What are some of the second generation problems currently facing community forestry in Nepal?
Deforestation is on the decline and there is now a clear vision of what we need to do to protect our forests. But there are still improvements to be made. The bureaucratic process, for example, is difficult to understand, slow and complicated.
In the past, the Division’s Forestry Office controlled monitoring and accountability, but it is now in the hands of the courts, which involves more actors and allows for corruption. In addition, courts sometimes interpret forest laws differently, and confusion over whether forest law or criminal law should prevail opens a major loophole for those who wish to exploit our natural resources in unsustainable ways.
Likewise, policies are not well designed to manage private forests. Not all settlement clauses are implemented in the same way in all regions. And there is no guarantee that policies are implemented the way they were designed. Too many rules and regulations can be confusing and contradictory.
What can we do to solve these problems and achieve the 2030 target?
We can start by creating a clear roadmap that defines the roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders. We need to streamline the legal detention process illegal slaughterers and poachers indebted. The current process is cumbersome, expensive and unreliable.
When it comes to private forests, what we need from the owners are incentives, not just command and control. I hope the goal of achieving 45% forest cover also includes private forests in Nepal.
In addition, it is also important to operationalize and liquidate forest credit, and to explore innovative performance-based financial products. In this way, we can establish financial incentives to protect the forests and achieve the goal set in Glasgow.
In March 2021, the Government of Nepal and the World Bank signed the Emission Reduction Payment Agreement for the Tarai Arch Landscape Emissions Reduction Program, which is a good example in this context.