Session Chairs and Discussants

Session 1A: Resources and Environment I

Chairs: Michal J Bardecki, Ryerson University, Canada; Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri, USA
Rhona Scott
Menuka Karki
Bill Fleming
Daniele Magditsch
Mahesh R Gautam
Shweta Bhagwat
Chet P Bhatta

Session 1B: Agriculture, Development and Poverty

Chairs: Pramod Kantha, Wright State University, USA; Mohd S Khan, Aligarh Muslim University, India
Kamal Upadhyaya
Chakra P Acharya
Mukti Upadhyay
Rajendra Poudel

Session 2A: Resources and Environment II

Chairs: Bill Fleming, University of New Mexico, USA; Mahesh R Gautam, Desert Research Institute, USA
Hari Katuwal
Michal J Bardecki
Caroline Wrobel
Denise Scott
Mahesh Gautam
Keshav Bhattarai

Session 2B: Conflict, Gender, Health and Migration

Chairs: Prakash Adhikari, Central Michigan University, USA; Jeffrey Drope, Marquette University, USA
Shashi R Regmi
Monimala Devi
Pramod Kantha
Mohd S Khan

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Thursday, October 20th
12:00 AM

A Watershed Conservation Success Story in Nepal: Land Use Changes Over 30 Years

Bill Fleming, University of New Mexico
Jeanie Fleming, University of New Mexico

12:00 AM

In the middle hill region of west central Nepal in 1977, a quarter of a 113 km2 watershed experienced erosion rates exceeding 30 Mt/ha/yr due to high rainfall intensities, unstable soils, steep slopes and severe overgrazing. This increasing land degradation coupled with indiscriminate forest harvesting threatened the survival of forests and viable pasture lands. However, an innovative national government policy of handing over forest management to local people was put in place over the next three decades, resulting in conversion of nearly all the eroded grazing and shrub land to managed pasture and forest, a five-fold increase in grass and fodder and a near-doubling of forest productivity. While 43% of project costs were spent on user group formation and vegetative restoration, this provided most of the social, environmental and economic benefits. Structural measures, such as check dams and channel control were the most costly (57%) but provided the least livelihood and economic benefits. Interviews in 2006 with farmers and forest users in the watershed added complementary anecdotal evidence that a community’s environmental education, coupled with increased control over their local pasture and forest, provided valuable incentives for success in sustainable resource management.

Agricultural Policy and its Impacts in Rural Economy in Nepal

Rajendra Poudel, West Virginia University

12:00 AM

Nepal is considered a high population density developing country and a very high population density per unit of agriculture land. Comparative analysis with the region shows that the Bangladesh and Nepal have the lowest land to labor ratio (0.22 and 0.29 respectively), compared to India (0.61), Sri Lanka (0.51) and Pakistan (0.81). Small holding size of high land fragmentation in Nepal is one of the main reported causes of poverty in rural area. Nepal combines the status of least developed country, landlocked position between two giant protectionist countries (India and China), with attached castes system, armed conflict since 2002, very small farm size and high land fragmentation. The Agriculture Perspective Plan (1995- 2015) defined agriculture as the engine of growth with strong multiplier effects on employment and on other sectors of the economy. In 1995, the Agriculture Perspective Plan (APP) sets the objective of increasing average AGDP from 3% to 5%, and agricultural growth per capita to 3%.

An approach to effective assessments in low data environment: evidence from Sikkim India

Shweta Bhagwat, IFMR-Center for Development Finance, India
Manasi Pathak, IFMR-Center for Development Finance, India
Vivek Venkataramani, IFMR-Center for Development Finance, India

12:00 AM

Program evaluations for conservation interventions have to take into account the complex interrelationships of various components in an ecosystem. Measuring direct impact can be difficult, given that changes are often the result of complex systemic interactions and can take a long time to evolve. Therefore, the focus of the paper is to bring forth the importance of designing an effective program evaluation in low data environments by adopting a multi-disciplinary approach. The paper illustrates this by identifying a framework to evaluate specific measurable ecological and societal outcomes that also assist in reviewing relevance and importance of implemented policy. For this, the paper uses learning’s from an ongoing research project on evaluation of grazing exclusion policy in West district of Sikkim.

Attitudes toward Dam Construction in the Garhwal Region of the Himalayas

Denise Benoit Scott, State University of New York at Geneseo
Annpurna Nautiyal, H.N.B. Garhwal University, India

12:00 AM

Although mass protest against business and the state is not at all uncommon in the hill region, residents of the Chauras region have been relatively silent with regard to the dam project. In fact, little is know about the attitudes of the people in the region beyond assumptions make by policymakers and academics. This study sheds light on the conditions, experiences, and concerns of the villagers most affected by the dam project. The findings are important for informing public policy in areas where these kinds of major “development” projects interact with, and have the potential to deeply affect, the surrounding environment.

