World Wildlife Fund Nepal (WWF Nepal) celebrated its 29th anniversary and launch of its 30th year recently. An event was organised on 19th May, 2022 to highlight on WWF Nepal’s dedicated efforts towards biodiversity conservation and across multiple thematic areas including forests, wildlife, freshwater, climate & energy, and governance. The event was chaired by the chief guest Honourable Ramsahay Prasad Yadav, Minister of Forests and Environment. The event was attended by over 200 participants including ambassador of Finland, Acting Ambassador of the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Sri Lanka, Egypt, Pakistan and government representatives and partners of WWF Nepal.
On the occasion Dr. Ghana S. Gurung, Country Representative of WWF Nepal as a welcome remarks said “It has been a privilege to join hands with government of Nepal to design and implement landscape and transboundary approaches to conservation.” He reiterated his commitment to support government in conservation actions through collaborative approaches with conservation and developmental partners and communities. He further mentioned on the need to protect fresh water resources to tackle the impacts of climate change; make Nepal a model on wildlife friendly linear infrastructure development and control illegal wildlife trade and poaching.
Chief Guest Minister Yadav launched the new logo of WWF Nepal during the event. He appraised WWF Nepal’s contribution in increasing the numbers of endangered species, biodiversity conservation efforts in local and national level, policy advocacy and institutional capacity building alongside local and provincial capacity building and community sensitization.
He stated that successes in conservation areas have been possible through effective coordination between local governments, developmental partners, community actors and media. Government of Nepal has been implementing different initiatives for conservation in local and national levels and will continue doing so, he added.
The event was followed by a felicitation of Memorial Scholarship recipients; Memorial Scholarship aims to assist students who wish to pursue careers in conservation. The Fund was established to honour 24 conservation heroes who lost their lives in the tragic helicopter crash in 2006 and their constant commitment to preserving Nepal’s rich natural heritage. This year, 10 students received the scholarship to pursue their academic journey. Dr.Pema Gyamtsho, Director General of ICIMOD stated that these conservation heroes have laid the foundations for the conservation success Nepal has achieved.
Mr. Purmal Basnet from Kohalpur and Mr.Basant Pratap Singh from Bajhang– were two individual awardees felicitated with WWF Nepal Conservation Awards 2022. WWF instituted the WWF Nepal – Conservation Awards in 1995 to recognize and honour individuals and organizations at the grassroots level that have made significant contributions to protect Nepal’s rich biodiversity. Mr. Basnet is a journalist who writes about climate and environment issues in local and regional levels. Mr. Singh has been working to promote beekeeping in far-west Nepal along with raising awareness and running campaigns on conservation. Likewise, Nepal Knotcraft Centre, a social enterprise working with women to promote nature-based livelihood solutions for the past 38 years received the organizational category award.
A new advisory board of WWF Nepal was also officially announced during the event. The board comprises of Ms. Lisa Choegyal, a sustainable tourism specialist and author of several books; Mr. Anil Chitrakar, social entrepreneur and heritage conservationist; and Mr.Kunda Dixit, a senior journalist.
Mr. Dixit, on behalf of the newly appointed advisory board shared, “We are proud of WWF Nepal’s achievement in the protection of endangered species through community participation and designing new landscapes level biodiversity protection in Nepal. We are committed to protect the biodiversity in the Himalayas and will provide our best support to WWF Nepal in coming days.”