National Partners trained on Participatory Ecosystem Based Planning and Management

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ICIMOD, in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Division (WCD) of Department of Forest and Park Services (DoFPS), Bhutan, organised a seven-day regional training on Participatory Ecosystem Based Planning and Management (PEBPM) in Haa, Bhutan from 5-11 August 2015. The main objective of the training was to strengthen the participants’ knowledge on PEBPM. With training, participants could better facilitate the planning process with multi-stakeholders in other pilot sites of the Kangchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) and develop comprehensive conservation and development plans for their respective landscapes. Twenty-eight  participants from Bhutan, India and Nepal attended the training. The training was facilitated by Renzino Lepcha, a seasoned consultant and lead resource person; Kamal Aryal, Natural Resource Management Analyst, ICIMOD and Dr Bidhubhusan Mahapatra, Survey Research Specialist, ICIMOD.

The program was divided into two sessions: a theory session and a hands-on session. The theory session included an overview of the KLCDI, principles, concepts and processes of various participatory tools, and approaches and experiences of earlier Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) exercises. The hands-on session included PRA group in-class exercises and with the local people in Bji Gewog. Each day, new tools were introduced and group exercises were conducted on their application. Field exercise information was gathered, compiled, and analysed. On the final day during the multi-stakeholder’s workshop, a presentation was made in the local language. 

Participants will be able to apply what they’ve learnt whilst preparing a pilot level implementation plan. The program was well received and highly appreciated by the participants and the local community members. A pre- and post-training assessment was conducted to determine the level of change brought about by the training in terms of the understanding and knowledge of the participants on various participatory approaches of ecosystem management and planning. Eighty-six percent of the participants rated that they had ‘better knowledge’ of the PRA tools after the training, compared to only eight percent prior to the training. Participants mentioned they would be able to facilitate a similar process in other pilot sites.

Namgay Wangchuk, Chief Forestry Officer, Jigme Khesar Strict Nature Reserve, Bhutan, began the  session with a welcome. He said ecosystem management was the core of the KLCDI programme 

and the training on PEBPM was relevant and timely. Sonam Wangchuck, Chief, Wildlife Conservation Division appreciated how KLCDI had evolved over the years. He expressed his gratitude to ICIMOD for bringing stakeholders together in a common platform where all could share their experiences. 

Dasho Paljore J Dorji, Senior Advisor and Deputy Minister, National Environment Commission, Bhutan, closed the session with a traditional Bhutanese Marchang ceremony, asking the local gods and deities for a successful and fruitful event. Dorji expressed his love for the Kangchenjunga region as his student life had been spent around the Mount Kangchenjunga. He thanked ICIMOD for raising awareness on Kangchenjunga and for teaching people to coexist with nature. Dorji concluded his remarks saying  cooperation between the countries needed to continue.