Environment-Economic Analysis and Infrastructure Policy Forum organized in Nepal
The forum was organized with an objective of sharing and discussing environmental-economics and policy tools being used around the world to integrate biodiversity conservation and infrastructure in the context of Nepal’s development plans.
At the forum, various experts from the field of biodiversity conservation and infrastructure development shed light on the significance of these policy tools in Nepal given that integrating ecosystem conservation and infrastructure development has become an essential component of short- and long-term social and environmental wellbeing in Nepal.
Presenting at the program, Dr. Amritharaj Christy Williams, Coordinator of Asian Rhino and Elephant Action Strategy (AREAS), highlighted the fact that whenever any environmental compliance in infrastructure development is designed the main focus has largely been on pollution and degradation and not on wildlife.
Likewise, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Rai from South Asian Network of Development and Environmental Economics (SANDEE) presented a case-study on the Valuation of Environmental Services in Nepal.
Ms. Irene Burgues of CSF talked about how economic & financial mechanisms can be used for environmental compliance in infrastructure projects and how those tools can be used for planning and development of such projects.
Participants of the forum also had an opportunity to learn about the successes and failures of Linear Infrastructure Development Projects in Brazil when the special guest speaker, Professor Jorge Madeira Nogueria from University of Brasilia, cited examples of Transamazonian Road and Balbina hydropower projects.
Mr. Santosh Mani Nepal, Director of Policy and Support from WWF Nepal shared the status of linear infrastructures that are being planned within the Conservation Landscapes of Nepal, highlighting the immediate threats to wildlife and their habitat.
Similarly, Mr. Pyush Dogra, the Environment Specialist of World Bank, cited an example of how the Development Policy Operation Loans are being used in the Himachal Pradesh state of India to provide budgetary support for sector-wide reforms, to help in their mission of Green Growth.
Different sessions were chaired by Special Guests, Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Dr. Krishna Chandra Paudel, Secretary, Ministry of Science, Technology & Environment, and Mr. Keshab Kumar Sharma, Deputy Director General of Department of Roads from the government of Nepal .
The forum, which served as a platform for different development partners and conservationists to come together and share ideas and knowledge to bridge the gap between development and conservation through environmental economics and various case studies, concluded with a common consensus to use economic tools in order to weigh the ‘costs’ and ‘benefits’ of the large scale infrastructure development projects that are being planned and carried out in Nepal.