WWF to terminate project after 18 yrsWWF Nepal has decided to terminate Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP) in Taplejung district by the end of this month, after 18 years of engagement in the region.
WWF Nepal has decided to terminate Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Project (KCAP) in Taplejung district by the end of this month, after 18 years of engagement in the region.
While authorities at WWF say that the decision to close down the project office from September is a planned activity and was already discussed with the locals and government bodies, the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council state that the former had decided to stay until 2017.
“We have closed down the project office but the support will continue both financially and technically. Now, the funds will be mobilised
directly to the management council represented by the local communities than through the project managed by us,” said Shiv Raj Bhatt, director of field programmes at WWF Nepal.
He, however, maintained that WWF is still working to come up with a final decision to decide the nature of future collaboration and organisation’s presence with Kanchenjunga community after ending the project in September.
Initiated as Kanchenjunga Conservation Area in 1998 by the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), in technical and financial support of WWF, the conservation area was handed over to the Kanchenjunga Conservation Area Management Council in 2006. The handover of the management to the local community was considered a landmark initiative and first of its kind in the country. The conservation area is spread over 1,650 square kilometres and consists of 1257 households.
“As a supporting partner to the government, we cannot stay in the same place for long and increase dependency of the community on us. We should have left soon after the handover to the local communities in 2006,” said Santosh Mani Nepal, director of policy and support at WWF.
“There are lots of other needy areas that need our immediate attention of work other than Kanchenjunga,” he added.
However, sources at the council say that poor coordination and mistrust led to the termination of the project.
“The local communities were not satisfied with the way the WWF was working with the project and had raised their concerns regarding inadequate investment for the community itself compared to the administrative cost required to run the project. However, WWF did not heed to their concerns,” said a member of the council in condition of anonymity.