7th Sharing Meeting of NNN

January 21, 2000

The seventh meeting of the NNN Advisory Group was held Friday, January 21, 2000 at ANSAB office, Minbhawan, Kathmandu. Mr. Ram Hari Subedi of Gorkha EXIM P. Ltd. chaired the meeting.

Those who participated in the meeting were:

  1. Adrian Madden, VSO
  2. Bhairab Risal, NEFEJ
  3. Bhaweshwar Das, NSCFP
  4. Bhim Prasad Shrestha, FECOFUN
  5. Bhishma Prasad Subedi, ANSAB
  6. Carsten Smith Olsen, KVL
  7. Devendra Adhikari, SEACOW
  8. Hemant R Ojha, ANSAB
  9. Janie Bergeron, CECI
  10. Ken Nicholson, SNV
  11. Maksha Ram Maharjan, NUKCFP
  12. N. Kaji Shrestha, WATCH
  13. Pratap Man Shrestha, FAO
  14. Rajendra Khanal, CARE/Nepal
  15. Ram Hari Subedi, Gorkha EXIM Pvt. Ltd.
  16. Sama Shrestha, ANSAB
  17. Stuart Dudley Hocking, VSO
  18. Surya B. Binayee, ANSAB
  19. Teeka R. Bhattarai, SEACOW

The agenda of the meeting were:

  1. Review of NNN roles
    · Summary of the past NNN-AG meetings
    · Discussion on its more specific roles (e.g. policy recommendations, input to FSCC, training materials, MIS, IFAD project)
  2. Updates on RECOFTC’s regional program on people, markets and forests
  3. Strategic research needs on NTFP sector in Nepal
  4. Contribution to the upcoming issue of NNN Newsletter
  5. Other issues:
    · SEANN Workshop

Summary of the discussions and conclusions of the meeting:

1. Mr. R. H. Subedi welcomed all the participants and requested all to give a brief introduction. He then facilitated the discussion according to the meeting agenda.

2. Review of NNN roles

Summary of the past NNN-AG meetings
Mr. B. P. Subedi summarized all the activities carried out in the past NNN-AG meetings. He informed that the meeting minutes have been widely circulated and the members were requested for their suggestions and comments on the Network. Mr. Subedi expressed his happiness on the outcomes of the Network so far and hopes the Network will continue its valuable activities in the future too.

Operational Policy
Mr. B.P Subedi presented the draft NNN Operational Policy, which was developed by the Task Force formed by the NNN-Coordination Committee. He informed that the Operational Policy was presented at the NNN-CC meeting held January 14, 2000. The NNN-CC members had made some suggestions and made some revisions. He put the policy documents on the floor to discuss and make possible suggestions.

Several issues regarding the Operational Policy were raised, and there were various comments and suggestions from the members. Some of the suggestions made at the meeting include:
- While there are important roles to be played by NNN-CC and NNN-AG but there is no need to have a line of command from one to other. These two entities can be independent of each other in making their decision but coordinates and communicate to complement the functions of each other.
- Informal nature of the Network is effective and there is no need of a hierarchy between different bodies of the Network.

Facilitating the discussion Mr. B. P. Subedi briefed on the history and evolution of the Network, its different entities and functioning. The meeting decided to form a task force to review and revise the draft. The task force would utilize the great deal of experience that already exists among the members on setting up and running the networks at national as well as international level. The task force will then revise the draft and present at the next NNN-AG meeting. The task force consists of the following members:

  1. Bhishma P. Subedi, ANSAB
  2. Hemant Ojha, ANSAB
  3. Ken Nicholson, SNV
  4. Narayan Kaji Shrestha, WATCH
  5. Ms. Janie Bergeron, CECI

Inputs to Forestry Sector Coordination Committee (FSCC)
The meeting decided that the NNN should give its contribution to FSCC on developing national level priorities and guidelines in the NTFPs sector, if FSCC meeting can really be expected to take place in the future. It was also known at the meeting that the FSCC has not met for the past one year or two.

Policy Recommendations
Mr. B. P. Subedi informed all the members that the recommendations for the revision of forestry regulations, which were finalized after the discussions at the NNN-AG and NNN-CC meetings, had been submitted to MFSC through Director General of Department of Forests on July 27, 1999. He added that according to the Director General, these recommendations have been under considerations to incorporate in the next revisions the process of which is already started and moving forward.

Training Manual
Mr. K. Nicholson informed that the training material/manual in Nepali has to be developed and a writer’s workshop will be held soon for the purpose.

Green Tree Felling
Several participants raised the issue regarding the Government’s current circular banning green tree felling. Though the issue was not included in the meeting agenda, the Group felt that this should be given time for discussion.

