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Picture: www.flickr.com/photos/nromagna/1919567697

As for other handicrafts, we are focusing on pashminas, leather, wood, handmade paper and silver jewellery, and they are getting encouraging global responses. The government has been developing specific projects for entrepreneurship and technical backstopping for SMEs, and providing financial support through micro-finance schemes. The financing mechanism has been simplified in terms of collateral need and terms of borrowing. Nepal lies on a special ecological zone in the foothills of Himalayas. In the absence of progress on industrialization, the development burden was shifted to nature, resulting in severe deforestation, pollution of rivers and streams, and landslides in mountain parts. These changes have caused the extinction of many plants and animals in this area, and have also threatened the life of many families living there. How does your government intend to balance its development programme with the need to protect Nepal’s unique environment and biological diversity? The loss of biodiversity and degradation of natural resources is mainly because of unplanned settlement, encroachment on forest areas because of displacement of people due to conflict and landlessness, poverty, and lack of law enforcement, which has also been affected by the prolonged political transition. Despite this, Nepal has been able to raise the forest cover, and protect a number of rare wild species like tigers, rhinos and deer. Biodiversity protection and sustainable development will go together when we make a sustainable use of the resources and address livelihood problems of the people through those resources. Once people are aware that their livelihood is dependent on the natural resources, they will be willing and able to protect those resources. The success of community forestry programmes is evidence in this regard. In summary, we want to integrate environment protection into a poverty reduction strategy, and engage the community in this process, thereby making them responsible for protecting natural resources themselves.

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Making It: Industry for Development #21