Celebrating Local Efforts in Biodiversity Conservation

30 years of Global Environment Facility- Small Grant Programme

June 12, 2024
a group picture of all those present at the UNDP GEF-SGP 30 Years celebration

UNDP Nepal celebrated 30 years of Global Environment Facility Small Grant Programme recognizing the commendable efforts jointly made by the Government of Nepal, local communities, indigenous people, and partners in biodiversity conservation to tackle environmental issues.

an indigenous woman at her stall


With the theme ‘Thinking Globally and Acting Locally’, UNDP’s Global Environment Facility – Small Grant Programme GEF-SGP has been dedicated to conserving and restoring the natural world while enhancing the livelihoods of people. Since 1992, more than 29,000 projects have been implemented under the UNDP GEF-SGP while 286 local initiatives have been implemented since its initiation in Nepal in 1998.

an indigenous woman at her stall


The chief guest of the programme, Honorable Chairperson Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar of the Indigenous Nationalities Commission (INC), inaugurated the event by showcasing the video of GEF-SGP’s 30 years.

Mr. Vivek Dhar Sharma, National Coordinator of the programme highlighted its significance by emphasizing innovation and promoting local initiatives to scale up the efforts. 

a man giving a presentation


At the event, Tergar Charity Nepal, recipients of the Equator Prize 2023 were given a certificate of appreciation for their work on improving food security in the face of harsh climate & terrain in Samagaun which is located at a height of 3,550 meters. 

people being awarded a certificate of appreciation


Speaking at the event, Chair of the Indigenous Nationalities Commission Honorable Chairperson Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa Magar highlighted the significance of conserving indigenous language, art and culture and linking it with biodiversity conservation as more than 95% of the SGP projects compromise of indigenous people as stakeholders or beneficiaries. He added, “Collaboration between UNDP and the Indigenous Nationalities Commission would further promote and preserve indigenous knowledge”.  

a speaker addressing a gathering


Meanwhile, UNDP Nepal’s Resident Representative Ms. Ayshanie Medagangoda-Labé said, “We need an integrated approach to promote nature, biodiversity, and indigenous knowledge. As we celebrate 30 years of GEF-SGP, let's use SGP to bring coherence between policies and action, uphold meaningful partnerships, and blend science and knowledge.”

UNDP Resident Representative Ayshanie addressing guests at the SGP celebration


The event also featured three panel discussions on Biodiversity and Land Degradation, Biodiversity and Indigenous People, and Climate Change and Chemicals. 

The panel discussion on Biodiversity and Land Degradation highlighted the conservation efforts of vultures which is one of the endangered species. The discussion further presented the Rupa Lake Watershed conservation and promotion of cooperatives. The discussion also shed light on the Khoria Improvement Program, aimed at mitigating the effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases by controlling slash-and-burn farming. Additionally, it explained the participatory landscape in Tanahusur, highlighting the involvement of the community people of Tanahusur in SGP projects.

a collage of pictures featuring a panel discussion


The second panel discussion brought into light the practices of indigenous communities in conserving their water sources, forests, and land. For impactful and effective implementation of initiatives in these regions, local knowledge and practices need to be adopted and adapted. 

a collage of pictures featuring a panel discussion


Similarly, the third panel discussion on “Climate Change and Chemicals” featured presentations highlighting Mercury Waste Management, Municipal Solid Waste Management, Climate Change and Development, and Dignified Menstruation. The panel discussion highlighted the issues such as ‘’Challenges to Implementing Sustainable Practices in Existing Hospitals’, ‘Waste Management Project in Ward number 12’, and ‘Zero Plastic’. The panelists also discussed linkages between waste management practices, climate change and biodiversity loss while emphasizing on local-level solutions with potential for a global impact. 

a collage of pictures featuring a panel discussion


In Nepal, SGP has supported 155 Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to implement 286 projects. While doing so, SGP has funded USD 9.95M and generated USD11.7M as co-funding. GEF SGP provides grants up to USD 50,000 to address the focal areas namely biodiversity conservation, climate change mitigation, land degradation prevention, international waters protection and chemicals and waste management.

a picture of UNDP ARR Mr. Vijaya Singh


Mr. Vijaya Singh, Policy Advisor, Assistant Resident Representative at UNDP, said, “The projects under Small Grants Programme are designed and owned by the community, addressing issues from biodiversity conservation to climate solutions.” He stressed on the significance of policy coherence and actionable plans to integrate environmental solutions with livelihood promotion. 

UNDP Deputy Resident Representative Julien addressing guests at the SGP celebration


Mr. Julien Chevillard, Deputy Resident Representative, UNDP Nepal extended his gratitude to the partners and grantees for their contribution on the success of the event. He also expressed his delight in the three-decade-long collaboration with local communities and voiced his desire to sustain their collective endeavors in biodiversity conservation.

A scenic picture of SGP's 30 year celebration at Gokarna Forest Resort


During nearly three decades of GEF SGP implementation, SGP projects were successful in wining 47 awards including a dozen of global awards and 2 Equator Prizes.