Every development project needs to carry out an Environment Impact Assessment to make sustainable development in Nepal a reality says Trishna Singh Bhandari
Nepal, a landlocked country nestled between India and China, is home to unique arrays of biodiversity in the world. A part of the third pole, Nepal is facing the direct impact of climate change and species extinction at an alarming rate.
With glaciers melting, risk of glacial lake outburst floods, wildfires accelerating by the year, rapid and unplanned big infrastructure projects, deforestation and unstable political conditions, the situation is deteriorating by the day.
In Nepal, a gap in the economic structure persists. A section of the community including the youth are bearing the brunt of climate change impacts. Disasters such as flash floods, droughts along with the COVID-19 pandemic have left the marginalised and young population vulnerable and at risk.
Climate change impact in Nepal must be minimised. To do so, development and Environment Assessment should go hand-in-hand in the country. Unplanned and haphazard development should be discouraged while prioritising sustainable development in Nepal
Similarly, accountability of big projects and causes of disasters must be talked about. However, the reality is not keeping up with the urgent climate action demands.
People’s Alliance for Nature.
To address this problem, a group of youth came together to form an alliance called People’s Alliance for Nature Nepal (PANN) comprising youth groups, activists, environmentalists, experts, lawyers and Civil Society Organisations to urge the government to take immediate climate actions.
We demand development without destruction. It is not just about biodiversity but also about the lives of humans and communities linked to the forest, water resources, irrigation, food security and future generations to coexist with respect.”PANN
PANN is an organically grown group of individuals who have been working in various sectors of environment, education and media. Members of PANN come together to conserve, voice and educate the public about the natural habitats and threats to the environment in Nepal.
PANN was established in 2018 with the alarming news of 8000 HA of forest being wiped out to build an international airport in Nijgadh without proper Environment Impact Assessment in Place in Province 2, Nepal.
To create awareness and urge the stakeholders to realise the detrimental effects of Nijgadh Airport construction, PANN and “Don’t Press Media” produced a documentary. The documentary was screened in venues across Kathmandu with participants from media, government, and CSOs. The documentary was also nominated for the Global Sustainability Film Award 2021.
For sustainable development in Nepal.
PANN came into existence as a small group of women. It has now extended to many young minds with zest to save the environment. The alliance is bringing like-minded people, who believe in the conservation of nature and the environment. These people are making a difference, and creating a platform to share, explore possibilities, collaborate and network. Through discussion programmes, events, green festivals, PANN has fostered a platform for everyone can put forward their ideas and work to alleviate climate change.
This loose alliance was formed with passion and knowledge to bring empathy towards the natural habitat. The mission of PANN has always been development without destruction.”Haushala Thapa Magar, Co-founder, PANN
Street campaigns in Kathmandu and Nijgadh organised by PANN have been able to create awareness. The alliance has created more understanding of natural habitats coexistence with humans. With the efforts PANN with different stakeholders is trying to stop Nijgadh Airport construction. The project was put on hold by the Supreme Court of Nepal in 2019 for further investigation.
We are working towards conserving biodiversity, restoring ecosystems and questioning incompetent governance.”Shristi Singh Shrestha, Co-founder, PANN.
Eco-literacy through theatre.
PANN is promoting eco-literacy through its unique and creative children theatre programs “Anautho aath” or “Endangered Eight”.
Eight different endangered and vulnerable wild animals are identified and introduced to the children. They are asked to research the traits, habitats and threats of issues that surround these animals. Eight kids are assigned to play one specific endangered animal. Necessary technical aspects of the production are handled by the children under supervision.
It is important for children to ask questions about sustainable development. Every development project needs to have an Environment Impact Assessment. This needs to be a monitored and mandatory norm in Nepal. Young people need to be aware of how our resources are being abused in the name of development.
PANN invites all young people to come together and start asking questions. It also works together with the government to raise its voice for the environment.
These collaborative efforts have opened a new realm of youth engagement in the decision-making process. Young people are integral to the journey of climate mitigation and adaptation of the country.
Feature Photo by Adli Wahid on Unsplash
Photos Credit: PANN