6 Ensure environmental sustainability

Where we are?

Environment - Target Possible to achieve if changes are made

After a slump in the 1990s and early 2000s, forest cover has been made relatively stable in the past years, reaching 29 percent today. Also protected areas have increased slightly through the increase in community protected areas, which benefit the environment and protect the livelihoods of communities. However, factors like internal migration, uncontrolled encroachment of forest for habitation and agriculture, and high dependency on forest resources for livelihood, threatens to slow down further development and destroy acquired improvements. Government institutions' capacity to manage forests on a sustainable basis should be enhanced and the Government should develop a system to track the forest cover as well as its quality.

Rural people's access to modern sources of energy has improved over recent years through the expansion of grid-based and off-grid decentralized options, including both electricity and non-electricity technologies.

Water and Sanitation - Target Likely to be achieved

Nepal has 225 billion metric cube of water available annually. However, an estimated 15 billion metric cube (6.66 per cent) from medium and small rivers has so far been utilized for economic and social purposes, mainly for drinking water, irrigation and hydropower generation. The large river systems have been virtually left untapped.

Water supply systems that are functioning poorly need urgent rehabilitation and maintenance to ensure a sustained supply of water. Sanitation coverage is lagging far behind water supply coverage. Stand alone sanitation programme has been launched to minimize the gap. The share of people living without water and sanitation has more than halved since the nineties. Already during the 2000s, access to clean water has risen by sixteen percentage points from 73 to 89 percent. Rural sanitation coverage remains a main concern in this sector.

Targets for MDG7
  1. Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources
  2. Reduce biodiversity loss, achieving, by 2010, a significant reduction in the rate of loss
    • Proportion of land area covered by forest and proportion of species threatened with extinction
    • CO2 emissions, total, per capita and per $1 GDP (PPP)
    • Consumption of ozone-depleting substances
    • Proportion of fish stocks within safe biological limits
    • Proportion of total water resources used
    • Proportion of terrestrial and marine areas protected
  3. Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation
    • Proportion of population using an improved drinking water source
    • Proportion of population using an improved sanitation facility
  4. Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020
    • Proportion of urban population living in slums