Friday, 21 January, 2022

Forest should be utilised for prosperity: Minister Basnet

Photo Courtesy: RSS

Kathmandu, Dec 28: Minister for Forests and Environment Shakti Bahadur Basnet claimed on Saturday that his Ministry was not an impediment for infrastructure development but a means for prosperity.
Minister Basnet said this in an interview to Rastriya Samachar Samiti (RSS)'s reporters Ramesh Lamsal, Ashok Ghimire and Hemanta KC.
Stating that the Ministry has brought a policy for utilisation of forest resources for economic prosperity, he expressed the belief that the results of this would b achieved in the coming days.
Answering a question about the allegations that his Ministry was becoming an obstacle for development, the Forests and Environment Minister strongly denied the allegation and said the Ministry was for taking ahead environment conservation and development hand in hand maintaining balance between them. He added that the Ministry has put in place policy and legal system and also brought programmes and plans to that end. He said the Ministry would strongly stop the rampant destruction of the environment while seriously considering facilitation of very essential development projects.
In this connection, Minister Basnet acknowledged that certain policies and laws might have also affected the development works and the Ministry has reformed such laws. Provisions for conducting Brief Environmental Assessment have been made for facilitating construction of small projects.
He also mentioned that provisions have been made according to which the local levels themselves can conduct the IEE for local projects, the province governments themselves can carry out the IEE and EIA for the province-level projects and the Ministry of Forests and Environment the IEA of the federal projects.
To the question regarding the debate over cutting down trees for the construction of the second international airport at Nijgadh and how the airport construction project would be moved ahead, Minister Basnet said, "We are for construction of the international airport with minimum damage to the forest and environment. This is what is called balance between development and environment. The Ministry of Forests and Environment and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation have reached a common conclusion regarding this topic after many rounds of discussions. We have forged a common understanding to construct the airport with minimum damage."
Asked about how was Nepal addressing the problem emanating from climate change, Minister for Forests and Environment Basnet said issues related to the climate change is the primary agenda for Nepal and that there were some internal aspects of environment as well. "This year we have brought strategic work plan for controlling pollution in the major cities of te country including in the Kathmandu Valley."
Stating that although Nepal's contribution to the production of the so-called Green House Gas is miniscule at 0.027 percent, he said it is bearing the brunt of the climate change in the form of rapid melting of glaciers in the Himalayas and other environmental hazards.
The Minister said that for this the Ministry has been strongly lobbying in the international forums for getting the funds from the Green Climate Fund and other several related funds. "We have secured around 40 million US Dollars for the first time from Carbon trading mechanism and we are confident that next tranche of 32 million US Dollars would be approved in March."
He asserted that this fund received from the Green Climate Fund would be spent on the development and use of clean energy and its technology.
According to him, this money is also spent on promotion of climate adaptation and capacity building for adaptation.
Minister Basnet also said that the government has effectively mobilized the fund received from other international agencies for environment protection sector. "For example, we have started a programme of nearly 100 million US dollars supported by WFP in Kalikot, Mugu and Jumla districts. We have also implemented the ecosystem based adaptation project of around 550 million in Dolakha, Salyan and Achham. Similarly, programmes have been started in some districts under the Nepal Climate Change Support Programme.