Challenges in effective implementation of Environmental Protection Act 1997 and Environmental Protection Rules 1997 in Nepal

Sudeep Devkota, Ryerson University

12:00 AM

The procedural chaos, policy gap and improper law enforcement and bad practice of EIA ultimately gives impact on failure of the projects and hence on the natural environment. Thus while practicing EIA some improvement are proposed in regards to the policy and legal instruments which assists for effective implementation of EPR 97 so improving EIA system Nepal.

Climate Change in the Nepal Himalayas: What we know and what we need to know

Mahesh R. Gautam, Desert Research Institute
Govinda Timilsina, The World Bank
Kumud Acharya, Desert Research Institute

12:00 AM

This study reports synthesis of a systematic literature review on climate change observations, projections, impacts, and research gaps and needs in the Nepal Himalayas. The major findings on climate change observations are rising temperature trends across all geographical regions in Nepal, increasing occurrences of temperature and precipitation extremes, increasing loss of glacier mass, and increase in glacier lake formations. Literature on nationwide trend analysis report lack of consistent long-term trend in precipitation, contrary to others at watershed scale, which show trend in both directions. A study on stream-flow trend in Nepal suggests absence of stream-flow trend in most of the stations and general lack of spatial trend.

Dynamics of Nepali Migration: Assimilation with the Assamese Society A Study of Sonitpur and Tinsukia Districts of Assam

Monimala Devi, DDR College, India

12:00 AM

The present study attempts to understand the Nepali migration from the historical perspective and at the same time comprehend the mechanism in the recent past in its transformative character particularly in the Sonitpur and Tinsukia districts of Assam.

Effectiveness of local baits for the management hornets in apiaries of Kathmandu valley

Chet Prasad Bhatta, Ryerson University
Ananda Shova Tamrakar, Tribhuvan University

12:00 AM

An investigation of the effectiveness of some local baits for the management of hornets in apiaries of Kathmandu valley was carried out at Bhatkyapati-12 (Apiary A) and Tyangla-3 (Apiary B), Kirtipur Municipality under apiary conditions. Hornets were observed as most serious natural enemies of both house and field honeybees. Among four species of hornets viz: Vespa velutina Smith, Vespa tropica L., Vespa mandarina Smith, Vespa basalis Smith, V. velutina and V. mandarina were found to be the most abundant and serious enemies of honeybees in apiary conditions. A series of experiments were carried out to find out the efficacy of different baits for the management of hornets.

Effects of Remittances on Inflation and Real Exchange Rate in South Asia

Mukti P. Upadhyay, Eastern Illinois University
Kamal Upadhyaya, University of New Haven

12:00 AM

Remittances received from workers working abroad have grown at a rapid pace over the last three decades in South Asia. In U.S. dollar terms, remittances as a percentage of GDP during the last ten years, for example, have risen in all countries but more dramatically in Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan. Phenomenal growth of remittances in Nepal during 2000s has raised their share in GDP to about 22 percent in 2010. Sri Lanka has always enjoyed relatively large remittances, as a proportion of GDP. Finally, India remains the largest recipient of remittances in the world in monetary terms, but because of its rapid growth in GDP, its remittances show only a modest rise relative to GDP. It is thus apparent that remittances (and similarly other types of inflows of foreign money) will have an effect on both inflation and the real exchange rate of the home currency. We explore these dual effects of remittances in South Asian economies.

Full Proceedings

Vijaya R. Sharma, University of Colorado, Boulder
Mukti P. Upadhyay, Eastern Illinois University
Jeffrey Drope, Marquette University
Naresh Nepal, University of New Mexico

12:00 AM

Papers, abstracts and proceedings of the Sixth Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference, Thursday, October 20, 2011, Madison Concourse Hotel and Governors' Club, Preconference Venue of the 40th South Asian Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gender Role And Peace Building In Nepal

Shashi R. Regmi, University of Notre Dame

12:00 AM

Objectives of the study 1. To assess the gender policy of Nepal by addressing International Commitments as well as the provision made in the ‘Comprehensive Peace Agreement 2006’ of Nepal. 2. To assess the quantitative representation of women in peace building by listing their numbers in different governmental and non governmental sector. 3. To assess the qualitative representation of women by focusing on their role and influence in decision making level

How to make market-based policy instruments effective?

Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri

12:00 AM

The aim of this paper is to evaluate the effectiveness of MBIs to regulate ES at various topographic regions of Nepal through the integration of both natural science and economic elements within the geographic information systems (GIS) framework. It attempts to develop a land production model based on location-specific spatial and temporal factors taking into account the primary ‘supporting services’ (e.g. soil formation) to ‘provisioning’ (e.g. food production), ‘regulating’ (e.g. climate) and ‘cultural’ (e.g. recreation) services which are the building blocks of ES.

