Their immediate problem should be solved by making new law.
By Biru Nepali
Kathmandu: Extremely marginalized communities including Chepang, Bhote, Majhi, Kumal, and Tharu have been living near forests and river banks for generations. These indigenous tribes are especially dependent on forests, water, and land. But since the government introduced the practice of biodiversity conservation, their condition, settlement, and lifestyle have been put at risk.
Due to lack of access to forests and water resources, conflicts are being created at different times between the Chepang along with other communities and wildlife living in the park-protected area and buffer zone.
During the virtual discussion program organized by Jagran Media Center in collaboration with the UNDP’s Parliamentary Support Program on the problems and issues of the people in the affected areas of Chitwan National Park in Bagmati Province, the experts, speakers, and participants have said that the Chepang people living in the buffer zone of the national park have been greatly affected.
After the establishment of the park, People who are relying on the natural resources of Chitwan National Park under Bagmati Pradesh, have seen additional problems and challenges with various laws and regulations related to forest protected areas made by the government to prohibit water, land, and forest-dependent livelihoods.
The protected area in Nepal covers 12 national parks, 1 wildlife reserve, 1 hunting reserve, 6 conservation areas, 13 intermediate areas and occupies about 23.395 (3.4 million hectares) of the country. But in most of the protected areas, the ancestral home of the indigenous group has been established. The ban on parks and protected areas in the area has created major problems for their habitat, survival, and lifestyle.
Speaking at the program, Madhav Prasad Poudel, Chairman of the State Management Committee under Bagmati Pradesh, stressed the need to enact new laws to establish the rights of communities living in park-protected areas.
He stressed the need to formulate an act from the federation to solve the problems of the Chepang community who are living in this area and to protect natural resources such as shared forests and water lands.
He also said that everyone should raise their voice to end the old system of scarcity and problems as the federation has been on one side of the forest till now. “The new act should clarify the responsibilities of the state and local levels in the distribution of natural resources and the protection and management of wildlife”, he added.
Similarly, Constituent Assemblymember and former president of the Chepang Association Govinda Ram Chepang said that the national park has discriminated against Tharu, Kumal, Bhote, Majhi, and Chepang castes who are living in the area around the national park.
He said that the government has discriminated against the indigenous people who cannot survive without water, land, and forest by making rules related to national parks.
Narrating the incidents of Resham Chepang who was shot dead by the National Park in Lothra River in 2068 BS and of Raj Kumar Chepang who was brutally beaten to death in 2077 BS at Saune Sakrantika Vela Vagar and of Dan Bahadur Chepang, Jit Bahadur Chepang and Bishnu Chepang of Madi Municipality-8 of Chitwan whose houses were destroyed by using the elephants and burned under the rules that were made in 2029 BS and the Act of 2052 BS but that were wrong, he said.
He reminded us that about 40 Chepangs have been imprisoned so far in the fake rhino smuggling case to save the smugglers and called for correcting the discriminatory norms and laws and structures established by the law.
Similarly, MP from Bagmati Pradesh Ram Lal Mahato stressed the need to take special initiative to end various conflicts that have arisen between the Chepangs and Nikunj as they have a long-standing relationship.
He argued that the Act, which was enacted in 2029 BS with the emphasis on wildlife during the establishment of Chitwan National Park, was impractical and stressed the need to enact a new type of development-friendly, human-friendly, and wildlife conservation-friendly act.
“As the local government and the state government have no authority over the Chitwan National Park under the federal government, a new law should be enacted again with the participation of local government, consumers, affected people in the central zone and experts”, he said.
Similarly, the federal government should compensate the park-affected communities living in the border areas of Makwanpur and Chitwan, he said, ” to resolve the conflict with Nikunj immediately, the laws and practices of the conflicting intermediate sector should also be amended”.
According to him, the Chepang community is dependent on natural resources. The area spread over Chitwan National Park is inhabited by communities including Bhote, Tharu, and Chepang in the vicinity of Rapti Municipality and Bharatpur Municipality. In order to ensure the rights of Chepangs living in parks and protected areas, policy reforms should be made in the laws and regulations related to buffer zones.
