Article | 10 Avr, 2024

Stakeholders commit to new GEF project implementation in Nepal

A Global Environment Facility (GEF) funded project in Nepal named 'Restoring the degraded watershed and livelihoods of Lakhandei river basin through Sustainable Land Management’ held its inception workshop in Lalbandi, Sarlahi district of the Madhesh Province on 7 April 2024.  The purpose of the inception workshop was to raise awareness among stakeholders about the project and familiarise them with the project activities, while also addressing any shifts in the overall context that could impact project implementation.

Approximately 40 attendees from various sectors including government, civil society organisations and private sector took part in the workshop.

"This is the priority project on watershed management for the Madhesh province and we all should now give focus on its effective implementation. We expect the effective cooperation and coordination from all stakeholders to achieve the results in timely manner", said Ramesh Prasad Kurmi, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Madhesh Province, addressing the workshop.

Mr Gyanendra Kumar Mishra, Under Secretary of the Ministry of Forests and Environment, Government of Nepal (GoN) provided the detailed overview of the project and highlighted the financial management and monitoring mechanisms.

"IUCN as an intergovernmental organisation, is always ready to leverage multilateral financing from different instruments and provide technical assistance to the GoN. The evident ownership of the project across various levels demonstrates that this project has the potential to be transformative in successfully restoring the degraded watershed and support livelihoods of communities of the Lakhandei river basin", said Anshuman Saikia, Portfolio Manager Asia and Oceania - Multilateral Finance (GEF, GCF).

GEF Nepal Participants of the inception workhop Photo: IUCN/Amit Poudyal

"As the project has gained national to local level ownership, we can make this a good replicable model project and it cannot be successful without the support of stakeholders at different levels”, said Mr Uddhav Bahadur Ghimire, Provincial Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment, Madhesh Province in his closing remarks.

The Lakhandei river basin of Sarlahi district suffers massive degradation due to landslides, soil erosion, droughts, forest fire, invasive alien species, deforestation, over grazing, in the upstream and floods, inundation and sedimentation in the downstream. This project, which will be implemented from 2024 up to 2027, aims at improving land and landscape governance, restoration of degraded landscape through increased participation of local communities, increasing investment in sustainable land management and developing value chains.

The project has four components - Adaptive land governance; Scaling up best practices of sustainable land management; Investments in watershed restoration; and, Watershed restoration stewardship. Under these components, the project is intended to achieve four outcomes and eleven outputs to restore degraded watershed and livelihoods of Lakhandei river basin through sustainable land management.

IUCN serves as the GEF implementing agency for this project, while the Ministry of Forests and Environment (MOFE), Government of Nepal, has assumed the role of the executing agency. The Ministry of Forests and Environment (MoFE), Madhesh Province Government is the executing partner. The USD 8.5 million project was approved by the GEF 7 replenishment to provide USD 1.5 million financial support whereas the GoN will provide co-financing of USD 7 million.