THIS WAS A YEAR OF
WWF NEPAL ANNUAL REPORT 2017
OF LIFE SECURED
IN THE WILD
Continued enforcement efforts led to the arrest of 177 wildlife criminals and 20 incidents of wildlife parts seizures, thanks to the coordinated efforts of the Nepal Police, park authorities and local communities. Patrol operations by the Nepal Army covered over 77,000km of prime habitat in Protected Areas and buffer zones. This was aided by conservation technologies such as Real Time SMART Patrolling and park surveillance supported by over 35km of a fibre-optic network piloted in Chitwan National Park allowing for round-the-clock monitoring for effective antipoaching response. Chitwan National Park, the stronghold of tiger and rhino populations in Nepal, also celebrated over 1,000 days of zero poaching of rhinos this year.
A snow leopard was successfully collared in Kangchenjunga Conservation Area on 8 May 2017 making it the fourth one to be collared in Nepal’s eastern snow leopard conservation complex. The snow leopard, named ‘Yalung’ by the local people, was a sub-adult female about two years of age. The telemetric studies have provided important insights into the snow leopard’s spatial range, movement and habitat use across the boundaries of Nepal, India and China. The findings suggest that the snow leopard’s home range is much higher than earlier reports, which highlights the urgency for strong transboundary collaboration between Nepal, India and China to secure the long-term survival of these apex mountain predators.
Wildlife translocations were successfully carried out in TAL to restore herbivore assemblage in Protected Areas. Eight rhinos were translocated from Chitwan National Park to Shuklaphanta National Park and Bardia National Park; rhino translocations resumed after thirteen years from Chitwan National Park in 2016 when five rhinos were translocated to Bardia National Park. Likewise, twelve swamp deer were translocated from Shuklaphanta National Park to Chitwan and Bardia national parks, while twelve wild water buffaloes were translocated to Chitwan from Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve and Kathmandu’s Central Zoo. A successful outcome of such translocations can be seen in Shuklaphanta where black buck numbers have increased to 60 at present from the 22 translocated in 2013.
15 individual tigers were recorded in forests outside Protected Areas in TAL through a long-term ecological monitoring exercise using camera traps. The survey additionally recorded a tiger for the first time in the northern flank of the landscape (identified as climate refugia) providing basis for further conservation work in the extended areas of TAL. The monitoring result showed that three of the seven corridors identified in the western complex showed a record of dispersing tigers (as proxy to functional corridors). These monitoring results will help in refining the design of Nepal’s national tiger survey scheduled for late 2017.
The Government of Nepal endorsed the working guidelines of a human-wildlife compensation mechanism to provide quick relief to families affected by human-wildlife conflict. An endowment fund of USD 278,000 was created under the Terai Arc Landscape and Sacred Himalayan Landscape programs to provide relief for conflict-affected households. The Government of Nepal also endorsed a proposal to increase the relief amount to NRs. 1,000,000 from the previous NRs. 500,000 for conflict-related human fatalities. WWF Nepal also piloted an early warning system to mitigate conflict with elephants in Bardia. The system- works with a sound and tremor detection for elephants which sends out an alarm and alert messages to members of the local community should an elephant get close to 50-100 meters from the system.
For the first time in 20 years, Nepal burnt its stockpile of wildlife parts demonstrating the nation’s commitment towards zero tolerance of wildlife crime.
Based on an audit completed in July 2016, more than 4,000 wildlife parts of 48 different species including 67 tiger skins and 357 rhino horns were burnt in Chitwan National Park in the presence of government representatives, security chiefs, diplomatic missions, civil society, local communities, media, conservation agencies and I/NGOs. The audit covered wildlife parts confiscated from seizure operations and recovered from animals that had died natural deaths from the two repositories in the Armed Forest Guard Training Centre in Tikauli and Chitwan National Park headquarters in Kasara.
The burn was also a means of managing the stockpile of wildlife parts collected from over 20 years that were already decaying. Some wildlife parts were omitted from the burn and retained by the government to include those items whose cases are still under investigation and those required for future research and scientific studies.
‘Sustainable Land Management in the Churia Range, Nepal’, a three-year pilot project of the Government of Nepal and WWF and supported by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) was successfully concluded on 31 May 2017. It effectively helped reduce the vulnerability of 6,000 local people, including more than 2,300 women, from land degradation and soil erosion issues in the Himalayan foothills.
This maiden initiative in Nepal, following the accreditation of WWF as Global Environment Facility (GEF) project implementation agency, introduced an integrated land management approach in the fragile Churia, a hilly range which covers about 12.76% of Nepal’s total area and more than 15% of the country’s population.
