'Wetland management ineffective in Nepal'

KATHMANDU: Dozens of wetlands in the country have not been properly managed and utilised though the government formulated National Wetland Policy in 2003 in a bid to conserve them. Government has recognized only nine wetland areas.

“Politisation in the areas has hindered the management and utilisation of wetlands,” said Hari Krishna Uprety, wetland biodiversity specialist at Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal. “The government and UNDP are working together in this sector for five years,” he added.

Globally, wetlands cover nine per cent of the total land area while Nepal has five per cent of its land under water. According to a 2005 World Bank Report, the services provided by the wetland ecosystems account for at least $14 trillion every year.

The wetlands in Nepal, which are highly important from the religious, cultural and tourism perpectives, are contributing to the livelihood of 21 ethnic communities across the nation.

These areas are either polluted or encroached by the locals, Uprety said. “Neither local people nor the government have been successful to arrange them in a systematic way.”

These areas possess immense potential of biodiversity and energy generating capacities.

“However, Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and its buffer zone (348sqm) in east and Ghodaghodi Tal Area in western Nepal were intruded upon by the Koshi victims and Tharu communities respectively,” he said. “