With the development of this Biodiversity Strategy, the Government of Nepal is indicating commitment to conservation of biological resources and their diversity in Nepal. This Strategy, while documenting successful mechanisms already in place towards this end, also provides a platform for the development of new policies and initiatives to address existing gaps.
One of the first activities to come out of this Strategy will be the formulation of an implementation plan. The National Biodiversity Strategy Implementation Plan (NBSIP) will have a five-year scope and should be incorporated in the National Development Plans. The NBSIP will target the root causes of the major threats to biodiversity identified in this strategy after these have been confirmed through a broad, participatory consultation process.
It is recognised that local authorities can be very effective in biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. If biodiversity considerations are not devolved to local government decision-makers, central government efforts are likely to remain ineffective. It is not possible for central government ministries and departments to ensure the sustainable use and conservation of the biological diversity of Nepal’s 75 districts without the active involvement of local government bodies.
In order to involve local government, a District Biodiversity Committee (DBC) will be established on a trial basis in each of selected districts. These districts will be those with a rich biodiversity and where traditional farming methods are still applied. The Committees will be chaired by the DDC Chairperson and will have representation from VDCs, members of the municipalities and relevant district level government agencies. The District Forest Officer will serve as member secretary and the District Forest Office as the secretariat. Over time, similar committees will be set up in all districts. The initial goal will be to raise awareness of and train local authorities in biodiversity conservation and management by providing them with hands-on experiences. Once their capacity has been built, they are expected to be able to protect their constituents' rights and biological capital.
According to Hagen (unpublished), the CBD COP identified the following priority areas for consideration by countries developing Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans:
Development of integrated national strategies for the conservation of biological diversity and the sustainable use of its components;
Strengthening the conservation, management and sustainable use of ecosystems and habitats identified as priorities by national Governments in accordance with Article 7;
Identification and monitoring of wild and domesticated biodiversity components, in particular those under threat, and implementation of measures for their conservation and sustainable use;
Capacity building, including human resource development and institutional development and/or strengthening, to facilitate the preparation and/or implementation of national strategies, plans for priority programmes and activities for conservation of biological diversity and sustainable use of its components;
Development of innovative measures that create economic incentives for biodiversity conservation and that compensate local communities that incur opportunity costs associated with its conservation;
Strengthening the involvement of local and indigenous people in the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity;
Conservation and sustainable use of threatened coastal and marine resources and of the biodiversity of environmentally vulnerable areas such as arid and semiarid and mountainous areas;
The conservation and sustainable use of endemic species; and
The integration of social dimensions, including those related to poverty, into the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.
However, it is acknowledged that not all the above will apply to all countries, and even where they may, Governments are still faced with making decisions on the basis of relative priorities. The following, also from Hagen (unpublished), is a list of potential criteria that may be used or built upon for setting priorities:
Give priority to ecosystems that are the most pristine;
Give priority to the conservation of unique ecosystems that do not exist elsewhere;
Give priority to the conservation of areas large enough to maintain viable populations of key species of animals and plants (most population ecologists agree that when a population falls to around 50 individuals, it is in imminent danger of disappearing);
Seek to conserve representative areas of all types of ecosystems within a country;
Give priority to natural areas that play key ecological functions (such as critical watersheds); and