Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Stakeholders' Meeting at Jhaukhel

Stakeholders’ Meeting at Jhaukhel VDC has been finally conducted. The efforts encouragingly paid out with enthusiastic participation of the local stakeholders. The meeting was conducted in the VDC office in the afternoon on Friday, 6th May, 2011.

The programme began with welcome note and a brief introduction session, followed by a brief on the Peri-urban Water Security Research Project. The program was then handed over to Prof. Shukla where about, he engrossed the participants through his elaborations on the research details, including objectives, research partners, funding organization and the till date achievements of the research explaining selected sites in Nepal and the criteria behind finalizing the sites. Prof. Shukla also drew attention towards the increasing urbanization pattern and changing situation of water availability in the context of increasing urbanization and climatic uncertainty with instances from different parts of the world.
Proceeding the programme, the local stakeholders raised their queries which were very relevant. In the context of different research organization operating in the VDC, their major query was on the scope of the research. A very candid question raised was the research likely to be limited as exploratory documentation or will be able to provide direct physical support for improving water availability for the local residents. The toughest part of clarifying the limitation of the research at the same time justifying research rationale was very smoothly clarified by Prof. Shukla. He highlighted the need and advantage of well established documentation of the existing reality prior to pressuring the concerned governmental body or for entitlement of support from any non-government organization. Regarding this, the research could provide substantial science based information on the over looked linkage between sand mining and depleting ground water level for optimal level of resources extraction, both sand and ground water in case of Jhaukhel which could eventually be fruitful in lessening the travails of people.
In the last few years, Environment Conservation Forum, a local NGO has   been relatively active in the VDC and a NGO called ENPHO has been working in the Jhaukhel VDC. The discussion in the programme brought forward the increasing multiple water claimants in the VDC and the changing context of water management where rampant sand mining and unregulated ground water extraction and menacing risk of water crisis and land subduction has been growing concern. The Environment Conservation Forum representatives shared experiences of their efforts in bringing forward the growing rampant sand and water extraction in the VDC to the concerned government organization however being limited by the power play behind the huge monetary transactions.
A participant from the Environment Conservation Forum, raised his interest towards the methodological basis of the research to which Prof. Shukla as the Team Leader, succinctly pointed out the methods to be followed included primary data collection through Household Survey, FGD, Vulnerability Assessment and Study of Adaptive/Coping Strategy of local community, Water Quality Analysis and so on. In the meantime, VDC Secretary was to work in co-ordination with these organizations to avoid duplicating the research and covering the needed but still uncovered aspects of the area to which Prof. Shukla also explained the research of students in the VDC itself would also be valuable information resource and agreed to develop co-ordination with the concerned organizations.
The research co-ordinator, Mr. Rajesh Sada proposed for organizing relevant programmes for capacity building of the local people in adapting against climate and urbanization induced insecurity where VDC as local government, Nepal Engineering College and local organization operating in VDC could co-work. Environment Conservation Forum has shown keen interest in cooperating for the research with which the nec research team will be working in close co-ordination by formally defining a Memorandum of Understanding in the meeting to be organized as per convenience in very near future.

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