Harsh reality goads Nepal NGOs into action
THE RAPID deterioration of Nepal's environment has had one positive outcome -- the country's environmental NGOs have begun to take the threat to their country's eco-system more seriously. Even the membership of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists increased by 50 per cent over the last year.
One group, the Nepal Environment Conservation Group, collaborated with the Nepal National Committee for Man and the Biosphere in developing the country's National Conservation Strategy. Some NGOs are also attempting to reach out to children. Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA), for instance, works at sensitising children to nature and making them aware of the principles of sound, natural resource management. ECCA has organised more than 50 camps in Nepal and late last year, its head, Anil Chitrakar, was invited to organise three children's camps in Bhutan.
The abysmal state of the Bagmati river has also triggered a flurry of activity. Following a successful walkathon to turn the spotlight on the environmental abuse of the river, the Save Bagmati Campaign is pressing for a halt to construction on the banks of the river.
The Nepal Heritage Society, working with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the National Planning Commission, is compiling a comprehensive register of heritage sites.
Everest Corps, a fledgling organisation set up on May 29, the anniversary of the first successful assault on Mt Everest, promotes "environmental tourism" and seeks to raise public awareness on the need to maintain the fragile ecological balance of the Himalaya. The group has plans to start publishing a magazine to be called Everest Voice.
A private consultancy firm, East Consult, combines ecology with business and has implemented development projects and a rural development programme in the Gorkha region. It provides consultancy services in the socio-economic, engineering and human resource development sectors.
The Support Activities for Poor Producers of Nepal facilitates the work of NGOs of training farmers at the grassroots and making them self-reliant. It works in Makwanpur and Baitadi districts and has four projects each in Gorkha and Dhading districts.
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