Nepal Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity CBD COP-15 Biodiversity Framework Outcome Sharing and Strategy Discussion Successful

Brief Background: CBD COP-15th meeting of the parties of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity(CBD) was held in Montreal, Canada as a 2-week summit from December 7th– 19th 2022. NIWF’s Chairperson Ms. Suni Lama, Vice- Chairperson Ms. Yasso Kanti Bhattachan, Treasurer Ms. Sushila Gole, and Mr. Kamal Sampang Rai, Indigenous Peoples Society for Wetland Biodiversity Conservation Nepal Research and Conservation Officer. Following this, NIWF prepared a Discussion on knowledge-sharing, missions, and ways forward.

February 15th, 2023

Alpha House, New Baneswor

The Nepal Indigenous Peoples Biodiversity CBD COP-15 Biodiversity Framework Outcome Sharing and Strategy Discussion began with Vice Chairperson Yasso Kanti Bhattachan retelling NIWF’s experience attending the CBD COP-15 Conference. This included the side-event NIWF had conducted with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) during the conference. The program was duly inaugurated with Rina Rana from Indigenous Nationalities Commission, Pulchowk led by Yasso Kanti Bhattachan to water the plant in the middle of the round table. 

NIWF’s Sabin Gurung put forward a short presentation with topics on Biodiversity in Nepal, national biodiversity legal framework, biodiversity framework at the provincial and local levels in Nepal, global biodiversity framework, relationship of Indigenous Women with biodiversity,  gaps, and weaknesses, Indigenous Women and Biodiversity, finally concluding with recommendations. 

This was followed by Mr. Kamal Sampang Rai who started off with a detailed briefing on the situation of Indigenous Peoples in Nepal and the global biodiversity framework Target 3, Article 8(j), 10c. This was a PowerPoint-supported discussion on bio-cultural protocols, and customary laws and regulations for the functional ILK for governance facilitate to participate biodiversity, functional ILK governance, conservation to the institution, and engagement, the government of Nepal approved current projects that can affect Indigenous Communities in Nepal negatively, Nepal’s constitution laws and Indigenous Peoples, strategy to establish GBF Target 3, Indigenous and traditional territories, Nepal IPs plan of action committee for Article 8. j) and Indigenous Sciences. Concluding these necessary topics, Mr. Sampang finally opened the panel for open discussions.

The open panel discussion was moderated by NIWF’s Vice-Chairperson, Yasso Kanti Bhattachan.


  • Tak Tamang, Independent Civic & Social Organization Professional suggested that Indigenous peoples in Nepal do not yet have a platform to raise their issues, particularly topics related to Biodiversity. Indigenous peoples can engage with government agencies that are responsible for biodiversity conservation in Nepal; involving meeting with officials, providing feedback on policies, and participating in public consultations to raise awareness about Indigenous knowledge. However, Indigenous issues have also been also severely misrepresented by such agencies in the past.

Tamang also stressed on “Target 3 of the 15th Conference of Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP-15) calls for the recognition and respect of the rights of indigenous peoples and local communities over their lands, territories, and resources, including their traditional knowledge and practices.” should be well acknowledged and implemented.

  • Kiran Shrestha, YFIN Nepal suggested that it is important to acknowledge the challenges and issues that Indigenous communities face, as well as the importance of implementing policies that are informed by previous movements and efforts. In particular, it is critical to prioritize the voices of Indigenous youth in these efforts, as they are the ones who will be most affected by the policies that are implemented. He also suggested that Policymakers should ensure that policies are developed in consultation with Indigenous communities and that they are culturally appropriate and respectful of Indigenous knowledge and practices. Ultimately, he suggested that it is critical to continue to listen to and learn from Indigenous communities and to prioritize their voices and perspectives in all decision-making processes. 
  • Gokul Prasad Gharti Magar, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, suggested the topic of Indigenous displacement and issues that arise from development projects or resource extraction activities that take place on Indigenous lands. He discussed how these projects can cause significant harm to Indigenous communities, especially displacement from their homes and territories. He also highlighted the issue of community consent since indigenous communities have more often than not been excluded from decision-making processes around development and resource extraction projects that take place on their lands. He also talked about Indigenous Activists like Yogeswor Rai (Limbuwan Autonomous Council) and Durga Mani(leader from the Tharu community), two individuals who lost their lives in the struggle for Indigenous rights and justice in Nepal.
  • Nawang Sonam Sherpa, United Sherpa Association began with a re-summarization of the COP-15. He further stressed how the participation of Indigenous Peoples and organizations is crucial to ensure their voices and perspectives are heard in the discussions and decision-making processes. He shared a similar program based on advocacy discussions organized by LAHURNIP in the past. He further suggested that Indigenous Organizations focus more on advocacy while coming together. This type of assembly paints various perspectives from different organizations while coming together in the decision-making processes. He also suggested that organizations focus also on sharing the success stories of Indigenous Community forests to highlight their importance. 

