Padmendra Shrestha on the Intricacies of Community Engagement in Nepal's Hydropower Development Projects
PODS by PEIAugust 29, 2023x
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00:33:2330.73 MB

Padmendra Shrestha on the Intricacies of Community Engagement in Nepal's Hydropower Development Projects

An Environmental Assessment (EA) is a recognized mechanism to assess and predict an infrastructure project's potential environmental, social, and economic impacts. In the context of hydropower development, EAs are conducted to identify, evaluate, and mitigate the project's impact on both the natural environment and the communities. Nepal started EAs in 1997. However, their effectiveness has been in question. In almost all cases, EAs are conducted as a formality rather than to mitigate environmental impacts. Some have even highlighted that developers use political patronage. Similarly, others have argued that since EAs don’t have scientific and practical considerations, their actual implementation and monitoring fall short.

Recently, in the new budget, the finance minister announced plans to expedite the EA processes, to speed the development of infrastructure projects for economic growth, potentially risking the effectiveness of the tool.

In this episode, we have PEI Colleague Shreeya in conversation with Padmendra Shrestha on the intricacies of community engagement in Nepal’s Hydropower Development Projects.

Shreeya and Padmendra discuss the community engagement processes undertaken by project proponents while developing hydropower projects, and they evaluate how they communicate the environmental, social, and financial risks, responsibilities, and opportunities to community stakeholders.

Padmendra is currently pursuing his Ph.D in the School of Geography and Development at the University of Arizona. Padmendra is an urban and regional planner with expertise in community-based planning and conflict resolution with a concentration on natural resource, environment, and infrastructure-related disputes.

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