Policy Dialogue program on Landslide Management in Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities
Introduction and Program Setting
The Policy Dialogue program on Landslide Management in Nepal: Challenges and Opportunities was jointly organized by DPNet-Nepal, Institute of Himalaya Risk Reduction, Nepal Engineer's Association, and Bagmati Province on 19th December 2020. The program was chaired by the President of Nepal Engineer's Association Er. Nanda Lal Banjade, Dr. Ganga Lal Tuladhar, Former Education Minister and DRR&M expert joined the program as a chief guest whereas, Mr. Surya Bahadur Thapa, Chairperson of DPNet-Nepal and Prof Dr. Tri Ratna Bajracharya, President Nepal Engineers' Association joined the program as a Special Guest.
Mr. Surya Bahadur Thapa welcomed all participants on behalf of the organizers. He briefly introduced DPNet-Nepal. He stated that Nepal is a disaster-prone country and we have been facing recurring water-induced disasters. We have legal documents on DRR&M, but still, we are behind in preparedness to address the multi-impact of such disasters. There is a need to sensitize the local level and also to enhance their capacity to manage risk. I believe that the discussion today will be useful and the speakers will provide insights about the gaps challenges to address landslide management in Nepal.
Dr. Narayan Chaulagain, Climate Change Expert, Chair, Nepal Engineer's Association, Bagmati Technical Committee presented Landslide Management under Climate change. He presented the perspective of landslide management and climate change. His presentation included the climate change science (what is it?), what is climate change, it's impact, causes of landslides, the relation between landslide and Climate Change, Landslide management under federalization. He emphasized on transforming dozer development into sustainable development considering the environment, social and economic triangle.
Dr. Basanta Adhikary, Assistant Professor Pulchowk Campus, Former Deputy Director, Centre for Disaster Studies, IOE moderated the presentation session.
Er. Suresh Raut, Chief Planning and technical Section/DRR Focal Person of Bhimeshwor Municipality presented the "DRR Policy and Landslide Risk reduction: Experience of Bhimeshwor Municipality, Dolakha. His presentation included the DRR&M Act, Policy and Strategic Action Plan at the municipality level, identified sector in the municipality and their status and policy provision and implementation status of landslide risk reduction in the municipality. He focused on the need for coordination between the Provincial and Local Governments for landslide risk management. He concluded that creative work like community based early warning system can reduce the impact of natural landslides.
Mr. Shiva Kumar Baskota, Senior Divisional Geologist, Department of Mines and Geology presented "Activities of Department of Mines and Geology in Landslide Research and its role in DRR". His presentation included the studies and findings of landslides in monsoon conducted by the department of mines and geology. He shared about the emergency geological studies providing the information that 107 settlements of 8 districts were studied in detail for stability. He also shared about the major types of landslides in Nepal, approaches and future plans,s and lessons learned. The future plan included the use of geophysical instruments for landslide investigation, the use of GPS for precise location, and change detection.
Er. Shristi Regmi, Deputy Mayor, Budhinanda Municipality, Bajura presented the challenges for Landslide risk management in the local Government, Experience of Budhinanda". Her presentation included the data, pictorial information, and glimpse of loss and damage of water induced disasters in Bajura district, power roles and responsibility of DRR&M committee of the Budhinanda Municipality. She emphasized applying IEE and EIA before the project starts and also shared that the lack of adequate budget allocation for DRR&M in the municipality is challenging.
Mr. Prakash Singh Thapa, Under Secretary, watershed, and Landslide Management Division, Department of Forest and Soil Conservation presented the possibilities of collaboration and opportunities of Watershed Management and Landslide Risk Reduction in the Federal Structure. His presentation included the status and possible causes of the landslide, activities of soil conservation and watershed management, provisions of constitution and policies, possible coordination/collaboration, and work with three tiers of Government. He focused on the need for human resource management, capacity building, land use mapping, and preparation of watershed Atlas, etc for managing the landslide.
Mr. Dinanath Bhandari, DRR&M Practitioner presented the "Landslide Risk Management in Federal Nepal Issues and Challenges". His presentation included understanding the causes of landslides in Nepal, improving DRR&M Governance, mitigating erosive practices, connecting sectoral dots (studies, practices, etc) is challenging. He also said that multi-sectoral effort, longer-term joint research, stakeholder involvement is required for managing landslide risk. He further shared the good practices as risk mapping and zonation for appropriate land use, integrated watershed management, risk-sensitive construction, etc.
Prof. Dr. Bishal Nath Uprety stated that we need to take DRR&M seriously. It's 30 years since we have been working on DRR&M, however, we are not able to work systematically. There is no clear mandate for who is responsible for preparing the landslide hazard risk map at National Level. There is a need for standardization of parameters for preparing the landslide hazard map. We invest lots of resources in preparing a map but it's not in use, we need to have a scientific map. Hydrologists/meteorologists, geologists, and civil engineers are required in a team to study landslides, all local levels may not afford to appoint such technical human resources, so at least the district can afford to appoint these technical persons.
Dr. Ganga Lal Tuladhar in his remarks shared the long-term vision of Nepal Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali, it's the ambition of the Government, goals, and strategies to achieve the ambition. He shared the framework of the vision, the formation of different councils and committees relating to DRR&M in Nepal. He emphasized the need for a comprehensive study deploying the technical team to study the major landslides and the establishment of integrated settlement understanding the linkage between settlement and livelihoods. The state should listen to the opinion of experts, technicians and science should be prioritized by the state to move ahead in an innovative way for DRR&M in Nepal.
Er. Nanda Lal Banjade, chairperson of the program in his closing remarks stated the dozer practice in Nepal is related to the political economy which is directly related to the landslide in the hilly region of Nepal. Land use policy, integrated settlement, and watershed management is required for reducing the disaster risk He thanked the chief guest, speakers of the program, moderator of the program, participants, and organizers for their presence in executing the program successfully.