International Experts and National Policy Makers Come Together to Support Implementation of CSV Approach in Nepal

An ‘International Climate Smart Village (CSV) workshop on CSVs in Nepal’ was organized from 12 to 14 September 2016 bringing together leading experts from different parts of the world along with national level policy makers to support Government of Nepal’s initiative to implement CSV approach in Nepal. The workshop, jointly organized by Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD)CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) and Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), emphasized on exchanging learnings and experiences from other regions/countries that are also implementing CSVs. The main objectives of the 3-day long workshop were to, (i) demonstrate the CSV approach for scaling out CSA in Nepal; (ii) foster South-South learning and exchange to support the development of a national programme on climate adaptation through the CSV approach in line with the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS) of the country, (iii) sensitize stakeholders about Nepal government’s priorities on ADS and climate risk management.

Participants observing demonstrations of CSA practices for rice cultivation in Rajahar.
Photo: Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD

During the first two days of the workshop, the participants observed the field implementation of CSV approach. The participants visited three CSV sites (Rajhar, Narayani and Agyauli Village Development Committees (VDCs) in Nawalparasi) being implemented by LI-BIRD and CCAFS. LI-BIRD has adopted CSV approach in these villages to build climate resilient farming systems through participatory ways by harnessing multi-stakeholder coordination. The participants observed the CSV design and activities for rice-based lowland farming system (in Rajhar and Agyauli VDCs), maize-based upland farming system (in Narayani VDC) and capacity building, farmer’s institutions, women empowerment and ICT based agro-advisories in Agyauli VDC. The successful piloting of solar-energy based water pumps, System of Rice Intensification (SRI), alternative precision nutrient management methods on rice, technologies for sustainable intensification of upland system, Community Seed Bank (CSB), improved cattle-shed and micro-irrigation technologies (i.e. drip irrigation) were the highlights of the field trips. Being both carbon smart and water smart, the solar-based pumps have been able to increase the cropping intensity and encourage farmers to follow commercial farming. The farmers have also embraced SRI in their fields which seems promising to them though they are waiting for the result. Farmers were also positive toward the benefits of drip irrigation and improved cattle-shed. Few farmers have also begun to use Information and Communication Technology (ICT) services through their mobile phones to update themselves and fellow farmers with weather reports and market price of the vegetables. 

The 2nd day of workshop (13 Sep 2016) also witnessed a stakeholders interaction programme. Local and district level stakeholders such as representatives from District Agriculture Development Office (DADO), VDC office, company and universities discussed on ways to strengthen local level multi-stakeholder coordination in implementing CSV approach in Nepal. Presenting ‘CSV implementation approach in Nepal’, Dr. Balaram Thapa, Executive Director of LI-BIRD highlighted that the integration of CSV in local plans through government’s 14-step planning process and engagement of highest level of policy makers through mobilization of Project Advisory Committee (PAC) has been a unique approach which is very likely to generate evidence based policy change for scaling up and scaling out of CSV in Nepal. International participants have found the two-pronged approach followed by LI-BIRD in Nepal unique and effective. 

Participants interacting with farmers about CSV interventions for upland in Narayani.
Photo: Bibudh Dhewaju, LI-BIRD

The participants used the learnings from the field observation and interaction with local stakeholders to provide evidences on the CSV workshop that was held on the third day (14 Sep 2016) in Hotel Radisson, Kathmandu. The workshop in Kathmandu was attended by Minister, MoAD Honorable Gauri Shankar Chaudhary as Chief Guest and State-Minister, MoAD, Honorable Radhika Tamang as Special Guest. The inauguration session was chaired by Mr. Yogendra Karki, Acting Secretary, MoAD. Prof. Dr. Pramod Aggarwal, Regional Coordinator, CCAFS – SA, stressed that the main objective of the workshop was to support government of Nepal in its endeavor to implement CSV approach by bringing together the global expertise in CSV. Mr. Lekha Nath Acharya, Joint Secretary, MoAD updated on the policies and institutional framework for scaling up CSV in Nepal. Stressing that CSV can be an approach to implement climate change adaptation activities envisioned in Nepal’s 20 years’ ADS, Mr. Acharya stressed that there is sufficient policy and strategic provisions to start scaling out CSVs in Nepal. In his keynote presentation, Prof. Dr. Bruce Campbell, Coordinator, CCAFS, mentioned that while climate risk management needs many elements, hence CSV provides a solution to possible devastating effects of climate change as it responds to climate change through participatory technology selection and careful prioritization, embedding into local plans, facilitating engagement of private sector and integrating national priorities into consideration. Addressing the participants, Honorable Gauri Shankar Chaudhary, pointed that the workshop’s learning and knowledge should be best utilized especially focusing on the socially and economically marginalized communities. In her remarks, Honorable Radhika Tamang, said that the workshop’s results are significant for country like Nepal where the need of developing nature friendly activities are imminent.

