Communities demand Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) to be a National priority project
August 22, 2014, Kathmandu:
People of Himalayan communities of Nepal have demanded the Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) to be an agenda of national priority. The members of Himalayan regions, that fall on the GHT trek routes from Darchula in the West to Kanchanjunga in the East, have come together to advocate the issues faced in the Himalayas forming Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities.
Amidst a ceremony organized in Kathmandu on Friday evening, the Honorable Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation, Mr. Mahesh Acharya launched the Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities (CAHC), a national civil society led initiative to present the issues from the Himalayas to the world. The alliance will work towards carrying the credible voice of Himalayan communities on various environmental and social issues to the world at large. Founded by the mountain people in leadership of legendry Ang Tshering Sherpa, CAHC represents the Authentic Voice of the Himalayan Communities of Nepal.
Addressing the launch ceremony, the Chairperson of CAHC, Mr. Ang Tshering Sherpa said, “We, the Himalayan Communities have grown tired of being represented nationally, regionally and internationally by everyone except us. We are capable of representing ourselves at any forum, and talk about our problems and likely solutions ourselves. Therefore, we have come up together forming CAHC to strongly advocate about the problems and issues faced in the Himalayas and come up with smart solutions to tackle those”.
The Ho’ble Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation, Mr. Mahesh Acharya said, “Although Himalayas are the most incredible part of our country, it has always remained far from development. The activities and agendas designed for the development of Himalayan communities have not been able to touch the core issues there. I believe that this alliance will succeed in bringing forth the actual issues and problems of the Himalayan communities which will help place the development agendas rightly”.
The General Secretary of CAHC, Mr. Prashant Singh presented about the background of CAHC’s establishment. He said, “The Climate Change and Global warming is threatening the Himalayan communities many times more than the rest of the world. Our brothers and sisters living in the Himalayas have no option but to live under constant dangers of getting buried under millions of tons of debris and water-in-the-glacial-lakes sitting atop adjacent mountains. With the help of its members from the mountain region across Nepal, CAHC will advocate these issues, representing the entire Himalayan communities”.
The Director General of ICIMOD, Dr. David Molden said, “The communities in Nepal’s Himalayas continue to be deprived of modern day development. Many people and institutions in the world provide funds and technical assistance to improve their lives. But, most of the resources the world provides are seen being spent on unproductive and superficial activities that barely touch their problems, that too, without the knowledge of mountain communities. Now, I can be sure that the problems of the mountain people will be addressed properly by the efforts of CAHC and its members”. ICIMOD is supporting Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities in its initial phase.
Vice President of National Planning Commission, Dr. Govinda Pokhrel assured to take the issues of mountain communities to all concerned levels and make efforts in bringing relevant programs to address the problems in the Himalayas.
CAHC will continuously work to create a link between the mountain community needs and those who can provide solutions to meet such needs.
The launching ceremony was attended by Minister of Industry and Commerce, Mr. Karna Bh. Thapa, Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Mr. Bhim Acharya, State Minister of Labor and Employment, Mr. Tek Bh. Gurung, many constituency assembly members representing mountain regions, ambassadors and consulates representing various countries in Nepal and many more renowned public personalities. Cultural show representing various Himalayan cultures and people and authentic Himalayan food was the highlight of the program.
About the organization:
The Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities (CAHC) is a national civil society led initiative to present the issues from the Himalayas to the world. The alliance comprises local community leaders and influential representatives from the different sections along the Great Himalayan Trail. The members of this community will play active roles in their communities to raise awareness and understanding of climate change through a national, regional and global initiative. This alliance will also play an active role in bringing local issues of Himalayan communities to the forefront of national debate.
The Great Himalayan Trail
The GHT is a newly launched tourism product by the Government of Nepal. It is a long distance walking trail along the length of the Himalayas in Nepal envisaged under the GHT Development program led by Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Renowned mountaineer Apa Sherpa (21 time Mt. Everest Summiteer) and Dawa Steven Sherpa (Mt. Everest Summiteer and Leader of Eco Everest Expedition organizing every year since 2008 which is dedicated for the protection of mountain environment) embarked on a 1555 km and 99 days long GHT on 15 January 2012. The event was endorsed by the climate change council, the apex body of Gov. of Nepal headed by Rt.Hon’ble Prime Minister.
GHT-CSCT was organized by Himalayan Climate Initiative in coordination with the Gov. of Nepal, particularly with Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Tourism with the support from DFID, The British Council, SNV, The North Face, NMA, Asian Trekking and GHTDP partners.
The Great Himalayan Trail (GHT) network will work towards harnessing tourism with a market-led approach to improve livelihoods and bring sustainable development opportunities to remote and poor Himalayan communities through the creation of an iconic and globally significant new tourism product for Nepal. The GHT is a network of existing paths and trade routes spanning the length of the country from where we the members of Climate Alliance of Himalayan Communities represented from Dharchula in the west to Kanchenjunga in the east, packaged and promoted the world’s great walks. Over the longer terms, the GHT has the potential to traverse the length of the Himalayan Region stretching through impoverished mountain areas of Pakistan, India and Bhutan.
The GHT can do wonders for the development of the Himalayan region in Nepal. If developed in climate smart ways, it can help mountain communities to confront climate change.
Just like one Mount Everest and it promotion, brought so much development for the people in the Khumbu region, one Annapurna brought so much development for the people of Annapurna region, the declaration of GHT as a National Pride Project can do wonderful things for most communities in the Himalayas. It can become a relaying point for all kinds of investors and development agencies to invest in the mountains.