Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal (CSUWN)

What was the project about

 Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal (CSUWN) promotes the conservation and sustainable use of wetland resources through the collaborative management of Nepal's wetlands.

The five year project "Conservation and Sustainable Use of Wetlands in Nepal" (CSUWN) was officially signed in March 2007 by UNDP and Government of Nepal (GoN). The project was a unique collaboration between the GoN, GEF/UNDP and IUCN Nepal. The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MFSC) of the Government of Nepal (GoN) was the implementing agency of the project and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) will provide technical assistance. The project was the result of an extensive GEF Project Development & Formulation exercise (PDF-B) that took place from 2000 to 2004. The project came into effect in January 2008 and was officially launched with the conduction of inception workshop in March 2008.

The project had two major demonstration sites, both Ramsar sites, which reflected their unique importance among global wetlands. The Koshi Tappu Wildlife Reserve, situated in eastern Nepal, covers together with its buffer zones an area of 348,000 ha. The Ghodaghodi Lake Area (GLA) is located in Kailali district in the Far Western Nepal and covers an area of 2,563 ha. Approximately 150,000 people from over 25,000 households live in the project demonstration areas.

The overall goal of the project was to ensure maintenance and enhancement of wetland biodiversity and environmental goods and services for improved local livelihoods in Nepal. The project objectives were to strengthen national and local capacity in ecosystem management and sustainable use of wetland biodiversity. The project aimed to achieve these objectives through policy development and developing sustainable livelihood options for the local people. The project will ensure that national policies and planning frameworks identify and protect wetlands of global significance and threatened species, including migratory species. Awareness and capacity of Nepal to engage in and to promote international policies and collaborative efforts for wetlands conservation will be strengthened.

The project had been designed to influence two cycles of national and local development plans and to allow adequate time to achieve visible results and proper stakeholder takeover of project activities. Partnerships and capacity will be developed at both the national and local levels to influence long-term changes regarding the perception, value, and sustainable management of wetlands in Nepal to ensure sustainability and replication of project acticvities even after the cessation of the project.

Furthermore, the project hadl work in close contact with local user groups, NGOs and government line agencies in the field, emphasizing the social inclusion in the decision making processes.

The project outcomes were:

  1. Wetland biodiversity conservation values integrated into national policy and planning framework;
  2. Strengthened national institutional, technical and economic capacity and awareness for wetland biodiversity conservation and sustainable use
  3. Enhanced collaborative management of wetland resources for conservation and sustainable livelihoods.

What had we accomplished so far

  • Formation of a National Wetland Committee (NWC), an apex body responsible for inter-sectoral coordination to address wetland issues and concerns at the national level.  The NWC is supported by a Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) and a Specialist Network;
  •  Formation of a Multistakholder Forum (MSF) at GLA for promoting collaborative management for conservation and wise use of wetlands;
  • Establishment of indicator species for regular biological monitoring;
  • Identification and mapping of critical wetland sites and restoration opportunities;
  • A total of 463 wetland dependant households (HH) have been identified and tagged to provide them with various livelihood interventions to increase their HH income;
  • Conservation, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) Strategy and Dissemination Framework (2011-2015) prepared for the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC), the Ramsar authority for Nepal;
  • Wetland related technical knowledge base generated for building technical capacity and awareness which include:
    • Wetlands Economic Valuation Tool and an associated training manual;
    • Wetland Inventory, Assessment and Monitoring (WIAM) Tool;
    • Conservation, Education, Participation and Awareness (CEPA) materials;
    • Wetlands Indigenous Knowledge (WIK) Documentation Methodology;
    • Wetlands Invasive Alien Species Management Guidelines;
  • Preparation of a Catchment Level Management Plan (2011-2015) for GLA

Who Financed it?

Amount contributed
GEF $1.96m
UNDP $0.4m

Government of Nepal

(in-kind contribution)

Total budget $3.5 million

Delivery in previous fiscal year




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