Honorable Radhika Tamang, State-Minister, MoAD, shelling corn using hand-held corn sheller in the exhibition. Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD

Subsequently Dr. Andy Jervis, CCAFS Flagship leader, and Prof. Dr. Pramod Aggarwal explained the rationale, concept and methodology of CSV approach and Dr. Bikash Paudel, CSV project leader from LI-BIRD, explained the adaptation of CSV approach in Nepal. These were followed by sharing from different regions of the world on adaptation of the CSV approach across the globe. It was apparent from the presentation and following discussion session that despite a common framework, there are a lot of variations on CSVs across the globe, mainly due to different types of climatic risks in the regions, difference in focus and strength of the implementing organizations. CSV is an evolving concept hence some commonality across the CSVs around the globe is something that require investigation. 

The plenary presentation and sharing were followed by four parallel sessions to consolidate the learnings and provide evidence based policy feedback to Nepal to implement CSV approach in Nepal. The session on ‘CSA technologies in CSVs’ concluded that there is commonalities in design and implementation process, role of multi stakeholder platforms, emphasis on community needs and capacity building, combination of local action (testing), and evidence building for scaling out/up, addressing enabling environment across the globe. However, there is difference is term of scale, prioritization methods, scaling mechanisms, levels of integration into community development plans, and social mobilization. The group identified that devising a global monitoring and evaluation framework is very challenging, yet essential tasks to scale up CSVs. 

The session on “Institutional and policy framework” identified that climate change policies are very generic in Nepal. Moreover, weak Inter-sectoral coordination and harmonization, unclear finance and financing modality as well as un-adequate human resources are key policy and institutional challenges for scaling up CSVs in Nepal. The team recommended that targeting CSAs based on recommendation domain, convergence of existing activities at different levels, developing integrated programs with clear role and responsibilities of various ministries, working out clear financial modality and consolidating farms/farmers to harness economy of scale are utmost priority issues. 

Honorable Gauri Shankar Chaudhary, Minister, MoAD, delivering inaugaural speech.
Photo: Mahesh Shrestha, LI-BIRD

The session on ‘ICT and Insurance’ identified that ICT based agro-advisory as well as insurance are among the interventions that require strong national level commitments and policy support. The group concluded that there is strong capacity gap for weather information hence there is need to build the in-country capacity to strengthen weather database in long term. For short-term, Nepal has to learn from the successful examples of other similar countries to start implementing useful agro-advisory and insurance services using downscaled global database as well as useful participatory assessments. The session on “Gender and Social Inclusion on CSVs” concluded that CSAs can benefit women and smallholder farmers. The team recommended that higher emphasis has to be given to (women) cooperatives, promotion of women friendly technologies, strengthening of women’s engagement in value chain, building level playing field, targeting and capacity building and engaging youths in piloting and scaling up CSAs in Nepal. 

The recommendations from the group works were presented by rapporteurs of the group to the final closing session which was chaired by Dr. Suraj Pokharel, Joint Secretary, MoAD. Addressing the participants, Krishnan Shrivalli, USAID – India, said that the three day workshop was excellent opportunity for learning and evaluating the CSV approach and including the development partners in such an exchange-programme can change the way they fund the projects. Prof. Dr. Bruce Campbell praised the fantastic work being undertaken in Nepal, particularly the strong multi-stakeholder engagement and hoped that the CSV initiatives make difference in people’s livelihood in Nepal.   In his concluding remarks, Dr. Balaram Thapa stressed that despite differences on how the CSV approach has been implemented throughout the world, there is need for identification of commonality. Hence, there is a need to redefine and refine CSV approach, both at global scale by CCAFS and for specific country by country based partners. Summarizing the workshop outputs, Dr. Suraj Pokhrel inferred that the workshop has provided excellent platform to share the ideas among different countries and within Nepal. He also stressed that the CSV approach should be able to integrate the smallholder farmers and integrate Gender Equity and Social Inclusion (GESI) concerns of country. 

The outputs of the workshop was debriefed to Rt. Honorable President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari on 15 Sep 2016 by a joint MoAD, CCAFS and LI-BIRD team. The President was briefed about the outputs of the workshop and informed the various CSV and CSA activities being implemented by MoAD and LI-BIRD in Nepal. The President keen to know the impacts of CSA activities on livelihood of farmers and recommended that agriculture universities to be taken together for scaling out CSV in Nepal. 

The workshop is successful to inform about CSV approach to range of national policy makers and stakeholders. The sharing of experience from various countries implementing CSV, and recommendations made from the discussions would be helpful for devising country-owned effective strategy to scale-up CSV programme in Nepal.

The CSV project is implemented by LI-BIRD with technical and financial support from CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). The project is supported by the Project Advisory Committee comprising representatives from the NPC, MoF, MoPE, MoFALD, NARC, DoA, DoI, DHM, CDKN, CCAFS and LI-BIRD under the leadership of MoAD.