Forest users decry government Chure conservation programmeCommunity Forest Users’ Groups (CFUG) have protested the government decision to ban activities like foraging, tree felling and excavation of sand, stones, and minerals in Chure region.
During the sixth national community forest workshop in Kathmandu on Monday, the Federation of Community Forest Users’ Nepal (Fecofun) said the decision was non-participatory and discouraging for the communities involved in Chure forest conservation.
“Around 4,000 CFUGs are managing forests along the Chure, but no consultation was carried out with them while formulating the new programme,” said Ganesh Karki, chairperson of Fecofun. “Rather than handing over the ownership of Chure to the communities living along the region, the government formed a separate committee at the centre without informing the locals and taking their concerns.”
Karki added that the decision was against the Convention on Biodiversity and the Forest Act that defines the engagement of local communities and consultations with them while formulating any forest-related programmes and activities.
CFUG members have claimed that any programme or policy formulated without concerning the locals participation will fail to deliver positive outcome.
Ganesh Joshi, secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, said the decision was indispensable to protect Chure and millions of people from serious environmental disaster, especially in the Tarai.
“The government understands that conservation wouldn’t be effective in lack of people’s participation, and we want to ensure their meaningful engagement in all level,” Joshi said.
On Monday, the government had decided to form a high-level President Chure Tarai-Madhes Conservation Development Committee, and declared Chure as Environment Conservation Zone, prohibiting all human activities inside the region.