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Kathmandu Declaration of the People's SAARC Convention on Ecological Conservation

by the Geo-Environmental Conservation Movement Nepal - Central Committee, 26 November 2014 (In parallel with the SAARC meet in Kathmandu, there was a meeting of environmental activists of SAARC countries in Kathmandu, which was organised at the initiative of the ICOR parties and organisations. This is the statement of the said meeting.)

Heads of State and Governments
18th SAARC summit, summit venue
SAARC Secretariat
Right Honorable Prime Minister
Office of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Singha Durbar, Kathmandu, Nepal

Subject: Kathmandu Declaration of the People's SAARC Convention on Ecological Conservation.

A three day people's SAARC convention from November 23 to 25 was held in Kathmandu by Geo-Environmental Conservation Movement Nepal, focusing on the challenges of climate change and environmental conservation issues in South Asia. In the conference, 150 people including representatives of environment conservation organizations, environmental law experts, environmentalists, economists, campaigners for social and environmental awareness from Nepal, India and Germany actively participated. In the inaugural session, representatives from major political parties from Nepal, India and Germany were present. They expressed their view that climate change challenges should be taken seriously and all efforts should be initiated immediately to identify the causes of change and then to give priority for the solution of these challenges with the solidarity of people on the basis of effective policies and programs to lead a movement in this regard. In the conference, altogether 20 papers were presented highlighting the challenges of climate change and its impacts as well as shedding light on the concerned laws, international measures and the steps to be taken in the course of implementation. The conference in the end has issued 21 point Kathmandu Declaration with a view to meeting the challenge of climate change and conserving the nature accordingly. This declaration draws the attention of the heads of nations and governments participating in the 18th SAARC summit for preventing the exploitation of natural resources and then implementing the programs which are environmental friendly, and which will in the long run enhance the quality of human life and preserve biodiversity.

1. The conference demands that policy and programs should be implemented in an effective way for the conservation of environment, environmental friendly sustainable agriculture, forest conservation, water resources, scientific policy for land use, systematic settlement and urbanization, management of waste materials, scientific land management and distribution, systematic and controlled migration, basic and quality education for all, health, employment, and for ensuring social security.

2. Just and self dependent policies and programs should be implemented in South Asia by ending the intervening and exploitative policies of imperialist and neo liberalists who have been exploiting natural resources in an uncontrolled way for sheer profit.

3. A powerful pressure should be created in all South Asian countries for the sake of environmental conservation and implementation of all policies, laws, programs as well as all international treaties concerning environmental conservation effectively and unconditionally.

4. All the stakeholders in SAARC region, including politicians, experts, entrepreneurs, lawyers, civil society members, journalists, intellectuals and laborers should be educated and galvanized in the campaign of environmental conservation.

5. A SAARC level responsible and powerful environment research should be established for study and research of issues related to environment and climate change as well as biodiversity and the question of protecting all lives living in the region.

6. Special policies and programs should be introduced to protect the Himalayan range known as the Third Pole with over 2400 square kilometers in its length, the basis of life which is being destroyed because of human induced climate change.

7. Industrial nations, which are responsible for imperialist and intervening actions in developing countries, should take immediate compulsive initiatives to reduce green house gas emission with the aim to limiting temperature below 1.5 degree Celsius, considering that if it is not controlled, it will create environmental catastrophe in South Asia.

8. South Asian nations should create pressure against the intervening policies of imperialist countries and then give priority to face the challenges of climate change by way of restoring the rights of farmers in seeds in the light of excessive modernization inspired by corporate agriculture policies as well as GMO technology.

9. To eliminate exploitation by the industrial nations in the pretext of carbon trade, low carbon emitting nations should empower local communities about forest and biodiversity conservation to ensure the local people's rights.

10. SAARC level Emergency Alert Geo Environmental Information Center should be established to disseminate information about ecological disaster due to climate change.

11. Environment friendly education system should be implemented to educate students from primary to university level about climate change and challenges of environmental conservation.

12. A powerful SAARC mechanism should be established to ensure the fundamental rights, needs, social security, and the distribution of clean water in an equitable way to the people living in the region.

13. Every nation in the SAARC region should take initiative to create SAARC level agriculture development fund on the one hand and also create opportunities for employment, income, livelihood, by way of developing self dependent national economy that gives priority to natural agriculture as a strategic initiative by allocating 30% of its national budget on the other hand.

14. Effective laws should be framed in all SAARC countries along with establishing a constitutional environment court with a view to rendering severe punishment to individuals and institutions that are responsible for environmental pollution and the damage of people's lives and property.

15. A common high level SAARC regional mechanism should be created for the conservation of rivers, Himalayas, lakes, Mahabharat ranges, national forests, wild life, and wetlands, in the context of emerging environmental challenges.

16. Environment friendly and effective evaluation policies should be adopted in the SAARC region to discourage the large scale infrastructure in the name of rapid development and then promote environment friendly small and middle scale physical infrastructure.

17. SAARC nations should utilize natural resources like water, land, herbal, forest, human, renewable energy, and hydropower for employment oriented and sustainable economic development.

18. An effective policy should be implemented for the easy transportation of goods and movement of people by way of developing land, water and air ways in an environmental friendly manner.

19. For the conservation of environment, SAARC nations should frame transparent political, economic, social and cultural policies by way of enacting laws to promote and practice good governance and then to punish corrupt, criminals, war lords, smugglers, land grabbers, builders of atomic plant centers and the people who misuse their public positions without showing any mercy.

20. SAARC nations should create special pressure to end the strategic nuclear arms rivalry between India and Pakistan in one hand and the intervening economic policies of multinational companies, financial institutions, World Bank, IMF, ADB, WTO, directed to developing countries for the sake of environmental conservation on the other hand.

21. Environmental crisis is not confined to any region as it is a global problem that has created serious challenges. So, we make an appeal to all the nations in South Asia in particular and the whole world in general to initiate constructive programs in the form of conservation campaign by way of galvanizing stake holders like government agencies, political forces, social networks, organizations active in environmental conservation, civil society, intellectuals, professors, journalists, and the laborers to face the challenges created by climate change.

26 November 2014

(Presented by President Rashmi Raj Nepali in the house and adopted by the participants with some amendments by voice vote in Kathmandu)

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