This question will be followed up by 40 participants from 22 countries during a seminar in Kathmandu and Sauraha/Chitwan. The group belongs to the ANESCo network (“Alumni Network for Ecology, Sustainability and Conservation”) consisting of former students at German universities, which are qualified, engaged and experienced in the fields of sustainability, ecology and / or conservation. After fruitful project seminars in 2013 and 2015 in Germany ANESCo this time have its third meeting in Nepal with the support of DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service). Target of the seminar is, among other, to learn about best-practices as well as positive and negative effects of ecotourism for a sustainable development with a special focus on tourism-induced greenhouse gas emissions, compensation opportunities, wildlife management and nature conservation as well as socio-economic development.
LT&C, which actively took part already in the ANESCo seminar 2015 on the German island of Rügen, has been again invited as expert on tourism and conservation. While on Rügen the LT&C-Example “Königsstuhl” and a sustainable tourism concept for the entire island was part of the programme, this time the group will study the perspectives of sustainable- and ecotourism for Nepal as an entire country. Thereby also the Chitwan National Park will be visited and its qualification as LT&C-Example assessed in special group work.
Already on the first day of the seminar it became obvious that
- ANESCo is a valuable group of highly motivated and experienced environmental professionals with background in many different, particular developing, countries, which has high potential to create positive impact for globally important solutions through knowledge exchange and mutual inspiration;
- the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the most appropriate global frame for assessing perspectives and opportunities of sustainable- or ecotourism, being in mind and pointed out by several speakers and participants;
- in Nepal tourism, based on outstanding nature and protected areas, plays a particular important role for the economy and the sustainable development of the country.
The kick-off meeting started with a presentation on “Eco tourism in Nepal: challenges, solutions and future prospects” by Dr. Maheshwor Dhakal, Joint secretary in the Ministry of Forest and Soil conservation, Government of Nepal. This introduction demonstrated that there is a high overlap between the interests, focus and activities to be found in Nepal and the mission of Linking Tourism & Conservation (LT&C). It will be therefore a target from LT&C’s perspective to achieve during the seminar a proper description and profile of Nepal as an LT&C-Example, where tourism is supporting the development and safeguarding of several national parks with complementary benefits for sustainable development of surrounding communities.