India’s role in Nepal’s political transition and the peace process: help or hindrance?

Pramod K. Kantha, Wright State University

12:00 AM

The election of Maoist leader Baburam Bhattrai as Nepal’s Prime Minister on August 29 ,2011 marked a clear deviation from India’s recent policy of rallying anti Maoist forces to keep Nepal’s Maoists from returning to power. Bhattrai was elected with the support of the Terai or plain region parties which represent Nepal’s Madhesi population. Most Madhesi parties, since their rise into national prominence in 2007, were known to have calibrated their moves with India. The formation of Mr. Bhattarai’s government raises many questions. Does the return of Maoist led government in Kathmandu signal a real shift in New Delhi’s policy towards Nepal’s major political actors? Is the formation of Maoist- Madhesi coalition a sign of India’s waning influence on the principals of Nepali politics? Have Nepal’s traditional political parties, the Nepali Congress (NC), and the Communist Party of Nepal (CPN-UML), lost India’s confidence in their ability to achieve a breakthrough with the Maoists in completing the peace process or to effectively encounter the Maoist challenge? This paper examines these questions in order to understand if recent developments in Nepal signal a fundamental recalibration of India-Nepal relations and how India’s policies in Nepal have helped or hindered Nepal’s peace process.

Knowledge, Attitude, and Behavior towards Environmental Quality

Hari Katuwal, University of New Mexico
Alok K. Bohara, University of New Mexico

12:00 AM

We examine the relationship between individual knowledge and attitude towards environmental behavior, namely river ecology, in Kathmandu, Nepal. Environmental problem is one of the most serious challenges of 21st century. Air and water pollution, global warming and climate change, loss of biodiversity and rain forest destruction, and hazardous waste, and so on are some of the examples of current environmental problems. They also constitute local as well as global threat to the future. The relationship between human beings and environment is driven by several factors. These include socioeconomic characteristics like income, education, culture, religion and traditional practices. These characteristics affect individual’s knowledge, attitude and behavior towards environment. We argue that knowledge and attitude directly and indirectly affect individual decision for consumption pattern, use of natural resources, and behavior towards environmental quality. This affects current health as well as sustainability of natural environment. Thus, it is important to know how people think and behave to protect the earth and to sustain the environment. Using data collected from in-person interview of 1200 households in Kathmandu, we examine the importance and impact of knowledge and attitude towards behavior and bring to light any discrepancies between knowledge, attitude and behavior towards river health and restoration. We use knowledge attitude and behavior framework to investigate the relation between knowledge, attitude and behavior towards the quality of water in the Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Remittance, poverty and inequality: Micro-simulation for Nepal

Chakra Acharya, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies
Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies

12:00 AM

This research addresses the question: Is the increase in migration and remittance the main driving force behind the reduction in poverty and the increase in inequality in Nepal? So, our study attempts to answer whether the increased migration and remittance is the main cause of decrease in poverty and increase in inequality in the case of Nepal by examining how differences in prevalence of migration and sources of remittances have diverse impacts on poverty (magnitude) and inequality (magnitude and direction) over time considering remittance as ‘potential substitute’. effects using balanced panel data of 962 households from two rounds of Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) conducted by Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) of Nepal12, we apply fixed effects model to control of the household fixed effects in contrast to most of the previous studies that had used instrumental variables (IV) and Heckman Selection methods (see, for example, Lokshin, Bontch-Osmolovskim, & Glinskaya, 2007; Zhu & Luo, 2010) to control for the endogeneity of remittance income.

“Resource Rich and Income Poor”: Payment for Access to Protected Areas in Nepal

Michal J. Bardecki, Ryerson University
J. Michelle Cook, Ryerson University

12:00 AM

This paper explores the economic valuation of protected areas in Nepal, specifically focusing on two recently published willingness to pay (WTP) studies conducted in the Annapurna region (Baral et al. 2008; Nepal 2007) and a contingent valuation study by the authors exploring tourists’ willingness to pay for access to Chitwan National Park (CNP) (Cook & Bardecki 2012) (Table 2). In each case the focus of the research was on foreign tourists.

Solid Waste Pollution and the Environmental Awareness of Trekkers in the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

Daniele Magditsch, Ryerson University
Peter Moore, Ryerson University

12:00 AM

The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of solid waste management within the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), Nepal. Data that focused on waste quantity and type were collected along the Annapurna Circuit trail over 100 metre transects, as well as 100 metres near major villages. Waste was counted and classified into three categories: readily biodegradable waste (RBW), biodegradable waste (BW), and non-biodegradable waste (NBW). A number of sub-categories were used to further characterize the waste according to material composition.

