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Nepal’s Transboundary Rivers Face Emerging Challenges

Program Year: 2023

The Asia Foundation and the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition – Nepal (ISET-Nepal) jointly launched a report on the challenges facing Nepal’s small transboundary rivers. Challenges in Nepal’s Small Transboundary Rivers highlights the implications of environmental degradation in the Chure Basin, which has led to cross-border natural disasters and a socioeconomic impact on the population. 

The event was attended by representatives of the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources, and Irrigation, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat, members of international and national organizations, and experts working in the field. 

Climate change, rapid urbanization, haphazard disposal of untreated solid and liquid wastes, and unregulated sand extraction from riverbeds have all contributed to the degradation of the river ecosystems in the Chure Basin. These factors have caused flooding, erosion, siltation, loss of agricultural productivity, and damage to infrastructure. 

The report also highlights that the rise in temperature due to climate change is not yet widely recognized as a threat by policymakers in Nepal. In addition, there is limited data on the ecological changes occurring in the region, which makes it difficult to establish a clear cause-and-effect relationship between climate factors and natural disasters. 

Additionally, the report calls for increased cooperation between Nepal and its neighbors to address the transboundary challenges facing the Chure Basin. 

Laurel Miller, president of The Asia Foundation, said that the findings and recommendations of the report are invaluable in shaping the Foundation’s priorities in climate change. “The complexities of climate action problems extend beyond state boundaries due to Earth’s ecosystems,” she said. “This report provides us with a valuable roadmap for addressing the challenges facing Nepal’s small transboundary rivers.” 

The report was funded by The Asia Foundation’s South Asia Grants Program, which aims to support vulnerable communities and ecosystems and promote sustainable solutions to climate change. 

Related locations: Nepal
Related programs: Environment and Climate Action

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