3. Basis of New Policy FormulationEditor NLC
Because of the long tradition of five-year plans, a policy formulation mechanism is already in place. However, delays in translating policies into programmes and then into legislation and thereafter into operational rules and administrative orders are long and exhausting.
The policy of decentralisation in the forestry sector means that national forestry institutions must concentrate on supporting local development efforts. Since the Master Plan of 1989 was adopted, the Panchayat form of local government has been replaced by democratically elected local governments. Under various laws formulated to promote local governments, including the Decentralisation Act of 1982 and the Local Government
Act of 1992, and the recommendations of the high-level Decentralisation Committee Report of 1996, district development planning has become an important responsibility of local governments. In the forestry sector, district forest officers are required to work closely with local governments to develop and implement forestry activities. The land-use criteria recently approved by His Majesty’s Government ensure the preservation of the present forest cover of the country.
The present ecological and land-use policies embodied in the periodic plans are well intentioned, but still lack appropriate institutions and mechanisms to ensure their implementation. In addition, these policies need to be simplified and brought into line with other forestry sector related policies.
Nepal’s planning process represents a novel compromise in its attempt to combine local participation in development planning with national-level strategy, co-ordination and budgetary control. The Decentralisation Act of 1982 and the framework outlined by the High Level Decentralisation Committee Report of 1996 require each local government unit to draw up a development plan. Such plans are then used as the basis for the preparation of district plans. The National Planning Commission is responsible for co-ordinating these district plans and when necessary adjusting them to ensure their consistency with national policies and guidelines. The legislation for environmental protection (the Environment Act of 1995) has been enacted and subsequent regulations have been formulated. This legislation provides legal measures for the conservation of environment, the prevention and control of pollution and also provides the legal authority to develop regulatory measures for the conservation of biodiversity, and sustainable and equitable benefit-sharing by using genetic resources. Unfortunately, the institutional capability to enforce and monitor the implementation of this legislation appears quite limited.
The Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MFSC) has a key role to play. In this regard, an Environment Division with a strong Biodiversity Section has been established in the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation. A National Biodiversity Steering Committee with representation from all the concerned line ministries has also been established within MFSC; thus effort has required the co-operation of all other concerned Ministries.