WWF Nepal celebrates 20 years of conservation partnerships
At a special ceremony organized to mark this day in the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park in Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape, more than 70 partner organizations were felicitated by WWF Nepal in recognition of their support and contribution in conservation. These included Government of Nepal’s line Ministries and Departments, donor organizations, NGOs, enforcement agencies and community-based organizations. Dr. K. C. Paudel, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, was the Chair of the event which saw the active participation of more than 1,000 community members.
“WWF Nepal’s official presence started in 1993 with three people in a small room. Today, we have built a core family of nearly 100 staff and an extended one with the government, conservation agencies and the local community,” stated Mr. Anil Manandhar, Country Representative of WWF Nepal. “Over these years, Nepal has witnessed significant advances in conservation all of which has been possible because of the power of partnerships,” he added.
The past 20 years have seen significant conservation gains in Nepal. The landscape level approach to conservation, exemplified by the ambitious Terai Arc Landscape and Sacred Himalayan Landscape programs of the Government of Nepal in which WWF Nepal is an active partner, was initiated during this period. These programs have introduced important conservation strategies aimed at protecting and enhancing wildlife habitat, protecting and building populations of key species such as tigers, rhinos and snow leopards, and creating enabling policies and mechanisms related to addressing climate change, land use and trans-boundary conservation issues. This period has also helped build and strengthen an important link in conservation – the local communities – through which sustainable forest management and anti-poaching are now locally led and supported initiatives.
“The Government of Nepal has found a valuable partner in WWF,” stated Dr. K. C. Paudel, Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. “We look forward to strengthening this partnership in the years to come so that Nepal can be a leading example in conservation,” he added.
As part of the celebrations, WWF Nepal announced an important next step for the organization in conservation – the creation of sustainable villages – with Amaltari as the first village towards this end. A homestay program, a community clinic and a women-led micro-enterprise were launched as starting initiatives in providing alternate livelihoods and wellbeing opportunities for local communities in order to strengthen their motivation in conservation.
“WWF Nepal has recognized the role of local people in conservation,” stated Mr. Prem Shankar Mardania, Chairperson of Amaltari Buffer Zone User Committee. “Just as conservation takes care of people, the people will take care of conservation,” he added.