The project was successful in bringing together four ministries – Ministry of Land Reform and Management, Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, Ministry of Agricultural Development, and Ministry of Population and Environment – and the participation and ownership of local communities to introduce and implement innovative and sustainable agro-pastoral systems and community forest management in the project areas.
513,000ha of forests were protected within Nepal’s Protected Areas to provide for biodiversity and ecosystem services. WWF provided support to implement management plans of six national parks (Chitwan, Bardia, Banke, Parsa, Shuklaphanta and Langtang) and two conservation areas (Kangchenjunga and Krishnasar). The major interventions include protection of forest ecosystems, management of habitats including grasslands and wetlands, and strengthening institutional capacity of protected areas. Nepal’s Protected Areas together account for 3.4 million hectares of forests and wildlife habitat of key species such as tigers, rhinos and snow leopards.
WWF’s work with local communities helped in improving management of 216,615ha of community forests and 3,188ha of collaborative forests. This was supported by the revision and implementation of Forest Operation Plans (a guiding document of a community forest users group to protect, manage and use forest resources for a specified period of time, usually five years), and capacity building of users groups to manage forests. Community forestry and collaborative forestry are the major community-based forest management regimes in Nepal. Community forestry transfers the use rights of forest resources from government to the communities whereas collaborative forestry involves sharing the use rights of forest resources between the communities, and local and central governments.
Local communities restored over 2,200ha of degraded forests in protected area buffer zones and biological corridors of the Terai Arc Landscape. This was achieved through afforestation measures with 275,000 seedlings of different forest species planted, and the promotion of natural regeneration while managing grazing of livestock in such areas. Though Nepal’s forest cover is presently 44.7% of the total land of the country, deforestation and forest degradation are one of the major challenges in the Terai due to in-migration, construction of large infrastructure and urbanization.
Nepal drafted its Emissions Reduction Program Document (ERPD) with the support of WWF to be presented at the Carbon Fund Meeting in January 2018. It incorporates a comprehensive program design and benefit sharing mechanism by taking into consideration the drivers of deforestation and forest degradation and the activities to reduce the same, Reference Level from 2004-2014, social and environment safeguards, and legal issues on land tenure rights and entity of the ER program. The ERPD was developed following the submission of Nepal’s Emission Reductions Program Idea Note (ERPIN) in April 2014 by the Government of Nepal which aims to sequestrate about 14 million tonnes of CO2 eq. in Nepal’s Terai Arc Landscape between 2018-2025.
Forests are an integral part of local communities; they support local livelihoods and generate incomes for local households that depend on them. By establishing forest-based green enterprises, WWF Nepal provides local communities with alternate livelihoods options that enable sustainable use of forests and its resources. More than 850 households benefited from such enterprises based on non-timber forest products such as Chiraita and broom grass, and homestays and ecotourism. A micro-credit program supported by WWF Nepal forms the backbone of the sustainable livelihoods initiatives with a revolving fund of over USD 1.3 million supporting credit needs of local communities.
The Hariyo Ban Program (2011-2016) came to a close benefitting over 450,000 vulnerable people with livelihoods, climate change adaptation, and post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction activities in two conservation landscapes – the Chitwan-Annapurna Landscape and the Terai Arc Landscape. The $39.7 million program brought over 50,000 hectares of degraded or deforested areas under improved management, sequestering CO2 emissions in Nepal by 3.7 million metric tons.
Funded by USAID and implemented through a consortium comprising WWF Nepal, CARE Nepal, National Trust for Nature Conservation, and the Federation of Community Forestry Users Nepal in partnership with the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, the Hariyo Ban Program was awarded a five-year (2016-2021) $18 million follow-on project by USAID to build on and sustain the results of the first phase.
As mandated under the UNFCCC, the National Adaptation Plans (NAPs) process of Nepal initiated by WWF Nepal in 2014 was furthered by the Ministry of Population and Environment through the formulation of thematic groups. WWF Nepal supported the meeting of the thematic groups to better understand the objectives and formulation processes of NAPs as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programs to address those needs. WWF Nepal represented on the Forest and Biodiversity, Culture and Tourism, Gender Equity and Social Inclusion thematic groups and served as one of the advisors to the overall NAPs process.
Building energy access for households in the Terai and the mountains helped add to the energy mix and in emission reductions. 1,545 biogas units were installed in the Terai Arc Landscape in the last fiscal year as part of the second phase of the Gold Standard Biogas VER Project (2013-2020) which contributed to an emissions reduction of 30,450 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Likewise, in mountain communities, WWF Nepal supported the installation of home solar systems and micro-hydro benefiting 45 households in Langtang and 75 individuals in Kangchenjunga respectively.
