MPs, community reps seek NTNC’s tenure extension

  • acap management handover
- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
MPs, community reps seek NTNC’s tenure extension

Jan 10, 2015-Lawmakers and community representatives from five districts around the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (Acap) have proposed a five-year extension of the project’s management authority to the National Trust for Nature Conservation (NTNC).

A week before the ministry to decide the fate of Acap, local representatives and parliamentarians from Kaski, Myagdi, Manang, Mustang and Lamjung met with forest officials and recommended a gradual handover of the conservation project to the local communities in the coming years. NTNC, a semi-autonomous authority under the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation, has been managing Acap since its inception in 1986.

During a meeting with Forest Minister Mahesh Acharya on Friday, the delegation put forth their demands including safe transition of ACAP region, formulation of handover regulation for smooth transfer of the management authority to local communities and finally the sustainable management and conservation of the project.

“There is a debate going within the conservation partners, local communities and government about the future of Acap. The government is planning to take the central authority, while the local communities want the management to be handled by the community-led bodies,” said Navaraj Sharma, a CPN-UML lawmaker from Myagdi district.

However, there are challenges facing the handover of Acap management to the local communities due to the absence of local bodies, lack of constitution and issues such as state restructuring that will define natural resource management and benefit sharing among the local communities.

“We discussed over the transition period and proposed five-year tenure of the trust. Within five years, the country will have a new constitution where the issue of natural resource management and its benefit sharing will be defined properly along with the state restructuring that will contribute to a successful management of the conservation area by the local communities,” Sharma added.

Acap, piloted in 1986 as an integrated conservation and development project in Nepal, is regarded as one of the successful conservation models that incorporated community-based conservation and sustainable development approach. The management of this particular project was hailed globally for its attempt in incorporating community interest, ownership and partnership.

According to Sharma, though the proposal wants to extend NTNC’s tenure by five years, it seeks formulation of regulation to allow gradual handover of the management to the local communities over that period.

In the meantime, the local communities should be empowered and capacitated to manage the project on their own before officially getting the management ownership.

Earlier going against the plan–to put local communities at the helm–as envisioned at the established of Acap, the ministry had proposed an alternative management plan, giving sole authority of the project to the government and its officials at the decision-making level.

Published: 11-01-2015 09:25

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