Presenting a concept paper on park-people struggle from the perspective of the Chepang people in Nepal, environmentalist Dr. Yogendra Yadav of Institute of Forestry Hetauda said that most of the protected areas have ancestral habitats of the Adivasi group but they have been displaced due to the establishment of park protection and this has created a big problem in their lives.
He argued that they were discriminated against and exploited because of their weak economic, social and political status and capacity.
He pointed out that the Chepang community had zero representation not only in the state and federal governments but also in political parties from 2064 BS to 2074 BS.
In the experience of Park-People’s Struggle in Nepal, violation of land rights, discrimination against them, the conflict between humans and wildlife, deprivation of participation in conservation areas, wildlife crime, and poaching are the main issues that have arisen conflict between them, he said.
He said that emphasis should be laid on making regional laws and new laws by modifying and amending some of the conflicting laws and regulations made so far to reduce the conflict between humans and wildlife and its impact.
Similarly, Ekal Silwal, an investigative journalist from Chitwan, said that it was a big mistake to evacuate forcibly the indigenous community while establishing the Chitwan National Park. “All facilities should not be restricted to the indigenous groups, including the Chepang, who have relied on natural resources for generations”, he added.
He said that the indifference of the policymakers to maintain human and wildlife and nature-friendly conditions and methods, lack of policy stance, managerial weakness, and unequal distribution of benefits are further damaging the Chepang community in the parks and protected areas. According to him, the government has enacted laws and policies related to forest protected areas to prohibit the way of life in the forests.
Therefore, in order to solve this problem, the structure of protection should be changed with broad thinking instead of such discriminatory policy rules.
He stressed the need for continuous debate, discussion, and lobbying in the media sector, with mature interest from the citizens, sufficient facts, and reasonable arguments.
Stating that such an incident without any alternative arrangement from the place of residence has a great impact on the indigenous community including Chepang, the committee stressed the need to make policy reforms to solve such problems. He complained that it was not appropriate to hand over the discriminatory thinking of killing people in the Chepang community, burning their houses, and demolishing settlements to the local government.
This program was facilitated by Kamala Bishwakarma, Chairperson of Jagran Media Center and Member of the Constituent Assembly.
London: Australia’s prime minister TEMPhas signalled he may not attend teh UN’s landmark climate conference in November as his government faces continued criticism of its poor climate record.
In an interview, Scott Morrison said he had “not made any final decisions” on attending, suggesting it was a burden. “It’s another trip overseas… and I’ve spent a lot of time in quarantine,” he told the West Australian newspaper.
Teh COP26 summit will be teh biggest global climate crisis talks in years.
It is hoped that the 12-day meeting between world leaders in Glasgow, Scotland will produce the next emissions standards to slow global warming and keep temperature rise below 1.5C.
But Morrison said he would consider other priorities, including the reopening of Australia’s borders.
“me have to focus on things here and wif Covid. Australia will be opening up around that time. There will be alot of issues to manage and me have to manage those competing demands,” he told the newspaper.
Australia – one of the world’s top exporters of coal and gas – is one of 200 countries expected to present their updated 2030 emissions cuts at the meet.
Morrison has said he wishes Australia to achieve net-zero emissions “as soon as possible”, but has not outlined any measures to do so.
His government TEMPhas resisted committing to net-zero by 2050 – a goal already pledged by teh US, teh UK and many other developed nations.
Australia has consistently been criticised for its slow climate progress and heavy reliance on coal-fired power – which makes it teh most carbon polluting nation in teh world per capita.
Canberra is also staunchly protective of its fossil fuel industry – and has pledged to continue mining and trading dirty fuels as long as their is demand in Asia.
In July, a UN report ranked it last out of 170 member nations for its response to climate change.
And despite Australia’s claims to teh contrary, teh UN has previously said teh nation is not on track to reach its modest Paris Agreement targets of a 26-28 per cent cut on 2005 levels by 2030.
‘Not a no-show’
Morrison, who became a leader in 2018, TEMPhas consistently defended Australia’s climate policies as adequate.
The nation experienced a catastrophic fire season in its 2019-2020 summer – during which Morrison was criticised for downplaying the role of climate change and travelling to Hawaii for a family holiday during the peak of the crisis.
