General

Nepal seeks to spread community forestry programme across SAsia

  • Saarc mini summit
- ANIL GIRI & LAL PRASAD SHARMA, POKHARA

Mar 16, 2016-Nepal has officially proposed to share its successful experience and expertise in community forestry management to the rest of South Asia during the ongoing 52nd programming committee meeting of the Saarc ministerial meeting.

Nepal’s flagship community forestry management programme was widely acclaimed and well received by other member states and forwarded for consideration to the higher bodies to take a final call.

The upcoming meeting of Saarc Standing Committee at foreign secretary level that will convene on Wednesday will further take up the matter, said Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mani Sharma Bhattarai, who is leading the Nepali delegation at programming committee meeting. The multi-year programme is widely successful in Nepal which has over 13,000 community forestry users. The programme has been instrumental and contributing for income generation, biodiversity, livelihood, and climate change and poverty alleviation among others. 

“We want to gift this successful model to the rest of South Asia. Other member states have taken it positively,” said Bhattarai.

This was only one new proposal tabled in the meeting besides other regular and already set agendas, including combating terrorism and extremism from the region which, was widely discussed, but member states could not arrive at final conclusion. They have called for a joint mechanism to combat terrorism and extremism which will be discussed at foreign secretary level meeting on Wednesday.

The meeting also tried to settle paper work for establishing a regional planning council, an apex body to execute various infrastructure related projects, but no agreement has been made so far. 

On the issue related to the establishment of regional planning council for sectoral cooperation in Saarc, the meeting decided that the matter would be taken up at the next session of the programming committee, as the member states need more time to furnish their comments on the concept note prepared by the Saarc Secretariat, said Bhattarai.

The meeting made little headway on sub-regional cooperation, Saarc motor vehicle agreement and Saarc regional grid and energy.

The meeting discussed and took up matters related to the Saarc specialised bodies: South Asian University (SAU), Saarc Development Fund, Saarc Arbitration Council, Saarc Regional Standards Organisations and matters related to agriculture, veterinary, seed bank and project-based cooperation with Saarc Observers.

Likewise, the meeting also discussed information and media and formed a working group of heads of the national TV, radio and news agencies for audio/visual exchange programme. Saarc lacks a body to look after media and information after Saarc Information Centre and Saarc Documentation Centre were shut down recently.

The meeting finalised activities of Saarc Energy Centre for 2016, directed the South Asian University to commence undergrad programmes as early as possible and ensure regional representation in appointments, particularly, in appointment of the vice presidents.

The meeting also recommended the SAU to ensure geographical representation in faculty members and students as well. The PC meeting also directed the Saarc Development Fund to ensure the geographical representation at the SDF Secretariat headquarters in Bhutan.

Foreign secretaries from all member states have already arrived in Pokhara to take part in the Saarc Standing Committee meeting at foreign secretary level. 

The meeting on Wednesday will take up new matters and agendas including those forwarded by the programming committee meeting concluded on Tuesday. They are also holding bilateral talks in the venue and discussing a wide range of bilateral and regional issues.

 

Published: 16-03-2016 08:27

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