UN-Habitat Nepal Undertakes Participatory Land Use Planning in Three Districts

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U N-Habitat is undertaking participatory land use planning activities in the three districts Surkhet, Nawal parasi and Morang as part of Catalytic Support on Land Issues being implemented together with IOM and UNDP, and funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund, a global UN multi-donor trust fund supported by over 50 international donors and managed through the UN Peace Fund for Nepal. The project was started in March 2013 and is being implemented in collaboration with World Vision Advocacy Forum (WVAF), its technical collaborator Rajdevi Consultants and local level CBOs Sagarmatha Community Development Centre (SCDC) in Morang, Indreni Social Development Forum (ISDF) in Nawalparasi and Sundar Nepal Sanstha (SNS) in Surkhet. In June 2014 UN-Habitat attended different consultative meetings and workshops at the field level in the three districts which was attended by respective Chief District Officer, Local Development Officer, members of the District Level Land Use Implementation Committees, local peace committees, heads of different government organizations, NGOs, civil society organizations, representatives of political parties, local intellectuals and journalists. At the VDC and Ward level consultations large number of local people including women and janjatis did participate in addition to farmers, local party members, local CBOs, intellectuals and teachers. During the different meetings 462 persons attended 186 (40%) of whom were women. Interest for land use planning as a means to mitigate many of the problems in land management being faced by development strategists and local people was observed. Also the media- local FM and newspapers- widely covered the activities. The project has been successful in elevating lot of interest in land use planning and the importance of a participatory approach in taking up sensitive issues like land both at the central and local levels. Ministry of Land Reform and Management requested to incorporate National Land Use Planning at the very beginning of the project which was accommodated. Currently, after the lapse of the mid-term phase of the project, local stakeholders in Surkhet have expressed interest to cover the whole of the valley or at least incorporate Uttarganga VDC for local level planning. UN-Habitat values people’s interest and is seriously considering how this could be accommodated within the limitations of time and resources. While this is a challenge, this is also the strength of a participatory approach