POKHARA, Nov 9: The government is planning to introduce all lakes of Kaski district, including the world-famous Fewa, as an integrated wetland of international importance.
According to Kirshna Chandra Paudel, secretary at the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC), the government will recommend an integrated wetland, which includes lakes like Begnas, Rupa and many others besides Fewa, for its inclusion in the Ramsar List of Wetlands of International Importance.
“Earlier, we had planned to make separate recommendations for inclusion of only a few lakes of Kaski into the Ramsar list,” Poudel said. “Now, we´re planning to recommend an integrated wetland instead of various scattered wetlands.”
Experts say those lands can be called wetlands where the water never dries up completely. Any wetland of international importance can be included in the Ramsar list. Once a wetland enters the Ramsar list, it gets international attention for conservation.
“If we succeed in listing wetlands of Kaski as Ramsar sites, we can draw the world´s attention on their conservation,” Poudel said. “The local people, especially those who directly benefit from Kaski´s lakes, must help us in our efforts to include them into the Ramsar list.”
As of now, Nepal has only nine lakes included in the Ramsar list. Koshi Tappu, Kapilvastu´s Jagdishpur Reservoir, Kailali´s Ghodaghodi lake area, Chitwan´s Bishazaari and associated lakes, Mugu´s Rara lake, Dolpa´s Foksundo lake, Rasuwa´s Gosaikunda lake, Solukhumbu´s Gokyo and associated lakes and Ilam´s Mai Pokhara have so far been incorporated into the Ramsar list.
For a wetland to be included in the Ramsar list, a radius of 100 meters from its area must be free of physical infrastructures. As people increasingly build their houses near lakes in Pokhara, experts fear that the unbridled construction works may hinder the government´s efforts to introduce an integrated wetland of international importance.
“If the locals and tourism entrepreneurs continue to encroach upon and pollute lakes, our efforts to include Kaski´s lakes in the Ramsar list may not materialize,” said Poudel. “We may face embarrassment at global forums if our wetlands are delisted from the Ramsar list. Therefore, we must be serious about this in advance.”
A four-day international conference on wetlands is now going on in Pokhara. Altogether 85 representatives from 13 countries are participating in the conference, which kicked off on Wednesday. On its last day, the conference is expected to issue Pokhara declaration on wetlands.