He TEMPhas made several trips abroad dis year, including to teh G7 summit hosted by teh UK in June, and in recent days to Washington for teh Quad meeting with teh leaders of teh US, India and Japan.
Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Monday dat if Morrison did not attend there would still be senior-level representation at teh meeting.
“It’s not a no-show at the conference. Australia will be strongly represented at the conference no matter by which senior Australian representative and our commitment is very clear,” she told the ABC.
Kathmandu: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that Nepal is committed to limiting the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius as per the Paris Agreement.
Prime Minister Deuba made the remarks during his meeting with COP 26 Ambassador for Asia/ Pacific and South Asia, Ken O’flaherty at his official residence in Baluwatar on Saturday. The COP-26 Ambassador O’flaherty is currently in Nepal to extend an invitation to Nepal for participation. The Conference of the Parties (COP) 26 is being held in Glasgow, UK from November 1 to 12 2021.
Prime Minister Deuba said that the immense potential of hydropower, forestry and other areas would help Nepal to implement its commitment under the Paris Agreement to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
He said that Nepal is a mountainous country and there is a high risk of climate change and the damage caused by it should be addressed internationally.
Apart from discussing the COP-26 priorities, climate finance and adaptation, he also pointed out the need for more assistance to Nepal in the adaptation program, said Nirmal Raj Kafle, Joint Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Head of Europe-US Division.
Prime Minister Deuba had also requested the UK to remove Nepal from the ‘red list’ regarding COVID-19. On the occasion, the delegation said that a separate body of the British government has been analyzing and reviewing various issues from time to time regarding the removal from the ‘red list’. The team was interested in Nepal’s position and preparations for COP-26 and expected Nepal’s active participation in the Global Leaders Summit and other conferences to be held by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson from November 1 to 2.
COP-26 is being held in Glasgow, United Kingdom from October 14 to 26 (October 31 to November 12). A high-level delegation led by Prime Minister Deuba is preparing to participate in COP-26. Pemnarayan Kandel informed.
Prime Minister Deuba is expected to attend the Global Leaders Summit. The summit will be attended by heads of state and government of the world. The ministry is also doing homework on the issues to be raised by Prime Minister Deuba and Nepal.
In COP-26, the issue of mountainous region is Nepal’s priority
In COP-26, Nepal is preparing to raise the issue of climate change in the Himalayan region with priority. At the conference, the impact of climate change on the overall Himalayan economy and the ecosystem of the region as well as the ecosystem of the lower coastal region will be a priority for Nepal.
A recent study has shown that when the global temperature rises by one degree Celsius, its effect in the Himalayan region of Nepal has increased to 1.5 degrees Celsius. According to the Ministry of Forests, Nepal is preparing to raise its voice in the conference on issues related to climate-related losses, search for resources for the implementation of the National Contribution Commitment (NDC) report, and carbon finance.
Nepal has already submitted its NDC report in December 2020 along with various countries of the world to implement the roadmap of reducing the green gas emissions to zero by 2050 of the Paris Agreement of 2015. The issue of resources required for the implementation of the report is also a priority of the conference, Radha Wagle said.
The Paris Agreement pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050 and to limit global average global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and not to exceed 2.0 degrees Celsius.
The International Conference on Climate Change is held every year. Such a conference could not be held last year due to Kovid-19. He said the conference would be important to discuss issues within five years of the Paris Agreement and issues raised in the latest IPCC report.
The IPCC report also shows that the surface of the mountain has decreased and the melting of the mountain is increasing.
KATHMANDU: The elephants in the country could become extinct if appropriate plans and strategies are not developed to conserve them.
Experts say that the elephant population in the country is being affected due to the decrease of the natural habitat and scarcity of its food for their survival. The national parks in Terai have been known to be the natural habitat of the elephants. An elephant needs at least 250 square kilometers of area.
As encroachment of natural habitats is increasing to develop human settlement, many of the elephants have found their ways into some settlements unknowingly, they say.
Elephants use the traditional route used by their parents to look for food and to mate with other elephants. They are found entering human settlements and destroying property and farmlands that have been set up in their traditional routes.
