10 yrs on, country yet to pay panel $155 a year

KATHMANDU: A recipient of funds from a number of foreign donors for the conservation of the country’s flora and fauna, the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation has not deposited its annual liability of US $155 for a decade as a party to the Convention on International Trade of Endangered Species (CITES).

As a result, Nepal has been listed in an official document of the convention as a nation which has not paid the dues. “It is a matter of shame that the country has not paid even the nominal charge,” said an MoFSC official on condition of anonymity. The total amount to be paid by Nepal has reached 1,480 dollars by 2009.

According to a source at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is responsible for the payment. The ministry is said to have denied its responsibility. “The due has been piling up not due to lack of money but due to an inter-ministry misunderstanding,” said Gopal Prasad Upadhyay, Director General, DNPWC.

Nepal is one of the 175 countries to have signed the convention that came into force in 1975. A month ahead of the 15th Conference of Parties, that is going to be held in Doha, Qatar, one of the officials at the ministry, who is preparing to participate in the conference, expressed his frustration that the country had not paid attention to such trifle matters.

The country is often accused of being a transit point for the illegal trade of animal body parts as well as plants. “Our country is listed in the third category in terms of progress made in controlling the trade of the endangered flora and fauna. We are yet to pass the bill on CITES,” said Dharma Raj Kuinkel, Under Secretary, MoFSC.