Adaptation interventions helped reduce the vulnerability of about 3,000 households from the impacts of climate change as identified in Local Adaptation Plans for Action and Local Disaster and Climate Resilience Plans that are being mainstreamed in local level development planning. Bioengineering and slope stabilization were some of the strategies opted that helped mitigate flooding, inundation and sedimentation on human settlements and agricultural fields. Through watershed conservation, spring source protection, conservation ponds and small-scale irrigation support, local communities were provided improved access to water from depleting sources. The provision of irrigation and drinking water facilities further helped support local livelihoods.
WWF Nepal undertook its maiden engagement in the national Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) process in partnership with the Legislature Parliament of the Government of Nepal. This was achieved through a successful roll out of the SDGs in six of Nepal’s seven provinces incorporating representatives of governmental organizations, civil society organizations, indigenous group and the private sector. The lead government body, the National Planning Commission, has developed a governance mechanism under the chairmanship of the Prime Minister of Nepal which will monitor and evaluate the work of organizations including the private sector that are contributing to the SDGs.
Nepal was one of the 168 Parties to have ratified the Paris agreement in October 2016 with the agreement entering into force on 4 November 2016. It marked a time where governments have come together to fight a common cause, climate change, and adapt to it effects. As a signatory to the agreement, Parties including Nepal have agreed to beef up ambition to keep global temperature rise well below 2˚C above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5˚C. WWF Nepal has been supporting the Government of Nepal in the negotiations process both in the groups of LDCs and the G77 and China through advisory and coordinating roles to help formulate rules for implementing the Paris Agreement.
OF WATER THAT
The Koshi River Basin Management program, initiated in 2010 helped pilot the integrated river basin management approach in Nepal and actioned Nepal’s National Water Plan, 2005. It included initiatives in water and forest conservation, alternative livelihoods promotion and climate adaptation.
Over a project period of seven years, over 17,000 households in 11 catchments of Indrawati sub-basin and Dudhkoshi sub-basin benefitted from increased access to water resources through interventions such as spring source protection, conservation ponds, rainwater harvesting and irrigation facilities.
The Lake cluster of Pokhara Valley, declared as a Ramsar site in 2016, includes nine diverse lakes located in Kaski district in western Nepal. Despite being rich in biodiversity, this Ramsar site is degrading at accelerated rates due to weak wetland governance, land use and land cover change, encroachment, sedimentation, pollution and invasive species. In response to these threats, an integrated lake basin management plan of the Ramsar site was drafted. Currently, wetland conservation activities such as landslide protection, construction of check dams and plantation to reduce siltation are being implemented which are expected to restore 15ha of lake area.
Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were used for the first time in Nepal to monitor gharial and mugger crocodile populations along the Babai River in Bardia National Park. The pilot monitoring approach identified 33 gharial and 31 mugger crocodiles in the 46km stretch covered with a flight time of about three hours. Past crocodile counts in Nepal have primarily employed river and foot surveys; the 2016 count in the same river stretch identified 31 gharials. Nepal has been using UAVs in conservation since 2012 primarily for surveillance within protected areas to keep a check on and monitor illegal activities.
A report titled ‘Nepal Water Risk Scenarios and Opportunities for Resilient Development’ was launched on 15 November 2016 under the leadership of the government and supported by WWF Nepal. The report provides compelling narratives on three potential future scenarios that could affect Nepal’s economy through unsustainable use and mismanagement of water resources, further exacerbated by climate change. The report recommended the need for more holistic, inter-connected economic planning for actively integrating considerations about Nepal’s water resources into the government’s decision-making processes and to minimize unintended consequences on Nepal’s natural capital– particularly its river systems – while formulating policies and programs that view water, not as a natural resource, but as the country’s key economic resource.
WWF Nepal collaborated with Nepal River Conservation Trust to organize the 2nd National River Summit with the theme ‘Managing Rivers for Life’ on 16-19 March. The event brought together policy makers, government representatives, and delegates from different sectors and organizations. An important achievement of this event was the ‘Trishuli Declaration 2017’. A key element of the declaration was the call to declare at least one river in each of Nepal’s four large river basins as a free flowing river, ensuring the right of future generations on river resources.
WWF Nepal developed a “Guideline for Construction of Eco-Friendly Linear Infrastructure” in partnership with the Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), an umbrella organization of the private sector which includes membership of construction companies as well. The guideline informs policy on the need for eco-friendly linear infrastructure in ecologically critical habitats and needed design changes to safeguard wildlife. The guideline also provides a common platform among different stakeholders on best practices in developing ecologically sustainable infrastructure in the country. The CNI will be helping in implementing the guidelines through its member companies from the construction sector.
