V. MONITORING MECHANISMS AND ENFORCEMENT SYSTEMS
[ V-A | V-B
| V-C ]
C. Effectiveness of the existing mechanisms
It is premature to discuss strengths and weaknesses, and advantages and
disadvantages, of the monitoring mechanism under the new EPA. Under the
existing legislation, most of the provisions have been ineffective. Currently,
emphasis is being placed on the active participation of the stakeholder
in protecting the environment, and on the developmental aspects, particularly
in soil, forest and wildlife preservation. The sweeping authority vested
in the Department of Forests has
been scarcely brought to bear. It is proving impossible to remove people
who have encroached on forest land. Having failed through punitive measures,
a community forestry programme was started. Participation of the community
is now considered a must for protecting the environment. So that approach
has been adopted in the forestry sector. Some 5,000 community forests,
covering an area of 400,000 hectares, have been organized and handed over
to the respective communities. Only two instances (in Tanahu and Lalitpur)
have arisen where trees have been cut above the prescribed ceiling and
those cases are under litigation.
In wildlife preservation, for example, the success of the Annapurna
Conservation Area, the active participation of the local population has
been the cornerstone of success. Since poverty is the main factor behind
environmental degradation, the complementary development activities incorporated
within the environment protection programme constitute the most important
factor in helping the environment sector (box 2 and annex III to this chapter).
In the industry sector, in the absence of necessary regulations, enforcement
is possible only through persuasion, which is the approach now being employed.
Box 2. Annapurna Conservation Project
The Annapurna Conservation
Project (ACAP) presents a good example of success in conserving and managing
natural resources while at the same time promoting economic development.
In contrast to the conventional approach of policing and central control
in resource conservation, the project represents an alternative approach
in which resource management and development activities are simultaneously
carried out in a decentralized and participatory manner at the local level,
with the role of the authorities redefined as promoters and facilitators.
The underlying philosophy of the project is that resource conservation
on a sustainable basis is not possible without improvement in the economic
life of the local inhabitants whose livelihood has for decades been intricately
dependent on the resource base which is under increasing pressure, and
without their direct and active involvement. Hence the active participation
of the local community at all stages of project planning, implementation,
monitoring and evaluation has formed the cornerstone of this pioneer project.
The Annapurna region is scenically one of the most beautiful areas of
Nepal. The area is endowed with excellent habitats for diverse flora and
fauna, including a large number of rare and endangered species. It is also
a culturally diverse region. The problem of environmental degradation and
economic deprivation of the local people started to make itself felt in
the area with an increase in population, trekking tourism, deforestation
and over-grazing of pastures. To address the environmental and socio-economic
problems of this biologically and culturally rich area, ACAP was launched
in 1986 under the auspices of the King
Mahendra Trust for Nature Conservation (KMTNC), a non-governmental organization
created under a special act. ACAP now covers 55 Village
Development Committees in a total area of 7,629 sq km and is the largest
protected area in Nepal.
The King of Nepal is the patron and Prince Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah
is the Chairman of KMTNC. The association with royalty has naturally enabled
KMTNC to get necessary government support. It has a good rapport with the
key institution, the Department
of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. In addition, the dedicated
efforts of the chairman have made KMTNC a dynamic and effective institution.