Participants working at various levels and subsectors expressed their deep concerns over the issue. The circular does not appear to be compatible with the existing forestry legislation. It also fails to recognize the phenomenon of biological maturity of the forest crop, by imposing restrictions on judicious harvesting of green trees. Economically, the value of benefits accruing to the forest user groups will be greatly reduced, and hence their commitment to planned management of forest may degenerate into open access. On the social fronts, it destroys the confidence and trust over the government policy. Overall the participants felt that the circular could bring negative impacts on the process of sustainable forest management, local institution building and community development.

In view of the seriousness of the issue, the Group decided to write a letter of concern to the Government and issue a press release highlighting the possible consequences of the order and then urging for positive response to it.

Market Information System (MIS)
Mr. K. Nicholson informed that the MIS concept paper has been developed and submitted to various donors. It was realized that the potential organization to implement it at the national level has not yet been identified, which is one of the reasons for delayed implementation of the concept. He suggested that the Network could look for some of the possible organization to work with.

Mr. K. Nicholson explained that the idea of this proposal was to establish a reliable market information system on traded NTFPs. The proposed concept paper is for 3 levels: local, district and central. He is hopeful that the proposed work would be finalized by the next NNN-AG meeting.

From the meeting it was learned that SECOW, WATCH and FECOFUN have already started to work collaboratively on NTFP marketing at the grassroots level to support communities.

During the discussion, Mr. Das informed all that NSCFP has also started to work in MIS. He shared some of the formats and information collection tools that are being used by his project.

IFAD project
Mr. B. P. Subedi briefed on the status of IFAD’s Forest Resource Promotion Program. As the MFSC was hesitant to accept the loan for the program, IFAD have been now working with the National Planning Commission (NPC) and Ministry of Local Development (MLD). NPC and MLD have asked IFAD to launch the program in the districts of mid-western region where the underground Nepal Communist Party (Maoist) is active. According to Ms. Vanda Altarelli of IFAD, IFAD is still interested in forest resources but the project will not be limited to forestry but focusing on increasing income through agriculture and other opportunities that exist in the region. The project will be flexible, follow the bottom-up approach, adopt decentralized policy, and work through local governments. NPC feels that not much is happening because of the lack of technical know-how in the region. The Government as well as IFAD think that it will be difficult to implement the program by the Government alone and some support is needed from NGOs.

It was also informed that SNV and ANSAB are working on Enterprise Assessment Study to draw implications for any new programs on forest resource promotion. The study has focused on the community based forestry enterprises with various ownership models.

3. Updates on RECOFTC’s regional program on people, markets and forests

Mr. K. Nicholson gave a brief presentation of the concept paper for a Regional Program on People, Markets and Forests. He requested all to go through the draft handouts given to them. He informed that since 1994, RECOFTC has been holding regional training courses on the Marketing of Tree and Forest Products. RECOFTC has supported national partners to further test, adapt and refine the MA&D methodology. In Asia IUCN has supported the development of the MA&D methodology at the regional level through its NTFP Network which has been operating since 1995. He also mentioned the issues that need to be addressed, program scope and rationale, building upon existing partnerships and initiatives, program strategies and design of the program.

Mr. K. Nicholson asked all if the AG can nominate one coordinating organization from among the members to look after the administration of the program. He also asked if it would be useful to form a Task Force to take care of the overall management of the program.

4. Strategic research needs on NTFP sector in Nepal

Mr. B. P. Subedi asked the group if the Network can determine the strategic research needs on NTFP sector in Nepal. Since the this needs a considerable amount of time in reviewing the existing knowledge, identifying the areas for research and setting up the priorities, the meeting decided to form a task force. The task force would work on the complex issue of prioritizing the research needs, look at the overall idea, concept and scope of research in the NTFP sector, and present the outcome in the next AG meeting. The task force consisted of the following members:

  1. Bhim Prasad Shrestha, FECOFUN
  2. Devendra Adhikari, SEACOW
  3. Teeka R. Bhattarai, SEACOW
  4. Narayan Kaji Shrestha, WATCH
  5. Bhaweshwar Das, NSCFP
  6. Bhishma Subedi, ANSAB

5. Contribution to the upcoming issue of NNN Newsletter

Mr. B. P. Subedi made a request to contribute materials (articles, news, etc.) for the upcoming issue of the NNN Newsletter to be published in March 2000. The deadline for the submission is February 15, 2000.

6. SEANN Workshop

Mr. B. P. Subedi informed all the members that the 3rd South & East Asian Countries NTFP Network (SEANN) Workshop, which will be held from April 8-9, 2000. The interested individuals and organizations may contact Institute of Forestry, Pokhara or other collaborative organizations.

7. Tentative date and agenda for next meeting

The next NNNAG meeting will be held on April 24, 2000, Monday at 1.00 P.M. at CECI. Ms. Janie Bergeron of CECI will chair the meetings.