Jailab Rai ForestAction Nepal (www.forestaction.org) Tribhuvan University, Nepal (www.cdsatu.edu.np) How Cultural Sites are Complementary to the Protected Areas in Nepal?: Innovations for the Ground 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 population • 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 …) 40000 35000 30000 25000 20000 15000 10000 5000 0 Date 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 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 (23.23%) – 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 Area • 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 system) • “The biodiversity of our area is conserved through our religious belief and practices (Ang Bahadur Lama-local leader)” 3. “Chum Valley” Conserved Area • More than 3700 HHs in two villages (upper/Chumchet and lower/Chekampar) • 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 leader)” 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 practices • 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 practices • 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 hills, • 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 marry) • Management: Village Users Committee • “We are conserving this forest for our forest goddess. So, our goddesses protect us from misfortune (Pancha Bahadur Chepang-Local leader)”. 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 forest) • Management: Conservation through local management committee 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!