ICIMOD support key in the development of the Rangeland Policy of Nepal

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Rangelands have long been regarded as areas of scientific, historic, religious, and cultural importance. These ecosystems make significant contributions to national economies, their unique habitats host a rich biodiversity, and in local communities rangeland resources provide the source of countless livelihoods. To encourage the effective management, conservation, and usage of rangelands leading to their sustainable development, ICIMOD's Regional Rangeland Programme has taken the initiative to support the formulation of rangeland policies in several regional member countries. After ICIMOD began the process of policy consultation workshops in Nepal in 2006, the impact of the programme’s efforts is now being felt. In April 2012, the Rangeland Policy of Nepal was approved by the Cabinet of Nepal.

After the Regional Rangeland Programme’s (RRP) initial consultations with Nepal’s Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives (MoAC) on the development of a national policy on rangeland management in December of 2006, a task force of major stakeholders was established and discussions on technical issues were held. Analysis was carried out to evaluate the current status of resources, resource use patterns, and the current legal framework. Following this, ICIMOD helped the Government of Nepal formulate a national policy on rangeland resources management, including the provision of technical and financial support for the creation of the Rangeland Policy Formulation Committee (RPFC) composed of members from the MoAC and other key ministries and stakeholders. 

In 2008, with support from ICIMOD, key members of the policy formation group were sent to the 21st International Grasslands Conference/8th International Rangelands Conference in China and on an exchange visit to Bhutan to share and discuss the problems, constraints, opportunities, best practices, and lessons learnt on rangeland policy formulation with their counterparts in countries with established rangeland policies. These trips broadened the vision of the RPFC members, and the knowledge they gained proved beneficial to the ongoing rangeland policy formulation process in Nepal. 

ICIMOD also supported workshops where important stakeholders were able to offer their inputs to the policy process. The policy drafted by the RPFC was presented at three regional workshops in Biratnagar, Nepalgunj, and Pokhara which included the participation of key stakeholders, including herder communities. The revised draft was presented at the National Consultation Workshop on Rangeland Policy in Kathmandu 12–13 October 2010, which was attended by over 40 people including the Secretary of the Vice President’s Office and the Secretary of the Ministry of Forestry and Soil Conservation. The draft policy was further refined with input from the workshop before submission to the national cabinet, where it was given its final approval in April 2012.