Capacity Building of Indigenous Peoples for REDD+ Implementation in Nepal

Sunday, January 3rd, 2021

With the financial support of the World Bank, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program has been implementing a one-year program on capacity building of indigenous peoples on REDD implementation in Nepal. The overall objective of the program is to build capacity of indigenous peoples to understand and to participate in climate change and REDD strategies, whereby the benefit of REDD implementation among stakeholders including indigenous peoples of Nepal is fully optimized. This program concentrates in the hills and the mountain regions of Nepal. Indigenous peoples of these regions are the target stakeholders of this program. NEFIN implements this program in coordination with its members IPOs and District Coordination Councils (DCCs) of the regions
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In context, an inception meeting with multi-stakeholders was organized as a kick off activity of the program. The meeting was held in Hotel Shangrila, Kathmandu on February 2012. It was followed by a work plan-workshop held on 1st of March, 2012. Eventually, the workshop came up with a work plan to implement project in six districts.

Major objective of the inception meeting is to inform and share the objectives, activities, target communities, and the overall goal of the program, with stakeholders of climate change and REDD. It also aims to have consultation, feedback, and the consent of the concerned communities, to implement the program.

The stakeholders that participated in the meeting included: Constitution Assembly Members, representative of the Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Forest and Social Conservation, line agencies, donors, I/NGOs, CBOs, NEFIN District Coordination Councils (DCCs), and its member IPOs. Participation of National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF), Nepal Indigenous Nationalities Students’ Federation (NINSF), Association of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities Journalist (ANIJ), Indigenous Youth Association of Nepal (IYAN), Indigenous Lawyer Council of Nepal (IELCON), and National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFDIN) was equally important for the meeting. All together, 79 participants including 64 men and 15 women attended the meeting (Annex 2 for the List of Participants).

Objective of the Work Plan Workshop is to discuss and exchange ideas for the implementation of this program in effective and efficient manner. It also aims to explore the best time to implement program at regional level and to agree on a work plan.

It was a one-day meeting. A documentary show about Indigenous Peoples’ Perspectives on Climate Change was an ice breaker of the meeting. Welcome speech and the introduction of the program set the context of the meeting among the participants. The first half of the meeting was scheduled for remarks from guests and the chief guest. The second half was allocated for three presentations, including of the government department for REDD-Forestry and Climate Change Cell, and of NEFIN, leading to a floor discussion.

Mr. Ram Ashweswar Mandal, undersecretary of MOFSC representing REDD Cell, presented a paper on National REDD Strategies in Nepal. Ms. Pasang Dolma Sherpa, National Coordinator of Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program showed an overview of Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program. Mr. Kumud Shrestha, a consultant of NEFIN, shared key points on the program, ‘Capacity Building of Indigenous Peoples for REDD Implementation in Nepal’. Then, the floor was opened for discussion. The meeting derived very constructive feedback from the participants. The multi stakeholder and participatory approach NEFIN used in conducting the meeting was also appreciated. Donors and other government sectors were sensitized on the importance of IPs and local communities engagement in REDD+ processes, and the critical need for capacity building for these particular stakeholders to engage and benefit from REDD+.

This section will provide a summary overview of: i) the inception meeting and; ii) the planning of the workshops to be implemented under the capacity building program.

The meeting accomplished remarkable outcomes. The chief guest of the meeting, Hon. Shanta Chaudhary, chairperson of Natural Resource Management Committee of the parliament appreciated the documentary shown in the beginning of the meeting. She also pointed the relevancy of the program indicating the challenges of climate change and mitigation process to IPs. She informed the meeting that her committee has prepared a report on climate change in the country. She also asked participants for suggestion to her committee. Hon. Ang Dawa Sherpa, Constituent Assembly Member shared the position of CA members on climate change and REDD in relation to indigenous peoples in the new constitution making. Likewise, Hon. Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar, representative from the Indigenous Peoples’ Caucus in Constitution Assembly said that the caucus has been keeping its effort to ensuring the rights of indigenous peoples in compliance with UNDRIP and ILO convention- 169. Jhak Bahadur Thapa Magar, vice-chair of National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities NEFDIN committed to take awareness and capacity building programs to the grass root level.

Ms. Pasang Dolma Sherpa, National Coordinator of Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program, presented the goals, objectives, activities, and the national and international partners of Climate Change and REDD Partnership Program. Ms. Sherpa stated that this program has a goal to contribute to the development of approaches in national REDD strategies that take both long-term forest conservation and the rights and concerns of indigenous peoples into account. She also mentioned the NEFIN’s work on awareness and capacity building programs, advocacy and lobby, livelihood programs, trainings, school programs, research, publication, and media campaign. Mr. Ram Ashweswar Mandal, undersecretary of MOFSC, in his presentation showed the status of national REDD strategy in Nepal. He shared how Nepal has been undertaking the process of R-PIN, formation of RWG, and the submission and approval of R-PP. He stated that Nepal, with the R-PP approved by PC, is now in the implementation phase. Mr. Mandal also presented the vision, principles, approaches, and institutional arrangement of REDD implementation in Nepal. Presentation of Mr. Kumud Shrestha described overall objectives, activities, and the implementing areas of the program. His presentation informed NEFIN’s member IPOs, DCCs and other stakeholder about the implementation strategy and process of this program in the regions.

