Asia Region Biennial IASC Meeting on “Redefining Diversity and Dynamics of Natural Resource Management in Asia”
Asian Regional Biennial IASC meeting at Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), was inaugurated by President of AIT at AIT Conference Center, Bangkok, Thailand. There were over 50 participants from Asian Region having experiences of research and practical implementation of the common resources management. The participant countries include Indonesia, Nepal, India, Thailand, The Philippines, China, Singapore, Pakistan, Vietnam, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Netherland, and USA.
Prof. Ganesh Shivakoti, Director of Ocean, introduced the themes of the conference that have focus on the natural resources management for resources conservation as well as equitable distribution among the people of all levels. The Conference Themes include;
- Understanding diversity in Governing the natural resources
- Community forestry and social ecological system
- Community irrigation and robustness challenges
- Climate Change, Natural Resources Dynamics and Land use challenges
Among these sessions of themes, several speakers and panel discussions were integrated to reinforce the themes on dynamics of natural resources management. The themes discussed in the conference were quite relevant in the context of growing population and depleting natural resources in Asian Region.
The inaugural speech of President of AIT, Prof. Worsak Kanok-Nukulchai is included herewith along with the agenda of the Conference. Those interested for further information on the conference, please contact to:
Ostrom Center for Advanced Natural Resources Management, AIT
The website link contains at present 160 publication items on irrigation, community development and public administration.
The 8th Asian Regional Conference of International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) selected 6 Sub-themes. One of them is on Enabling Water Users Institutions (WUIs) for sustainability of irrigation Systems.
The thrust of the sub-theme is to enable Water Users Institutions (WUIs) for sustainability of irrigation systems which includes performance assessment, enterprising, and sustainability of WUIs; institutional and policy landscape of irrigation / drainage sectors; process and procedure of participatory irrigation development / operation / maintenance in various countries; role of irrigation/ farmers / water users’ organization in improved irrigation system performance; etc. In this sub-theme, many papers were received and presented in the conference. Along with paper presentation, a symposium of eminent luminaries of irrigation development and management was organized focusing on “Nexuses Challenges in Irrigation Institutions”. There were two parts of symposium; one started with key note speeches by Dr. Asit Biswas (video presentation) followed by Dr. Doug Merrey and case study presentation by Engineer Devesh Belbase. The second session was the panel discussion by the event personalities from Nepal, India, China, Japan and Indonesia.
The responsibility of the organization of this symposium was assigned to Farmer Managed Irrigation Systems Promotion Trust (FMIST) and Dr. Prachanda Pradhan, Patron of FMIST took the responsibility of organizing and conducting the symposium in this theme.
A group of like minded people got together and decided to establish a specialized organization which takes care of advocacy and promotional activities of farmer managed irrigation systems of Nepal. Nepal is known for its tradition of farmer managed irrigation systems (FMIS). In this country, farmers are collectively engaged in irrigated agricultural development as an enterprise since time immemorial. There are thousands of FMIS in the country. These FMIS provide irrigation services to 70 percent of the country’s total irrigated area of little over of 1.2 million ha. Hence, FMIS have gained on their own a status that is symbolic of the national heritage in Nepal. They are the mainstay of the country’s food security as well as social and political stability. Mostly, these FMIS are location-specific, indigenous in their management practices and representative of the local organizational needs and services to deliver. FMIS symbolizes grass root democratic institution where community takes responsibility of natural resource management and allocation. They represent a sustained decentralized pattern of organizations. Nepal’s FMIS are indigenous and have autonomous operational characteristics providing basic hope for the sustainable management and development of the nation’s natural resources wherein water is the most precious resource of all.
Despite the country’s national FMIS heritage, there are no dedicated institutional means to recognize the FMIS that have been surviving in the face of social, organizational, economic, technical and environmental challenges. No self-initiated and systemic institutional support exists to facilitate these FMIS to develop their comparative capacity vis-a-vis the challenges. Besides this, these FMIS have largely remained incommunicative to the global community. Such a situation has constrained the FMIS from evolving into a competitive socio-economic entity. Hence, there is a need to conserve and preserve such a national heritage in the form of FMIS as functional institutions in the diverse socio-economic and geo-setting of Nepal.
Taking into consideration of those important features of FMIS, a trust called “ Farmer Managed Irrigation System Promotional Trust” (FMIST) representing members of different disciplines was formed and registered under Association Act of Nepal in 1988. It plays a role of advocacy, promotional and conservation of values embodied in them
- To provide the FMIS increased recognition for their organizational and management innovations, and indigenous knowledge and skills;
- To recognize the value of the FMIS in the wider socio-economic and political context and share information about their institutions;
- To bring them into the global stream of creativity, well being and self-governance in a way that makes themselves aware of the value and uniqueness of their own institutional assets;
- To disseminate the knowledge on FMIS through seminar, workshop and contribution in academic papers; and
- To develop human resources and knowledge base on FMIS through applied research and training.
The specific objectives of the Trust are as follows:
- To recognize one FMIS periodically for its best practice in a specified field that helps in sustainable organization, management and technology of irrigated agricultural system;
- To provide the officials of these FMIS exposure and orientation to the irrigated agricultural system development and management practices;
- To widely disseminate the basic features of the award winning FMIS;
- To conduct and encourage FMIS related research that directly helps to promote a knowledge-base on FMIS through research support grant (RSG); and
- To provide a networking forum for national and international dialogue on FMIS.