13th July 2019
To develop a collective understanding and communicate them to relevant actors including the Members of the Parliament, Officials, civic groups, CSO’s and Other stakeholders Digo Bikas Institute, South Asia Institute for Advanced Studies, Nepal Forum for Environmental Journalists, Youth Alliance for Environment, and Clean Energy Nepal jointly organized a policy dialogue on Environment Protection Bill on 12th July at Indreni complex, New Baneswhor, Kathmandu.
Government of Nepal has drafted the Environment Protection Bill, which has been currently tabled at the parliament. Jony Mainaly, Environment Advocate and Board member, Digo Bikas Institute and Sanot Adhikari from Youth Alliance for Environment shared their opinion. Jony shared environment bill lacks clear definitions in the concepts of environment and climate change and institutional arrangements with legally mandated resourceful authority should be provisioned.
Sanot told that Bill has scrapped some good provisions incorporated earlier like that of an environment officer and Need of a third party monitoring system i.e. Environment Certification council to be envisioned comprising of environment technicians. He further added, merger of Forest and Environment Ministry has overshadowed environmental agendas and hence is a regressive move.
Experts Krishna Gyawali, Batu Krishna Upreti, Dr. Chiranjibi Bhattarai, Advocate Padam Bahadur Shrestha and Manjeet Dhakal shared their thoughts on the bill. After the expert opinion floor was opened to the participants to share thoughts on the bill. Some of the issues that came from the floor are; Bill should follow the policy, but national environment policy was endorsed by cabinet after the bill was registered in the parliament, Provision of environment officers qualification needs to be altered, Ideological confusion on environment and development needs to be erased and a separate act for climate change should be provisioned.
M.P. Sher Bahadur Tamang, Chair, Parliamentary Forum on Climate Change (PFCC) stated that contestation is ongoing between the environment and development committee on the bill and PFCC floated the proposal of an executive council in the environment bill. Subash Gautam from NEFEJ shared the learnings from the earlier environment protection act are not endorsed in the current bill and Policy inconsistencies between the line ministries is a key problem.
Dil Khatri, Executive Director of SIAS concluded the Policy dialogue stating revisiting the process of drafting the bill is important and Bill is problematic both in terms of comprehensive and coherence. He further added issues of environmental inspector to various sub-themes of climate change need to be duly considered and establishing a strong authoritative body is vital.