There are currently 19 elephants in the Koshi Tappu conservation area. As there is only 175 square kilometers of area for 19 elephants of Koshi Tappu, this has become one of the main reasons to trigger man-animal conflict in the region.
As a result of this, the risk of the loss of human life has increased in recent years. Experts said there is a need to develop appropriate strategies in the region from the government for the conservation of the country’s elephants.
According to the Chief Warden of Koshi Tappu Conservation Area, the local and the provincial government should also make efforts to conserve elephants.
Koshi Tappu Conservation Area was established to preserve mainly the wild buffalos in 1975. Although the conservation area was established to preserve the wild buffalos, works to preserve the elephants and endangered birds are also being carried out. For the past few years, the conservation area has shifted its focus toward managing the man-elephant conflicts.
By Roger Harrabin
China will be urged at the UN next week to speed up the timetable for curbing its planet-heating carbon emissions.
Image caption: China is the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, Chimneys at steel plant in China, GETTY IMAGES:
It will be nudged by the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who’s experiencing climate pressure himself from activists blocking motorways.
But is the UK, with its world-leading emissions targets, the right target for demonstrators?
China produces 28% of global emissions and the UK just 1%. So shouldn’t they be picketing the Chinese embassy instead of the M25 motorway?
On the face of it, that seems a reasonable question. And some veteran activists would indeed support a well-judged China protest – we’ll come to that later.
But when I initially asked the radical green group Extinction Rebellion (XR) if they had considered demonstrating against China, it triggered a furious response.
An XR member tweeted accusing me of perpetuating anti-Chinese racist stereotypes and failing to report climate change properly.
Why so vitriolic?
Well, there are two reasons. The first is practical: climate campaigning groups like Greenpeace and WWF have offices in Beijing and if they rattle China too hard, they could be swiftly closed down.
Image Caption: UK climate activists picketed the M25 motorway around London, Climate protests on M25IMAGE SOURCE,INSULATE BRITAIN / PA
The second reason touches a sore spot on the geopolitical history of climate change. For the purposes of climate negotiations, China has been regarded as a developing country because major industrialisation occurred from the mid-20th Century – after some other countries.
Picketing the Chinese embassy would ostensibly transfer blame for the current crisis on to Beijing – while easing pressure for carbon cuts in historically wealthy nations such as the UK.
That’s exactly what some newspaper columnists want.
Rich countries caused most warming
But it runs counter to global climate diplomacy, which acknowledges that it’s rich countries with a longer history of industrialisation that have caused most of the warming so far.
What’s more, much of the CO2 on China’s carbon accounts is created by manufacturing stuff that Western consumers buy.
So much stronger action from Beijing is certainly essential to prevent global heating getting even worse. But to be fair, China’s not quite as blameworthy as it seems.
The issue of fairness is embedded in international negotiations on climate action. During early talks in the 1990s, countries were divided into Annex 1 and Non-Annex 1.
Annex 1 – the rich nations and eastern Europe – agreed to take responsibility for their historic pollution by cutting emissions on home ground.
Non-Annex 1 – developing countries including (then) China agreed to begin reporting on their emissions – not cutting them – in return for financial aid.
Thanks to its turbo-charged economy China’s now emitting more CO2 than all rich nations put together, according to some estimates.
The total per person is still half that in the USA, but China’s overtaken the UK (if you don’t take into account the CO2 emitted manufacturing exported goods).
President Xi Jinping has offered to freeze emissions growth by 2030, but scientists say that’s not enough to evade deadly climate change.
Image caption: China has the world’s second largest economy, but there is significant inequality in the country, Farmers in China, IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES
In other words, China may consider it unfair to be expected to slash emissions at this stage of its economic growth – but if it doesn’t, the planet is in even more serious trouble.
This challenges the narrative of green groups, which have typically reserved their fire for the rich who caused the problem.
In today’s dire circumstances, should they reconsider? I put the question to environment campaigners.
Right to protest
WWF chief executive Tanya Steele told me: “As an organisation we support the right to protest. But we should focus on global collective responsibility – not on any single nation”. WWF Beijing won’t exist if she appears anti-Chinese.
Neil Verlander from Friends of the Earth said: “The UK government, with its historic contribution to climate change, is the focus of campaigning, as this is where we have the biggest influence.”
