NEPALGUNJ – A program organized to exchange knowledge and experience acquired from Paani Project operated by the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists with the assistance of USAID has concluded on Sunday.
Urban Development Minister of the federal government Mohamed Istiyak Rai, officials of Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) and staff of Paani Project had participated in the program organized in Nepalgunj.
Speaking at the program, Minister Rai praised the works carried out by Paani Project and Nefej for the protection of aquatic animals. Saying that NEFEJ had played an instrumental role for the formulation of laws to conserve the environment and for raising awareness among the people about the importance of environment, he said that the government is committed to lend its helping hands. He further said that the concerned authority should also think about future consequences while carrying out development works.
General Secretary of NEFEJ Nimesh Regmi informed the participants about the Paani Project. Thanking Paani Project for coordinating with NEFEJ to conserve Rapti, Karnali and Mahakali rivers, he said that Paani Project has made an important contribution for the conservation of aquatic animals.
On the occasion, Field Team Director of Paani Project Bhaskar Bhattarai said that Nefej had effectively organized a communication campaign in the last two years in 12 wetland areas from Rapti to Mahakali (Jhimruk, Mid-Rapti, Phoksundo Suligand, Lower Karnali, Mid-Karnali, Tila Karnali, Rara, Thuligand, Bogatan Lagam Karnali, West Seti, Lower Mahakali and Rangun wetland areas).
“NEFEJ had been operating TV and radio programs and also online portal by establishing regional office in Nepalgunj to implement this campaign in an effective way,” he said.
Similarly, speaking about the achievements and queries gathered while carrying out activities through Nefej and talking about the works to be done in the coming days, Chandrakanta Pandit of NEFEJ said that the main objective of the Paani Project is to teach local skills and to disseminate information by the audio visualization of good practice along with traditional practice and customary law.
Some of the other objectives of Paani Project are to resolve the problems of community, manage wetland areas, protect environment and to carry out works for long term development and conserve rivers among others, he said.
“We tried to raise awareness among the people about aquatic biodiversity, climate change, gender and social equality and environmental good governance,” he said.
Pandit said that there are strategic areas for the aquatic biodiversity, management of water and wetland areas, construction of infrastructure, use of water related and other natural sources and support for sustainable development of hydropower among others.
USAID/Paani Program’s Chief of Party Nilu Basnyat said that Nefej had helped through Paani Project for the improvement of wetland areas. “NEFEJ had played a vital role to advocate and exchange more information pertaining to water,” she said.
Thanking one and all, she urged them to implement all the things that they have learnt through Paani Project. She said that they have got the energy to work in this field because of the commitment expressed by the local government to work in the water and wetland areas.
Announcing the program’s closure, NEFEJ Chairman Kosmos Biswokarma said that the Paani Project had become an important chapter in the 34 years of work of NEFEJ. Thanking all the experts of Paani Project and conservation, he said that they will raise the issues of river conservation and climate change through Aankhijhyal.