BIODIVERSITY CONSIDERATIONS IN STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT: A CASE STUDY OF THE NEPAL WATER PLAN
BATU KRISHNA UPRETY
Biodiversity conservation has been promoted in Nepal (within and outside protected areas) over the last three decades through relevant policies and legislations. The government has encouraged the participation of people through community user groups in managing the biodiversity and sharing the benefits. About 50 percent of the total revenue generated in protected areas is provided annually to such groups for resource management and community development activities. Forests are also managed by involving community users. Recently, attempts were made to manage biodiversity through an environmental impact assessment (EIA) process. The Nepal Biodiversity Strategy (2002) and Water Resources Strategy (2002), under implementation, recognise the role of EIA in mainstream biodiversity conservation in development programmes. However, biodiversity is under immense pressure due to infrastructure, water resources and socioeconomic development programmes and projects. His Majesty's Government of Nepal has made a policy commitment in its Tenth Plan (2002â2007) to carry out strategic environmental assessment (SEA) of development plans and programmes. Pursuant to this plan, an SEA has been carried out for the 25-year Nepal Water Plan. This plan is designed to, inter alia, promote the development of hydropower, irrigation, water-induced disaster management and drinking water programmes. This paper outlines the general understanding and knowledge of SEA in Nepal and examines how the SEA of the Nepal Water Plan addresses biodiversity aspects. It also outlines problems faced, and challenges and opportunities for strengthening SEA and its use to conserve biodiversity in Nepal.
Biodiversity, strategic environmental assessment, Nepal Water Plan
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