May 27, 2024, Monday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

UN Decade on Ecological Restoration

The Nepal Weekly
May 7, 2024

The United Nations General Assembly declared the period from 2021 to 2030 as the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. The primary goal is to halt, prevent, and reverse ecosystem degradation while effectively restoring degraded terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems worldwide. This also focus on climate change mitigation including the sustainable delivery of ecosystem goods and services.

Ecological restoration is defined as the process of assisting the recovery of an ecosystem that has been degraded, damaged, or destroyed by human activities to an earlier state. It adopts a holistic approach, consider the recovery of both biotic and abiotic component of the ecosystem.

Major causes of environmental degradation include Infrastructure and development works, transportation, exploitation of resources, deforestation, invasion by alien species, overpopulation

landfills, waste production, illegal dumping, mining, land use practices/agricultural practices, littering including excessive use of chemicals. These factors result in environmental impact such as biodiversity loss, disasters such as floods and landslides, acid rain, endangerment of species, loss of water resources, desertification and soon. Furthermore, loss of livelihood for many people, public health problem, property damage, famine are some of socio economic challenges for human being.

Many of our ecosystems have been damaged in such a way that they could not attend self-recovery.

Conservation alone might would not be sufficient to protect the ecosystem anymore as it attempts to preserve an ecosystem in its current condition.

Ecological restoration through human intervention is necessary for the prosperity of nature, as it returns the ecosystem to its original stage. It has been observed that the focus of plantation efforts leans more towards creating greenery, without adequately measuring the ecological significance of the species chosen. Many of the species planted along roadsides are invasive, selected primarily for their aesthetic value in greening urban spaces. However, these species could potentially disrupt the balance of local ecosystems. Identifying appropriate restoration methodologies is crucial for the overall welfare of the nature. Our country Nepal needs to formulate the laws and policies particularly on ecosystem restoration.

Strategies has to include the integration between the restoration, conservation, and sustainable development as a management tool. It’s a fact, to implement those strategies a country has to allocate the relevant budget. Restoration would be only efficient with the active participation of multi stakeholder like government, non-government bodies, private agencies and locals. Inclusion of indigenous knowledge is crucial as the local people are well known about the biodiversity and the physical environment of the region. This process is not limited to afforestation or reforestation but intends to restore ecosystem services.

In Nepal, though ecological restoration is not specifically included, the principles and practices somehow seem integrated into existing laws and policies in existing laws and policies. For instance, the Forest Act 2019, emphasizes restoration and regeneration of degraded forest areas. Likewise, the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (2016-2025) demonstrates Nepal’s commitment to ecological restoration. Additionally, the Climate Change Policy 2016 recognizes the role of ecological restoration in addressing climate change.