In the floor discussion, representatives of the Ministry of Environment and the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation-the REDD Cell, appreciated and acknowledged the program. Representative of the ministry of environment asked for coordination and collaboration among the stakeholders. He also informed that MOE has developed climate change policies and vulnerability assessment. Government agencies such as Department of Forest, Research and Survey, and the institution like National Trust for Nature Conservation also acknowledged the program. Mr. Sahash Man Shrestha, Director General Chief of the Department of Forest Research and Survey, Mr. Juddha Bahadur Gurung, Member Secretary of National Trust for Nature Conservation-NTNC, put their point of views on REDD and IPs in the country.

Floor discussion reflected the relevancy and the need of program outreach to more locations. DCCs and IPOs were curious to know more about REDD Plus. They raised questions about carbon trading, indigenous people’s rights to forest and the detail about REDD and REDD Plus. Some of the participants voiced their concerns on whether REDD implementation is in compliance with ILO 169 or not. In the mean time, Bandita Sijapati (PhD), Gender and Social Development Specialist of World Bank, explained safe guarding policies of the Bank which further clarified the ideology of this program.

NEFIN had earlier proposed four locations for the implementation of this program. However, as suggested by the DCCs and member IPOs, NEFIN decided to add two more locations and implement this program in six locations across the hill and mountain regions of Nepal. At the end of the meeting, Mr.Raj Kumar Lekhy, chairperson of NEFIN, responded to the queries and acknowledged the suggestions of participants.

Capacity building training and workshop at the regions are the other activities of this program. The trainings provide knowledge about climate change and REDD Plus in relation to indigenous peoples and local communities. It aims to enhance the capacity of local IPs to understand climate change and REDD Plus, and community level mapping and reporting in REDD Plus process. It will be training cum workshop, meaning that the training conducted in interactive way and followed by discussion and experience sharing. During the training, participants will relate discussion on climate change and REDD+ with their everyday-life. The workshop brings the participants of the training together to share experiences and observations on climate change and REDD in relation to IPs. The workshops bring them together to relate local issues with the national and international discourses. It will reflect empirical information about Nepali IPs that would help stakeholders to internalize issues of climate change and REDD+. Regional trainings and workshops would lay the basis for national sharing and internalizing workshop.
In order to conduct capacity building training and workshop at the regions, , a Work Plan workshop was organized in NEFIN office. The Planning Workshop aimed to have a common understanding and a detail work plan. District Coordination Councils (DCCs) and member IPOs of NEFIN were invited in the workshop (Annex. 3 list of participants). All together 16 participants including 3 women and 14 men from DCCs, IPOs, and NEFIN actively participated in the workshop. The workshop had consultation and discussion in the processes. As in the inception meeting, participants suggested expanding the project from four to six regions. Consequently, as per the suggestions of DCCs and member IPOs, the workshop agreed to implement this program in six regions namely, Humla, Dolpa, Mustang, Shankhuwashabha, Taplejung, and Solukhumbu. The work shop identified the basis and rationale for expanding project activities to two more locations, mainly Solukhumbu and Taplejung as the other prominent areas to conduct the project activities because both of the districts fall in the Himalayan and Hill region with high concentration of IPs, therefore maximizing program reach and where the need of such program is essential.
During the discussion, DCC representative showed their readiness to coordinate from the local level. Thus the workshop nominated focal persons in each location (Annex. 4 for the list of focal persons). Focal persons are expected to have overall responsibility of coordination from the district. She/he along would send the names of candidates to take part in national level of training. Participants agreed to conduct a three-day national level training in April.
The workshop set the criteria on the basis of nominating participants for national training (Annex 5). As agreed in the workshop, regional or district focal persons would send the final list of the participants in national training by end of March, 2012. Regional focal persons would submit a proposal budget to conduct local level training in their regions. Depending upon the possibility, local level training would include the participants from the neighboring areas. Each region would conduct at least 2 trainings in their respective areas. Local training would be of 2 days. This workshop discussed about the feasibility and the social and agricultural calendar etc., and came up with the plan to conduct regional trainings. Dates are mentioned in the Work Plan (Annex 6 for the Plan of Action). Participants agreed that the regional focal person would submit training (local) report within two weeks of time after the training is conducted. Upon the required submission, NEFIN will transfer the final installment.

Government bodies: ministries and the departments, bio-lateral organization, I/NGOs and the indigenous communities’ remarked and acknowledged the relevancy and the significance of the program, ‘capacity building of indigenous peoples for REDD implementation in Nepal’. Distinct context of the indigenous peoples for the implementation of climate changes and REDD was reflected and acknowledged during the meeting. Both the inception meeting and the subsequent planning workshop generated a common understanding and a plan of action for the implementation of the program.