Stream water survey along the Annapurna Circuit, Nepal

Rhona Scott, Ryerson University

12:00 AM

This paper focuses on stream water testing that took place on the Marshyangdi River, Jharsang Khola and the Kali Gandaki River that are located along the Annapurna Circuit Trek within the Annapurna Conservation Area. Sampling was undertaken from May 16, 2011 to May 28, 2011. A total of 7 samples were taken from the Marshyangdi River, 1 sample from a branch of the Marshyangdi River ( Jharsang Khola), and 5 from the Kali Gandaki River at various accessible points along the trek. An effort was made to sample both upstream and downstream of a village to assess any difference between the two results. Analysis was conducted for Aluminum (Al3+), free Chlorine (Cl), Iron (Fe), Nitrite (NO2 -), and Nitrate (NO3 -), Ammonia (NH3/NH4 +), General Hardness (Ca and Mg) and the presence of Coliform and E. coli.

The Four Pillars of Successful Land Reform: Can Revolutionary Nepal Stand Up?

Ravi Bhandari, St. Mary's College of California, USA
Alex Linghorn, University of London

12:00 AM

The continued failure of land reform has been one of the most contentious issues in the political economy of Nepal for over half-a-century. Civil war (1996-2006) ended with cross-party commitments to implement ‘scientific’ land reform and end feudalism, putting the issue firmly back in the spotlight. Moving beyond traditional land reform debates this paper determines whether the necessary foundations are in place to provide a platform for successful pro-poor redistributive reform. Through the analytical lens of Borras and McKinley’s (2006) ‘4 Pillars’ paradigm, Nepal is assessed vis-à-vis the four fundamental elements of contemporary state-society driven redistributive reform: a beneficiaries-led movement, pro-reform political consensus, productivity-enhancing support to agriculture and an overarching pro-poor growth-oriented development strategy. Provisional exploration exposes less than solid foundations, with beneficiaries providing the only robust support. Nepal’s land reform cannot balance on a single pillar and the new democratic republic faces a considerable challenge to underpin its commitments.

Tourists’ willingness to pay for entry to the Annapurna Conservation Area, Nepal

C. Wrobel, Ryerson University
A. Kozlowski, Ryerson University

12:00 AM

This study seeks to determine international tourists’ willingness to pay (WTP) for entry fees in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA), Nepal. Data were collected in the ACA from May to June of 2011where 101 international tourists participated in a contingent valuation survey. A modified New Environmental Paradigm scale, with both attitudinal and behavioural statements, was utilized to assess the influence of environmental commitment on WTP. The analysis suggests that the rating of trekking as the most important motive for entering the ACA was the only variable with a potentially important influence on WTP for the entrance fee into the ACA. A majority of participants were willing to pay considerably more than the current entry fee of USD 27. Environmental commitment was not found to have a significant effect on WTP. The mean and median WTP values were found to be USD 71.63 and USD 60, respectively. There is some evidence that this study may have been subjected to starting point bias. As such, the WTP values may be inflated.

What Ails Primary Education in India?A Critique of Public Policy

Ghazala Aziz, Aligarh Muslim University
Mohd Saeed Khan, Aligarh Muslim University

12:00 AM

A lot of activities could be observed in recent years to improve primary education in the country. This includes the enactment of Right to Education Act in 2009, imposition of specific tax – education cess. Therefore in terms of resource allocation there has been a manifold increase especially for primary education. But the big question being asked is if these resources are being spent judiciously? In other words as Lant Prichet puts it that fragile States usually suffer from what he termed as ‘capability trap’ as the State implicitly assumes (erroneously) the creation of apparatus would necessarily result in the functional efficiency also. If the approach does not work it amounts to a huge west. Unfortunately the Annual Status of Educational Report (ASER) – 2010 point to very poor outcome in terms of quality as far as the primary education is concerned. Present paper seeks to find explanation as to what went wrong in this sector and what could possibly be the way out from this ‘big stuck’. The data we analyzed point to the fact there has occurred gradual decline in the social monitoring of this sector, resulting in near disappearance of accountability of those who are entrusted with the task of manning the system – educators and administrators. Inability of democratic institutions to stem the rot has also been observed.

Who pollutes? – Household solid waste management problem in Kathmandu, Nepal

Menuka Karki

12:00 AM

This paper estimates the impact of household characteristics on waste disposal choices. Waste disposal choices are: (1) Burning/Dumping (2) Collection and (3) Composting. The analysis shows that urban household prefer less composting and more collection which involve no waste processing and it attributes to the environmental degradation. However, education does not seem to influence waste disposal choices. Easy access to public transportation like bus stop increases environmental quality, which can be a recommended as a policy to decrease environment degradation.