“If Indigenous Rights including land and resources rights were actually agreed on by the government of Nepal, developing countries like Nepal could set an example worldwide in terms of Indigenous Peoples and Land Rights. We as a collective should rise. Nepal could be a chief Nagoya Protocol implementation success story with our Indigenous communities.”– Nawang Sonam Sherpa, United Sherpa Association.

  • Dirash Rai, NEFIN talked about how Biodiversity is a burning issue in both the national and global context. He recalled his own work with Yogesh Bhawani an integral figure in the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in Nepal. He shared how they have been involved in the cause of conserving biodiversity and promoting sustainable use of biological resources before Nepal deemed it as a pressing issue. As the National Focal Point, Yogesh Bhawani plays an important role in coordinating Nepal’s activities related to the CBD, including reporting on progress and implementing the treaty’s provisions. He shared how the Nepali Government had provided little to no prioritization for this issue despite them knowing of its importance. He also shared about the enormous budget provided by Independent Power Producers Association – Nepal and yet Biodiversity Issues remain without many implementations. 

He further added how the government of Nepal has not prioritized the land rights or first people issues seriously even now while dismissing the importance and role of the indigenous community in the protection of Biodiversity. He also mentioned prominent examples of Indigenous activists such as Nabina Chaudhary, an activist from the Tharu community who has been advocating for the implementation of policies that benefit the Tharu communities, and Rajkumar Chepang, Chepang Indigenous activist and the founder of the Chepang Indigenous Women Group in Nepal.

  • Santa Bahadur Chepang, Nepal Chepang Association, emphasized the importance of Position Papers from the Indigenous Organizations in Nepal on Biodiversity and Land Rights. He highlighted how organizations focusing on Indigenous Issues should come as a collective to write a Position paper.
  • Rina Rana, Indigenous Nationalities Commission, began her suggestion by pointing out how the deep-rooted relationship of Indigenous Peoples with nature has made global bodies conscious of their interrelatedness. She also talked about The Global Biodiversity Framework, which set a target of conserving at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans by 2030 which means that at least 30% of the world’s land and sea areas should be designated as protected areas or conserved through other effective area-based conservation measures. She suggested how awareness of these issues should be provided for the indigenous communities in Nepal from the grassroots level.

She also talked on the topic of the Social Welfare Council Policy mandate that includes the protection and promotion of the rights of marginalized and vulnerable groups, including Indigenous peoples. She emphasized its importance in promoting and protecting the rights of Indigenous peoples in Nepal.

  • Chanda Thapa Magar, International Funders for Indigenous People discussed the lack of a Biodiversity Framework for Indigenous Peoples in Nepal and how we should be working on creating a clear framework. She also discussed how lawmakers from the government have wrongly framed Consultation as Consent while dealing with Indigenous issues and policy-making. She further suggested that the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) should lead the way for policy-making based on Biodiversity for Indigenous Peoples in Nepal. She also shared her own experiences working with Indigenous Organizations throughout Asia, coming as a collective to discuss policy issues based on Biodiversity frameworks globally. She emphasized on leading the same culture for Indigenous Organizations in Nepal to create an actively engaged platform for such discussions. She also focused on topics such as Equitable Beneficial Sharing, Inclusivity, and Consultation Processes for Indigenous Communities for Policy- Making in Nepal. Finally, she concluded by suggesting the proper implementation of policies surrounding Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation for Indigenous Communities in Nepal with an example from COP-26 and COP-27 that included a funding pledge.

“What actions should be taken to hold organizations wrongly using Indigenous Peoples funds accountable while?“- Chanda Thapa Magar, International Funders for Indigenous Peoples

In all, the discussion concluded successfully with valuable suggestions that were made during the program. It’s also important to recognize the value and importance of Indigenous knowledge and perspectives in addressing these issues. Indigenous Peoples have a deep understanding of their local ecosystems and have developed sophisticated techniques to manage and conserve natural resources. Their traditional knowledge and practices have been shown to be effective in maintaining biodiversity, improving soil health, and combating climate change. Discussions such as this one are beneficial to pave the way for effective Policy- changes and pave the way for a more positive direction towards Indigenous Peoples and Biodiversity in Nepal.

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