Paving the Way for a Sustainable and Resilient Future in the Lower Narayani River Basin.
In a momentous collaborative effort, Department of Forests and Soil Conservation (DoFSC) and Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), WWF Nepal in collaboration with SAHAMATI have launched the “Nature-based Solutions – The Triple Benefit Program” in the Gindri area of Nawalpur and the Khageri watershed area of Chitwan, regions celebrated for their communities, wildlife, and climate.
This transformative project, spanning from January 1, 2023, to December 31, 2025, with a generous budget of DKK 5,250,000, is generously supported by WWF Denmark and funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Denmark (DANIDA). The primary objective is to enhance prosperity and biodiversity in the Lower Narayani River Basin, focusing on sustainable water resource management for the rising Narayani River.
At its core, the initiative aims to create a climate-resilient Lower Narayani River Basin that not only enriches ecosystem services but also reduces community reliance on natural resources. Key stakeholders, known as “duty bearers,” will play a pivotal role in harnessing nature-based solutions for sustainable development and biodiversity conservation.
Homnath Suvedi, chairperson of SAHAMATI, highlighted that the project, set to be completed within three years, will involve an investment of NPR 99.3 million in the Gindri and Khageri watershed areas of Nawalpur and Chitwan.
In Bharatpur, during the project’s inauguration, Rajesh Sada, the Head of Freshwater Programs at WWF Nepal, highlighted the project’s central mission: to reduce the local community’s reliance on natural resources, safeguard forest and aquatic ecosystems, and promote livelihoods that are firmly anchored in nature-based solutions.
Rajesh Sada passionately emphasized, “This project represents a significant leap towards the development of a resilient Lower Narayani River Basin. We are collaborating closely with local communities, government authorities, and various organizations to introduce innovative nature-based solutions that not only shield and rejuvenate our ecosystems but also curtail our dependency on natural resources. Through active engagement with all stakeholders, our aim is to ensure the well-being of our environment and communities.”
Narayan Adhikari, Chief of the Chitwan District Coordination Committee, emphasized the potential for this project to enhance coordination between local governments and facilitate development. He underlined the importance of increased support from the District Coordination Committee.
Dan Bahadur Gurung, the mayor of Ichchhakamana Rural Municipality, drew attention to the changing state of the Khageri River’s mouth, urging concerted action to address riverbank erosion.
Ramprit Yadav, former president of Chitwan National Park, highlighted the pivotal role of nature-based conservation in mitigating challenges such as deforestation and limited livelihood opportunities.
Balkrishna Khanal, Assistant Forest Officer of the Division Forest Office Chitwan, elucidated the connection between Khageri Khola and the lifelines of western Chitwan. He underscored the importance of curbing pollution in the river, which was once a source of sustenance through fishing and agriculture but now carries plastic waste.
Prakash Dhungana, Chairman of the Chitwan National Park Mid-Region Management Committee, called for proactive measures to prevent plastic waste from entering the river.
Hem Pathak, Planning Officer at the Forest Directorate, proposed a coordinated effort with local governments to address pollution and the changing dynamics of the river.
A multitude of stakeholders in the fields of forestry, environment, and conservation expressed their well wishes for the success of the project, highlighting the imperative of effective implementation. Hariprasad Sapkota, the Executive Director of the project, is dedicated to streamlining the program.
- Redefining Forest Management for Climate Co-Benefits: The project involves local communities and the Department of Forests and Soil Conservation (DoFSC) in curbing factors driving forest degradation. It encompasses capacity building in forest fire management techniques, support for Community-Based Organizations (CBOs) to enhance institutional capacity, afforestation and regeneration initiatives, and integrated grazing and livestock management.
- Collaborative Watershed Management: Effective collaboration between government authorities and local communities is essential for sustainable watershed management. The project tackles challenges such as riverbank erosion, landslides, gullies, and wetland restoration by building the capacity for Nature-Based Solutions (NbS) implementation. It also advocates for sustainable river aggregate mining practices and efficient water usage.
- Empowering Vulnerable Communities and Indigenous Peoples: The project seeks to empower vulnerable Indigenous Peoples and local communities with the knowledge and skills required for resilient livelihoods, increased income, and improved food and water security. It places a strong focus on empowering women, youth, and Indigenous people with leadership skills to facilitate their active participation in community decision-making.
- Promoting the Health of the Narayani River: The project equips local communities, youth, and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) with the skills and strategies needed for effective advocacy against water pollution and unsustainable river aggregate mining. It also enhances the organizational capacity of a local CSO dedicated to this mission.
- Engaging with Duty Bearers for NbS Promotion: The success of nature-based solutions depends on the active involvement of “duty bearers” in mainstreaming NbS into development plans and policies. The project advocates for the integration of Human Rights-Based Approaches (HRBA) into the decision-making process, with a strong emphasis on equity and inclusivity.
Read the project brief here: