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Published on Feb 21, 2013
Nepal is a country of exceptional beauty, with an astonishing cultural diversity. Yet, besides the exceptional beauty of the majestic Himalayas, its natural resources, forest, rivers, mineral resources and fertile soils, are also the lifeline of Nepal's 90% population. And account for over 40% of the country's GDP. For decades, the isolation of Nepal has helped to maintain the pristine nature of this environment.
However, over the last few decades, Nepal's natural capital has been degrading rapidly. Soil erosion, the loss of biodiversity, shortage of water, changing wheatear, are affecting food production, health, incomes and the environmental security of Nepal's growing population.
This environmental degradation is especially affecting the poor.
These challenges fostered local Governments to take the lead to take a more Sustainable development path. Thanks to a financial scheme that rewards with bigger budgets those local administrations that are exceeding in sustainability and thanks to the media's work to promote a greener development path, a number of local governments have launched multiple pioneering initiatives.
Dhading District Development Committee and Rupandei District Development Committee, are part of the local governments that have increased the funds they allocate to green development. Actions include subsidizing biogas and solar panels installations and promoting sustainable agricultural practices.
Interview to local Development officer Rupandei -- Narayan Gyawali "Every year, our development plans become more environmentally friendly. It is our priority to be more sustainable.
Interview to Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Government Official "Now local bodies start to allocate more budget on environment and poverty related issues."
Heavy machinery to extract natural resources has been banned from these areas.
The Poverty-Environment Initiative works with the National Planning Commission and the Ministry of Local Government and Federal Affairs, to support the greening efforts of Dhading and Rupandei districts.
PEI works to ensure that Environmental Impact Assessments and Initial Environmental Examinations are conducted while planning projects such as the construction of roads or the extraction of sand, gravel and stones. In order to ensure that these activities do not harm key ecosystems and that they employ local labor.
Moreover, PEI supports the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Government to conduct trainings to local government planning officials. The aim is to design sustainable infrastructure, climate change adaptation and mitigation interventions, energy efficient solutions and organic farming.
Pramila Dallakoti is 27 years old; she is a social mobilizer of Jogimara Village committee of Dhadding district. She works to ensure that communities adopt new technologies and practices such as bioengineering, energy efficient cooking stoves, biogas or sustainable road construction methods and understand their benefits.
The work of the Nepalese local governments to achieve a more sustainable development path is already having a great impact on rural people livelihoods.
For Arjun Kumari Mala, starting to use biogas and organic farming changed her life and the life of her five children.
Constructing road with environmentally friendly methods has resulted in the creation of thousands of green jobs.
The Nepalese local Governments decision to invest in greener technologies and practices to achieve more sustainable development is a change that deserves without any doubt international attention.