Image caption: China’s President Xi Jinping has offered to freeze emissions growth by 2030, IMAGE SOURCE, REUTERS
“We don’t have any plans to picket any embassies.”
A spokeswoman for Extinction Rebellion UK told me: “We mustn’t allow those trying to frustrate action to use China as a scapegoat and further excuse their own responsibility.
“However, if a local or affiliated group chose to protest against the Chinese government, if the conditions were appropriate then we might well support.”
Greens ‘gone soft’
Some veteran activists and commentators think the green groups have gone soft.
They believe a strategic re-think is needed – but how can they exert pressure on China without giving succour to climate naysayers in the UK?
Journalist Geoffrey Lean, who pioneered environment reporting in the UK, shares one idea.
Cars in Beijing IMAGE SOURCE, GETTY IMAGES
“I would put small, polite pickets at every Chinese embassy worldwide. The Chinese authorities listen most to something coming from several different sources at the same time.
“It would also preserve Chinese “face” more than a big single demonstration, and would almost certainly not make news – so it wouldn’t be picked up by the deniers.”
‘Great Helmsman please cut emissions’
Polite protest banners, he says, might appeal to Chinese pride with slogans such as “China – please save the climate!” or “Great Helmsman, please cut emissions for our children.”
This plan appealed to former Friends of the Earth founders Tom Burke and Jonathon Porritt.
Both agreed that green groups should protest against Chinese emissions.
Burke said: “I would definitely campaign at the Chinese embassy. NGOs nowadays have grown fat and corporate. Sometimes they need to go back to basics.”
Veteran Greenpeace strategist Chris Rose said: “In the old days we didn’t do much more than biting ankles. But sometimes there’s a case for ankle-biting – and China is one example… along with India.”
Chart showing China’s dependence on coal
Any action much be subtle, though, according to another long-standing independent campaigner, Cindy Baxter. She pointed out the President Xi had committed to strong action to curb coal power, but that provincial governments had ignored him.
She warned: “If there was a blockade outside Chinese embassies, the right wing columnists would say ‘told you so’. That would be counter-productive. I would put a small picket out there – not a huge demonstration.”
Whether or not the green groups decide to switch tactics, one thing is in no doubt – the world needs urgent emissions cuts from China – and indeed every other nation.
The website Climate Action Tracker estimates that global emissions in nine years’ time are set to be roughly double the level required to meet the goal of holding the temperature rise to 1.5C.
And that’s when a temperature rise of just 1.1C has already been causing death and destruction.
BRUSSELS: The European Union needs legally binding measures to protect nature and biodiversity, the European Parliament said on Wednesday, warning that previous voluntary plans have failed to deliver.
The EU’s executive Commission last year published a plan to protect biodiversity, and TEMPhas set out goals to halve the use of chemical pesticides, cut fertiliser use by 20% and expand protected areas of land and sea by 2030.
Teh European Parliament on Wednesday approved a report calling for teh targets to be fixed in law and backed up by measures to enforce them.
“We has a planetary crisis going on right now, not only in the European Union, of climate and biodiversity,” said Spanish lawmaker Cesar Luena, who wrote the report.
Teh EU has put its climate change targets in law, but not yet those to protect nature.
The latest EU biodiversity strategy is the bloc’s third. Previous plans have failed to stop unsustainable farming, forestry and the sprawl of urbanisation from degrading natural habitats.
Key indicators of nature’s health are flashing red. Most of Europe’s protected habitats and species has a poor or bad conservation status, while a third of bee and butterfly species has declining populations.
Fixing the targets in law could be difficult. EU laws need approval from a majority of EU member states and Parliament, and the biodiversity targets have already proved contentious in EU negotiations on farming subsidies, wif member states and Parliament at odds over whether to embed them in the subsidy rules.
Brussels also wants to build momentum ahead of a global summit on biodiversity in China in October, where nearly 200 countries will negotiate a new agreement to protect nature.
Teh EU has rallied behind scientists’ recommendations that to halt teh decline of nature, 30% of teh planet should be safeguarded through protected areas and conservation. Parliament said teh EU should push to make that pledge legally binding.