A policy dialogue was initiated targeting policy makers and decision makers of Nepal through the Legislature Parliament Committee on Environment Protection in order to build a common understanding of critical water resources management issues in the country. The dialogue covered topics related to complexities of water resources and river basin issues, water resources issues in the country’s new Federal Structure, and right to natural resources under the Constitution of Nepal. The dialogue is expected to be instrumental in informing future policy that addresses the current and future challenges on water issues through informed decision makers and parliament members.
WWF Nepal conducted a biodiversity assessment along a key section of Nepal’s east-west highway to identify various wildlife species and their migratory routes that could be affected by the government’s road expansion projects. This assessment focused on understanding and mapping the movement and migratory patterns of mega species such as tigers, rhinos and elephants, and identifying significant biodiversity hotspots along this section of the highway. This study provided preliminary indication of potential direct, indirect, induced and cumulative impacts to key biodiversity resources from likely road upgradation activities and provided initial recommendations on mitigation measures.
The Government of Nepal endorsed the Tiger Conservation Action Plan for Nepal (2016-2020) on Global Tiger Day. The action plan focuses on achieving Nepal’s Tx2 goal and is aligned with the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) and the strategic focus of WWF’s Tigers Alive Initiative. Likewise, the Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan for Nepal (2017-2021) was also endorsed by the government. The action plan will contribute to and complement the Global Snow Leopard & Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program goals and the Snow Leopard Conservation Action Plan (2015-2020). The Government of Nepal has sanctioned USD 500,000 to implement activities mentioned in the plan.
WWF Nepal joined the global celebration of International Snow Leopard Day by organizing a participatory art event in the historic Patan Durbar Square on 23 October 2016. The awareness event organized under the theme “Lend a Hand for the Snow Leopard” saw participation of people from all walks of life who came together to contribute their hand prints to a community canvas, as a symbolism and in solidarity with the elusive cat which converted into a stunning picture of a snow leopard. This International Snow Leopard Day marked the third year of the historic partnership between the twelve snow leopard range countries which culminated in the Global Snow Leopard and Ecosystem Protection (GSLEP) Program.
On March 25, Nepal celebrated Earth Hour with with a mass convergence of over 2,000 youth, musical band, opinion leader’s conservation partners and the locals in one of an ancient medieval city Bhaktapur Durbar Square -one of the UNESCO world heritage sites within Kathmandu Valley. The event saw, performance of distinct fusion of circus, theatre, dance and cutting edge art forms to create an exciting form of entertainment by Circus Kathmandu, musical performance by Nepal’s first female acoustic band and 60+ installation art created from recycle bottles, illuminated from the power generated by riding stationary bicycles.
WWF Nepal’s youth program, The Generation Green, leveraged on unique opportunities for youth to engage in Nepal’s conservation and sustainable development agenda. The Greenovation Start-up Challenge, a 54-hour rigorous start-up initiative, awarded four green business ideas based on organic produce, up-cycling and energy out of 50 ideas pitched. Likewise, the Seed Your Future campaign organized in ten schools in Kathmandu valley gave young people hands-on experience in sustainable urban farming within the school premises itself while also understanding value chains and market linkages for their produce.
Hollywood actor, Nicholas Hoult traveled to Chitwan National Park in Nepal to learn about Nepal’s and WWF’s conservation efforts to protect the other greater one-horned rhinos that are threatened by poaching and habitat loss, among other dangers. While in Nepal, Hoult also met with community members of Amaltari, the buffer zone of Chitwan National Park, to learn about their lives and their relationship with the wildlife surrounding them. As part of his work with WWF, Hoult and his two childhood friends, Carlos Adams and Nick Atkins, teamed up for a rigorous rickshaw run adventure in India in early 2017 to raise funds for rhino conservation along with supporting Teenage Cancer Trust.
In order to celebrate tigers and the work of individuals working on the frontline to help save them, WWF Nepal produced a four-part short film series to complement WWF’s #iProtectTigers campaign. The series featured four of Nepals’ Tiger Protectors: Hari Rani, a member of the local community-based anti-poaching unit in Khata Corridor; Panna Ram, a citizen scientist in Khata Corridor; Lt. Col. Rajendra Pant, Battalion Commander of the Rana Shardul Battalion in Bardia National Park; and Ramesh Thapa, Chief Warden of Bardia National Park.
|1. Terai Arc Landscape Program||156,548,072||129,133,909||145,478,981||186,522,386||232,508,318|
|2. Sacred Himalayan Landscape Program||104,587,917||122,259,127||81,658,331||107,452,235||129,332,488|
|3. Other Priority Programs||441,150,941||659,155,467||897,425,878||891,225,190||766,025,158|
|4. Administrative Expenditure (Levy)||17,129,622||8,540,378||7,633,621||13,092,348||22,781,873|
|Total Expenditure [1+2+3+4]
Figures in NRs