Protected Areas in Nepal - World Indigenous Network

Jailab Rai
ForestAction Nepal (
Tribhuvan University, Nepal (
How Cultural Sites are Complementary to the
Protected Areas in Nepal?: Innovations for the
Outline of the Presentation
• Indigenous Peoples in Nepal;
• Protected Areas (PAs) in Nepal;
• How Cultural Sites/Territories are Managed and Conserved by IPs in Nepal;
• How Cultural Sites of the Indigenous peoples are complementary to the PAs
in Nepal;
• Challenges and Opportunities .
Indigenous Peoples in Nepal
• 125 Caste and ethnic groups identified/
listed by National Census 2011
• 59 IPs officially recognized (in 2002)
• Other 23 recommended by High
Commission for the Study of IPs in 2011
(total 81)
• IPs cover about 37 % of total national
• Scattered but in particular geographical
regions or areas
Protected Areas in Nepal
• 20 protected areas (PAs)
• 23.23% of country’s territory
covered by PA
• 4 types of management categories
(5 including Buffer Zones)
• Diverse issue and concerns of IPs
out of PAs in Nepal (livelihood,
cultural recognition and dignity …)
1973 1976 1984 1987 1991 1992 1996 1998 1999 2002 2004 2005 2006 2009 2010
Areas 932 4412 9,659109841248420113213612682727657280762849328791292043079936279
Forms of IP Conserved Areas in Nepal
• Forms
– Sacred landscapes
– Grazing and rangelands etc.
– Wetlands
– Ponds
– Lakes
– Community forests
– Religious Forests
– Landscape Connectivity
– Ramsar
• Size
– Large
– Medium
– Small
• Location
– Within formal PAs
– Outside the formal PAs
• Geography
- Mountain,
- Hill and
- South Plain (Terai)
1. Khumbu Sherpa (Serwa)
Conserved Area
• More than 50 communities, more than 120
grazing lands,
• Location: within Sagarmatha National Park
(1976) in East eastern Mountain
• Conservation: Beyouls- God gifted territory,
hidden valley, non-sacrificing culture
• Management : customary laws and practicesSingi-Nawa - Village assembly as decision making
body (for grazing lands, forest..)
• “We are conserving these territory since long
history but state do not give us recognition
(Tenzing Tashi Sherpa-local leader)”
2. Pungmo Village as IP Conserved
• Two villages- divided into more than 4 customary
grazing clusters
• Location: Western Mountain, inside Shey-Phoksundo
National Park (1984)
• Conservation: Through religious belief and practices
(Bompo religion: non-sacrificing culture)
• Management: Customary practices (rotational grazing
• “The biodiversity of our area is conserved through our
religious belief and practices (Ang Bahadur Lama-local
3. “Chum Valley” Conserved Area
More than 3700 HHs in two villages (upper/Chumchet and
Location: inside Makalu Conservation Areas (1989) spreads up
to China boarder
Conservation: Through religious belief and practices (Buddhist
religion-non-sacrifice), formally declared as “non-sacrifice
territory” in 1921 by the villagers (Rimpoche as a prist)
Management: Customary practices (hidden valley, sacred
place), awareness and proactive roles by local communities
“People of our area are real conservationists but state has not
recognized and respected our practices yet (Neema Lama-local
4. “Sikles” as a Conserved Area
• One of the oldest/traditional settlement area of
Gurung indigenous people
• Inside Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA)
(1986) in Western hill
• Conservation: Through religious belief and
• Management: Customary practices (Chiwa
system-decision through village head[s]) of
grazing land and forest resources
• “Our ancestors conserved and managed all these
areas. We also can do the same but existing PA
laws and legislations do not give us this rights
(Man Bahadur Gurung, Chiwa)”.
5. “Panchase” Religious Forest
• Meeting points of 9 VDCs and 3 districts in
Western Hill of the country (Gurung IPs)
• The government has declared it as Protected
Forest (in 2011)
• Pilgrim, wildlife corridor to connect south
plain and north mountain/ACA in
• More than 589 plant species, shelter of the
various types of animal species
• Conservation: Through religious belief and
• Management: Panchase Development and
Management Committee
• “We are conserving this forest for our
historically rooted religious beliefs. But
recently, the government has declared it as PF
which made us confused and discouraged in
our initiatives and practices (Gopal Gurunglocal leader)”.
6. “Dhampus” a Community
Conserved Area
• Location: inside Annapurna
Conservation Area (ACA) (1986) in
Western Mountain,
• Conservation: Through religious belief
and practices, religious forest
(Baraha, Deurali, Gumba …)
• Management: Conservation Area
Management Committee (CAMC)
7. “Akaladevi” Community
Conserved Forest
• Location: Homelands of the “Chepang” IP in Mid
• Conservation: through religious belief and practices
(forest as shelter/home of the forest goddesses,
misfortune if any one cut down the forest), Chiuri
tree for cultural values (gift for daughter when
• Management: Village Users Committee
• “We are conserving this forest for our forest
goddess. So, our goddesses protect us from
misfortune (Pancha Bahadur Chepang-Local
8. “Bajhrabarahi” Religious Forest
Newar Indigenous Community Conserved Religious
Forest inside Kathmandu valley,
Rich in biodiversity: about 168 types of plant species
and shelter of 48 bird species
Location: about 12 KM South east in Kathmandu Valley,
Conservation: through religious belief and practices
(misfortune if any one use piece of plant/tree of the
Management: Conservation through local management
9. “Tau-Daha” a Community
Conserved Wetland
• Small pond located in10 KM West in
Kathmandu Valley
• Conservation: through religious belief and
practices (misfortune if any one pollute
water of the pond)- belief about the shelter
of serpent-god, rain-god
• Management: Conservation through local
management committee
Common Features of IP Conserved Area
• Cultural meaning and values of the land and territory
• Socio-cultural Association with traditional land and territories
• Interrelation between cultural diversity and biological diversity
• Customary laws and practices not only related with traditional
livelihoods but also contribute to the biodiversity conservation
Challenges of IP Conserved Areas in Nepal
• Identification and recognition of diverse practices
• Political instability and political polarization
• Misconception, misunderstanding and miss-interpretation of the
rights of IPs
• Lack of enabling policy environments
• Lack of awareness, capacities, skills (different levels and actors)
Opportunities for IP Conserved Areas in Nepal
• Recognition through:
– International legal context (WPC 2003, CBD COP 7-PoWPA 2004, IUCN/PA
Categories 2008, CBD COP 10 in Nagoya Japan, ILO 169, UNDRIP)
– Strengths form the international movements, campaigns, and networks
– National Legal context (recent progressive policies, NG as party to ILO 169,
Constitutional provisions, adoption of state’s inclusive policies)
– National campaigns, movements and networks
Innovation for the Ground: Why Recognition?
• Identification of diverse practices and initiatives
• Respect and reward local initiatives
• Self-identity and self-respect
• Strengthen collective efforts
• Sustainable biodiversity conservation
• Reduces state’s burden to the biodiversity conservation
• Strengthen local democracy
• Culture of respecting cultural diversity and identity
• Increases the size and number of biodiversity conserved areas
Thank You!

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