % is estimated to be forest dependent. Forested area covers 29% surface area. National forest policy focuses on meeting peoples basic needs of forest products through engagement of local community in overall management of forest resources. More than 15000 local Community Forest Users Groups (CFUGs) including indigenous people are managing about 1.3 million hectors forests across the country. The harmony among different ethnic groups, indigenous peoples and other forest dependent communities during the process and functions of the community forest management is enthusiastic and impressive. The FECOFUN an umbrella organizations of the CFUGs has emerged a strong civil society organization in the natural resource management sectors of Nepal also contributing significant roles in poverty reduction, achieving million development goals (MDGs) and encouraging and lobbying to government in policy making process with respect to the obligations of UNCBD, UNFCC and UNCCD .
There are provisions of community rights in forest resources in Forest Act, 1993 and Regulation 1995. Under this legal provisions about 1.3 Million ha forests have already been handed over to local communities as community forests (CFs). Nepal ratified UNCBD (1992) in September 1993. Article 8 (j) requires the parties to “encourage the equitable sharing of the benefits arising from the use of indigenous knowledge, innovation and practices. As a signatory party, Nepal is committed to comply this legal provision. Nepal has also ratified ILO (1989) declaration 169 in 2005 that also ensures rights of IP”s on natural resources. There is also a signed agreement between GON and IP”s federated bodies to implement ILO 169 in the country. Nepal also agrees on UNDRIP (2007), which also secures IP”s rights on natural resources.
2. Drivers of D2 in Nepal
Degradation of forest is much more serious concern compared to the deforestation problem in Nepal. Five major drivers of deforestation and degradation are identifying in Nepal. They are: a) Lack of clarity in the tenure system, b) Conversion of forest & Agriculture expansion c) Government resettlement program and d) Illegal harvesting
Forestry sector FECOFUN is very much concerned about quick assessment of deforestation drivers and efforts taken by state with collaboration of CSOs to address them. FECOFUN is willing to work together with Government of Nepal to address these serious issues. By the results of coordination and collaborations between FECOFUN and government line agencies few initiatives have taken in this regards. However it is not sufficient in-terms of intensity of deforestation and degradation occur in Nepal. Development and implementation of forest fire control policy is one of the good examples that initiated by the Nepal Government. Likewise, Community based forest management is our mainstream forest policy. Community managed forests are the best examples sustainable management of forest and biodiversity conservation. Therefore, we are strongly recommendation to Nepal Government, to developed effective and efficient safe guarding mechanisms, economic incentives, legal instruments and functional institutions in considering rights to free, prior and informed consent of local community and indigenous peoples regarding to the policy of the climate change.
3. Issues consider on REDD
Though, REDD is an emerging market, but countries like Nepal where forest inventory data are inadequate, technical capacity is weak at community and professional level and where forests are difficult to access due to difficult geographic features; market based approach may not be sufficient to reduce deforestation and degradation problems. Would definitely focus more on maximizing co-benefits of REDD like- enhancing ecosystem resilience, livelihoods improvement, good governance practices, biodiversity conservation. Good conservation practices in mid-hills and mountain watersheds are contributing in reducing vulnerability to downstream population living in India and Bangladesh. The compensatory payments for up-stream community would be an economic incentive for effective conservation of these forests.
- Up-front financing for capacity building at different level (community to policy makers) is necessary for effective readiness.
- We are aware that REDD will not succeed unless local community meaningfully participate in the REDD process. However, our 60 % of CFs are below 50 ha in size. The national average of CFs is around 86 ha. , and average CF allocation per household is around 0.7 ha, which is lower in low lands compared to hills and mountains. Realizing this fact, we are very much concerned on how Community forest s get maximum benefits from REDD. Considering high transaction costs on small size forests, there is potential risks that cheap carbon might off-set community based forest carbon that have greater co-benefits.
- Since, forest degradation is very much complex in nature; its measurement and monitoring is also challenging.
- Almost one-third forests have already been under Protected Areas (PA”s) and more lands are in pipeline to be declared as PAs. Now, our major concern is- how Nepal can receive economic incentives for effective conservation of these PAs. So Nepal strongly advocates in favor of compensatory payments for co-benefits like ecosystem services, biodiversity conservation offered by our PAs and community forests to global community.
- Local communities are overall responsible to manage the forest resources in Nepal. The forests and biodiversity that we have in present are the result of the community efforts and contributions. Therefore, the community contributions and efforts on these regards should be should be recognized and rewarded in the REDD process.
The FECOFUN is play role to make common understating and building up constituency on these pertinent issues in both national and international forums.