TOPICS: Managing the environment

Nepal has a young and fragile geology, widespread poverty in the mostly remote rural regions. Vulnerable communities, rich natural bio-diversity, and road construction can bring significant adversities to the local, regional and national environmental setting and social cultural fabric of the affected population.

Deforestation and land degradation appear to affect a far greater proportion of the population and have the worst consequences for economic growth and individuals’ livelihoods.

Forest loss has contributed to floods, soil erosion, and stagnant agricultural output. Often cited causes of deforestation include population growth, high fuel wood consumption, infrastructure projects, and conversion of forests into grazing- and cropland.

Land degradation is attributed to population growth, improper use of agro-chemicals, and overly intensive use of landholdings. Since the late 1980s, government policies have attempted to address these numerous and related problems, but policies often are hampered by lack of funding.

Nepal has adopted the notion of green development to minimise stress on the environment and to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It needs to keep in mind the goals of environmental protection and adaptation to climate change, in pursuing national development.

The National Policy has stressed environment and climate change. It has mainly focused on strengthening and updating environmental policy, existing laws, rules and mechanisms. It has also focused on enhancing institutional capacities.

The development of environmentally friendly, climate change adaptive infrastructure will be emphasized. Likewise, programs for spreading public awareness about protecting and preserving the environment will be carried out. The strategy of the policy is to make environmental management an integral component of development programs.

The objective is to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The Environment and Social Management Framework (ESMF) is the institutional framework for the national policy. It will compile an overview and guide various safeguard and compliance aspects of environment and social issues related with road construction and development.

Likewise, environmental management should be given top priority for the sustainability of other development projects.