This case study highlights Nepal’s effort to identify synergies among various biodiversity-related Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs), Nepal’s Biodiversity and Strategic Action Plan (NBSAP), and national sustainable development indicators. It also highlights the role of Nepal’s National Biodiversity Coordination Committee (NBCC) in mainstreaming all biodiversity related conventions and biodiversity programmes within the national development agenda.
The NBCC is a 27-member body that is chaired by Nepal’s Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation. It includes representation by the government, academic sectors, independent experts and nongovernment organizations. This coordination mechanism built awareness about the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and NBSAPs in different Nepalese institutions and streamlined the process for meeting CBD obligations in each agency of the government.
NBSAPs are the principal instruments for implementing CBD at the national level. CBD COP 11 reiterated the importance of coherent implementation of biodiversity-related conventions by encouraging Parties to incorporate their objectives into post 2010 NBSAPs. Accordingly, parties were invited to involve National Focal Points (NFPs) of all biodiversity-related agreements, in the process of updating and implementation of NBSAPs and related enabling activities.
Nepal’s post-2010 NBSAP (2014) is a ready to use tool for SDG implementation that identifies synergies among biodiversity-related MEAs. It also stipulates activities that build upon existing structures to ensure policy coherence and efficient use of resources.
One of the challenges in implementing Nepal’s earlier NBSAP was the lack of coordination and synergies among various biodiversity-related conventions. The NBSAP did not explicitly incorporate measures to implement biodiversity-related conventions other than the CBD.
The action taken:
Nepal’s post-2010 NBSAP was revised using a highly participatory process, which included involvement from the NFPs of biodiversity-related conventions, such as the Ramsar Convention, CITES and the World Heritage Convention (WHC). District and community-level stakeholders also participated in the revision process. This consultation process ensured that the NBSAP strategies and actions incorporated the existing conservation work of different government agencies and NGOs, undertaken across a range of themes.
Nepal’s NBSAP 2014 - 2020 was drafted by the Biodiversity and Environment Division of the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation and the CBD NFP. The national government approved it in 2014. Following NBSAP approval, the NBCC was formed. The Minister of Forests and Soil Conservation chairs it. NBCC is the main national institutional entity for coordination and monitoring of biodiversity related programmes at the national level. Its members include staff from a number of different ministries, including the NFPs to the biodiversity-related Conventions listed above and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). They also established a subcommittee to review and harmonize implementation of the biodiversity-related conventions. The NBCC meets at least once in every six months.
Using the NBSAP revision process as an opportunity to harmonize the various biodiversity-related conventions provided a common framework to guide the development of new activities, initiatives and measures. It also enhanced the implementation of other conventions and raised awareness about the work of the NFPs focused on each convention. Cooperation among NFPs in the NBSAP process is fostering the transition from abstract targets related to each Biodiversity-related Convention into more implementable and tangible actions. Identifying synergies and overlaps among conventions at national level could thus foster the operationalization of the conventions at the sub-national level.
Establishing one main institution (NBCC) to coordinate and monitor Nepal’s biodiversity related programs at the national level brought together various departments, agencies and NGOs during the NBSAP revision and early implementation process. Mechanisms like NBCC ensured that the NBSAP captures the objectives of the NFP’s working under other conventions and that the NBSAP is well coordinated with other national strategies. The process helped overcome problems that had dogged previous NBSAPs. There is a wide sense of ownership among the NBSAP stakeholders.
Nepal’s 2014-2020 NBSAP represents the interest of a wide variety of stakeholders. Nepal’s NBSAP Strategy A “Harmonization of Biodiversity related International Conventions” calls for the establishment of a committee under the NBCC to:
- Review and harmonize biodiversity related conventions and treaties;
- Accede to the Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals;
- Initiate harmonization of national reporting of the three biodiversity related conventions, namely the CBD, CITES, and Ramsar; and
- Develop and implement joint capacity development programmes for the national focal points of biodiversity-related MEAs, including three targets: (i) significant reduction in the rate of loss and degradation of forests, (ii) improvement in the status of biodiversity by safeguarding ecosystems, species and genetic diversity, and (b) assurance of the poor’s access to environmental resources and decision making.
Nepal’s NBSAP 2014-2020 also highlights NBCC’s powers and functions, including to:
- Advise the Government of Nepal on matters relating to the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of biological resources.
- Develop and implement policies, plans and programmes for improving the conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of its components and equitable sharing of benefits.
- Coordinate the implementation of biodiversity related policies, plans and programmes by different ministries, local governments, and other agencies.
- Through the Council of Ministers, provide directives for the effective conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity by coordinating with different ministries and District Development Committees (DDCs).
- Coordinate with different sectors, projects and donors related with biodiversity.
- Arrange for prior informed consent and mutually agreed terms before facilitating access to genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.
- Arrange for providing intellectual property rights to indigenous and local communities through patent, trademark, or geographical indication of the products developed by utilizing their bio-cultural heritage including knowledge, innovations and practices.
- Prevent and control opportunities to obtain intellectual property right, by whatever name called, in or outside Nepal for any invention based on any research or information on a biological resource obtained from Nepal without obtaining the prior approval of the Government of Nepal.
- Supervise the works of the Environment Friendly Governance District Coordination Committee (EFGDCC).
- Provide political and institutional guidance for NBSAP implementation.
- Ensure that biodiversity related projects are in line with NBSAP goal and objectives.
- Set up different sub-committees as necessary, including a separate sub-committee on promoting synergies among biodiversity related MEAs, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Ensure that biodiversity related projects and annual programmes are aligned with the NBSAP goal, objectives and strategies.
- Ensure that regular monitoring of NBSAP implementation takes place.