Kathmandu, 17 November 2004.
by Anil Raut
During the 'Technical Training on Air Quality Management' held in Kathmandu on 2-6 August 2004, participants emphasized on the need of networking among them. Although there are some formal networks existing in Nepal among the organizations working on other environmental issues, there was no formal network on air quality in Nepal until recently. On the last day of the training, participants discussed the modalities of the local air quality network. A brief survey was carried out among the participants about the proposed local network. All the responding participants agreed on the need of a local network. Through survey, participants also assigned major work and responsibility to the network. They include: Information collection and dissemination including regular publication of newsletter; Research, advocacy & awareness; Discussion; Coordination; Prepare action plan for AQM; Monitoring and decision making; Networking. Mostly, participants gave emphasis on the information collection and dissemination where the network should work seriously and justified the need to form the network for this purpose.
Now formally, the local network has been formed. The network called itself 'Clean Air Network - Nepal (CAN-N)', has 60 general members (institutional as well as individual) mainly working on air quality issues. At its first formal meeting held on 17 November 2004 in Kathmandu, CAN-N members formally endorsed the proposal to form a network which was proposed during the technical training on AQM and a 9 member core committee was formed comprising of government, academia, I/NGO and Donor representatives. The core committee will meet regularly and work to fulfill objectives of the network. Occasional meetings and consultations will be held with all general members but this will be on the interval not more than 6 months. Centre for Pollution Studies (CPS) at Institute of Engineering (IoE), Kathmandu agreed to host the Secretariat and Prof. Rabindra Nath Bhattarai of CPS, IoE took the responsibility to coordinate the network. The network will work mainly on information sharing, coordination, representation, advocacy, public awareness and small projects related to clean air with short term and long term strategy. The network has already started a local listserv to discuss national clean air issues and some pilot campaigns on road dust, brick kilns has been initiated through the listserv.
The training was organized by His Majesty's Government of Nepal, Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), under RETA 6159 of Asian Development Bank (ADB). The training was part of the capacity building of the local experts on different aspects of Air Quality Management (AQM) under RETA 6159.
Update (August 4): Core members of CAN-N met to discuss the possible ways in which CAN-N can have more definite and recognized entity and yet retain its independence and operational flexibility. The session was a sort of brain-storming session and the 'form' that came out more clearly is that of the 'Society' pattern such as Society of Mechanical Engineers (SOMEN), Society of Electrical Engineers (SEEN), Society of Nepalese Architects (SONA), SOPHEN, etc. The Societies can be registered with HMG and can have their own identity. According to that pattern, may be we should call CANN, CANN Society or CANN Samaj and have it registered. This way CANN can have its own definite concrete entity and also enjoy operational flexibility as defined in its bidhan. (The Bidhan has to be made before it can be registered)