VI. INFORMATION AND TRAINING
A. Existing information dissemination measuresIn implementing the National Conservation Strategy, efforts towards conservation awareness have been comprehensive and fairly systematic. Dissemination of information formed the most important aspect, and several measures have been undertaken to disseminate information among various sections of the population. Major actions taken so far are described below.
The incorporation of environmental subjects in education has been the most significant action. The National Education Commission submitted a report on the subject in 1992, which NPC accepted, incorporated the recommendations of the report in the Eighth Five-Year Plan. In 1992, an environmental subject called "My Surroundings" has been taught in Grade I. That was progressively followed up by including the subject in Grades II and III in 1993 and 1994, respectively. It was introduced to Grades IV and V in 1995 and 1996, respectively, under the title of "Environmental Science and Health Education". In 1996, the subject "Population and Environmental Education" was introduced to Grade VI, and was to be included in Grade VII and Grade VIII in 1997 and 1998, respectively. It was planned to produce an introductory text for Grade IX in 1997. Thus the mechanism for information dissemination among the upcoming generation has been systematically instituted through formal education.
It should be noted here that necessary measures have been taken to train teachers for teaching environmental subjects in schools, and environmental subjects have been incorporated in the Bachelor of Education curriculum. Environmental subjects have also been introduced in various training centres such as: the Women's Development Centre; the Hotel Management and Tourism Training Centre; the training sections of the Departments of Forest and Soil Conservation; the Agricultural Training and Research Institute; and the Nepal Administrative Staff College. In the non-government sector, the important measure taken has been the formation of the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) which organizes training for journalists and, through them, the distribution of information materials. In addition to NEFEJ, other active NGOs include the Environmental Camp for Conservation Awareness, the Environmental and Public Health Organization, Young Artists Group, Sarwanam Street Theatre Group and Aarohan Street Theatre Group, which are active in information dissemination.
Video films, street theatres, wall posters, newspapers, radio programmes etc., are the main means used for communication. In the course of promoting conservation awareness, the NGOs organize camps and training to disseminate simple and cost-effective skills, technology and related information on ways to reduce pressure on the national resource base.
Seminars and symposia are the more popular methods used to communicate with the more highly educated members of the population. With the importance being given to the environment, there is no dearth of financial and technical donor support for organizing such programmes. Recently organized seminars have included a two-day workshop on the "Role of NGOs and the private sector in environmental protection", which was held in February 1997 by the Ministry of Population and Environment, and a seminar on "Integrated environment and economic planning", organized in January 1997 for senior policy makers and policy analysts, and jointly sponsored by NPC and the Economic Development Institute (EDI) of the World Bank. The seminar provided an excellent forum for cross-fertilization of ideas and identification of sectoral issues related to the environment and development among policy makers and policy analysts. One of the messages of the seminar appears to have been that the aid recipient countries should address the growing environmental concerns of the donor agencies by a systematic integration of environmental dimensions into the overall development process and economy-wide policies. As Nepal is heavily dependent on external resources for financing its development activities, it is very likely that its efforts to integrate environmental issues into the economic decision-making process will influence the attitude and response of the donor agencies in future. Therefore Nepal has to build up its capability of assessing the impact of economic decisions and reform measures both on environment and development by introducing new tools and techniques as suggested in the EDI/World Bank seminar. However, to do so, it will not be enough to organize seminars and workshops. It is also necessary to organize and expand the database and to conduct on-the-job training of core manpower with expertise and assistance from outside.
For the past 14 years, an NGO called Jarajuri has been making use of
a trust fund to award prizes to individuals and institutions making outstanding
contributions to environmental causes. Such prizes are given annually in
a special function attended by high-level policy makers and government
representatives, donors, NGOs and the private sector. Recently, an NGO
called the Nepal Environmental Artistes Group was formed with the objectives
of preserving the art and culture of the country and raising public awareness
about the environment through painting, sculpture and photography. A number
of national- and local-level NGOs are engaged in sanitation activities
and waste disposal in cooperation with local communities.