On the 10th of August 2023, the government of Nepal, through the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation launched a new UN-Habitat led land governance project, “A safety net of innovative land tenure solutions for near-landless sharecroppers and for a greener rural Nepal”. The project was officially launched by the Secretary at the Ministry of Land Management, Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MOLMCPA), Mr. Gokarna Mani Duwadi, in an event graced by various dignitaries including a delegation from the Republic of Korea (ROK), Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (MAFRA), a key development partner and donor to this new project and the Korean Rural Community Corporation (KRC), an organization specializing in agriculture and rural infrastructure development. The event also gathered various representatives in the land sector in Nepal who included senior officials from MOLMCPA, Survey Department, National Land Commission, representatives of Professional Bodies and Associations, Mayors and Municipal Chairpersons from target areas, International Non-governmental Organizations, local Civil Society Organizations, UN bodies among others.
The four-year project builds on the comparative strengths of UN-Habitat and GLTN’s previous and ongoing engagements in Nepal over the years on sustainable human settlements including socio-economic development, water and sanitation, shelter delivery and support to land tenure and land governance reform. The new project identifies the strong linkage between climate change and land governance, – considering Nepal’s high vulnerability to climate change-, and is built on the premise that improved tenure security should be considered to be an important enabler of climate-change adaptation. Three (3) outcomes will guide the execution of this project: i) improved land tenure security; ii) improved and sustainable rural livelihoods and climate smart agriculture; and iii) improved land use planning and management, with a target to reach approximately 9,000 households of near-landless, landless and informal land tenure holders, mainly indigenous Tharu communities (predominant in the Chure region of Nepal). The project targets four (4) municipalities namely Gadhawa, Rajpur, Rapti rural municipalities, and Lamahi urban municipalities in Dang district of Lumbini Province. Further, the project will be implemented by UN-Habitat through a collaborative arrangement with various partners including Nepal government ministries and institutions, target municipalities, Nepali NGOs/implementing partners, and Korean organizations, namely Korean Rural Economic Institute (KREI), Korea Land and Geospatial Informatix Corporation (LX Corporation), and Good Neighbors International (GNI).
In his remarks at the launch event, Mr. Gokarna Mani Duwadi underlined the need for inclusive planning in the implementation processes of the project and the participation of all partners, including government authorities and communities in the select municipalities to foster ownership and to promote the success of the project. He emphasized that the project should facilitate catalytic efforts to support other related endevours that enhance poverty alleviation through sustainable management of Nepal’s land resources and added that the best practices from this project should be replicated elsewhere in the country, to bring more positive changes for a prosperous Nepal.
The launch of the new project also coincided with a field visit exercise by GTLN and UN-Habitat Nepal country office to various municipalities across Nepal (currently 14) implementing land projects under the ongoing ‘Support to Land Reform Initiative in Nepal’ project. The project which began in 2016, in collaboration with the Government of Nepal and local implementing partner NGOs, has resulted in the development and adoption of the Nepal’s National Land Policy in 2019, legislation reforms and amendment of the Land Act 1964 (8th Amendment in 2020) and the Land Rules 1964 (18th Amendment in 2020), facilitating actions towards the improvement of tenure security through the registration of land rights and issuance of land titles to households in the select municipalities, including the vulnerable such as the Dalits and Sukumbasi.