Promoting Green Economy in Hill Areas of Nepal
Ashmita Pandey, Ujjal Tiwari
Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development (FORWARD Nepal), Agriculture, Nepal
Green Economy is alluring for Nepal, as it aims at poverty reduction and sustainable development without impairing the nature and ensure reduced carbon emission, efficient use of natural resources, and better social equity. Nepal has immense potential to achieve a sustainable economic growth, as it has agriculture and natural resources-based economy, which accounts for one-third of the total GDP. However, the stable economic growth has been impeded by the political economy and unequal distribution of resources. The hill region shares 42% of the total land area of the country, of which the forest blankets more than 50%. Agriculture, livestock and forest resources underpin the livelihoods of rural people in hilly areas of Nepal, but still many areas of hills are food insecure, as the majority of households have marginal land holdings. The over dependency of poor and vulnerable communities on forest resources for food, fuel and fodder, and the dominance of shifting cultivation in hilly areas has threatened agrobiodiversity, which is further aggravated by the climate change impact. So, realising green economy as an approach to sustainable development, Nepal has adopted and promoted various green initiatives. Nepal has emphasised community and leasehold forests to maintain the balance between conservation and consumption, which promotes sustainable use of natural resources. Renewable energy as biogas plants, improved cooking stoves, and solar technologies are getting wider attention among the rural poor, as they are energy efficient, environment-friendly, and also creates green jobs. In true sense, green economy is not different to the practices adopted by the smallholder farmers in hilly areas of Nepal. However, the promotion of local level green initiatives along with integration and strengthening of existing green economy policies could lead transformational shift to low-emission and climate-resilient sustainable development. Various stakeholders as civil society, government line agencies, eco-clubs, and private agencies are upscaling the resource-conserving practices such as integrated pest management, integrated nutrient management, agroforestry, aquaculture, organic farming, water harvesting, waste recycling, crop and livestock integration, and integrated land use management along with the promotion of small and medium green enterprises, which could pave a path towards a greener economy.
Keywords: Climate change, green economy, natural resources, renewable energy
Contact Address: Ashmita Pandey, Forum for Rural Welfare and Agricultural Reform for Development (FORWARD Nepal), Agriculture, Kathmandu, Nepal, e-mail: apandeyforwardnepal.org