Message From The Chief of Party, Hariyo Ban Program
It is hard to believe that Hariyo Ban is now entering its fourth and second last year. Looking back, the studies and capacity building we did in the early years paid great dividends as they helped shape the direction of the program. The Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape (CHAL) rapid assessments created a solid base for our work there, and in the Terai Arc Landscape (TAL), studies on corridors, human-wildlife conflict, biodiversity threats, and focal species helped us to prioritize our support to the TAL program. Climate vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans at various levels formed a foundation for the climate adaptation component. There were some surprises: for example, overgrazing by livestock was thought to be a major threat to forests, but assessments showed that while it is still very significant in some local areas, it has dropped down the threats list and poorly planned infrastructure development and fire have become more important.
The initial phase of assessments and training was followed by intensive implementation of program activities in the field and at policy level by the four consortium partners: WWF, CARE, FECOFUN and NTNC. In order to address high priority biodiversity threats and drivers of deforestation/forest degradation we have had an intensive focus on support for improved management of community forests and protection of important habitats, including fire control and reduction of unsustainable pressure. The latter includes promotion of alternative livelihoods for local people on-farm and off-farm, as well as sustainable forest-based green enterprises. Promotion of alternative energy such as biogas and improved cook stoves has reduced pressure for firewood, and uncontrolled grazing. Initial work on infrastructure has focused on promoting better practices with developers. We are working to improve internal governance of natural resource management groups, including better access to forest resources and benefits for marginalized groups and women. Empowerment and increased participation in sustainable forest management is a major part of our very active gender and social inclusion component, which also works on reducing gender-based violence in relation to natural resources. Activities to reduce human-wildlife conflict and hence retaliatory killing of wildlife now cover many of the conflict hot-spots in TAL. Piloting of payments for ecosystem services schemes in selected locations will help promote sustainability of sound environmental management practices.
In climate adaptation, we supported implementation of adaptation plans at local level, covering a wide range of adaptation approaches from disaster risk reduction to food and water security, building ecosystem resilience as an integral part of the work, and facilitating upstream-downstream understanding and dialogue to reduce the risk of maladaptation. We are supporting local groups to leverage funds for further adaptation activities, and helping to integrate climate change into local development and sectoral planning. We are also supporting Village Development Committees to integrate disaster risk reduction and climate adaptation into local development plans and make them environment friendly.
In TAL we are supporting development of the new ten-year landscape strategy, helping to ensure it is climate-smart and taking into account the current and likely future development agenda, in light of the rapidly changing social, economic and political environment since the last plan was developed ten years ago. In CHAL, we aim to create a foundation for future landscape level approaches in the Gandaki river basin, recognizing that river basin management is becoming increasingly important as climate change and development advance. In REDD+, we are delighted that the Emissions Reduction Project Idea Note for TAL was approved by the Forest Carbon Partnership Facility, and look forward to working with GoN and WWF on the Emissions Reduction Project Document in the coming year. A carbon inventory for CHAL is nearly complete, which will form the base for a REDD+ project in CHAL.
At the national level, Hariyo Ban supported the development and revision of various government policies and strategies, helping to create a better enabling environment for forest management, REDD+ and biodiversity conservation. A selection of our activities is illustrated in this newsletter.
None of this work would be possible without partnerships and strong collaboration at different levels. Hariyo Ban is privileged to be working with a wide range of partners, including several government ministries and line agencies at various levels. We are particularly grateful to the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation and its departments for ongoing partnership and support. We are also thankful to the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, Ministry of Federal and Local Development and Ministry of Agriculture Development for their support and cooperation. We work closely with local community groups and umbrella organizations in priority areas. Many NGOs and academic institutions have provided valuable support, and we are collaborating closely with donor projects such as the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Program, and Initiatives for Climate Change Adaptation to promote synergies and ensure complementarity. Finally, we are very grateful for our partnership with USAID, which includes technical as well as financial support. As we move into our penultimate year, we look forward to continuing our partnerships with you all, and preparing a rich legacy for Hariyo Ban.
Chief of Party,
Hariyo Ban Program