NTNC's Governing Board of Trustees convened for its 59th Board meeting today on 12 August 2020. The meeting was organized virtually, keeping in mind the current Covid-19 situation, and was chaired by Hon. Shakti Bahadur Basnet, Minister for Forests and Environment, who is also the Chairman of NTNC.
Trustees in attendance were Dr Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary, Ministry of Forests and Environment; Mr Ram Raj Regmi; Dr Giri Raj Tripathi; Mr Shambu Dangal; Mr Saral Sahayatri Paudel; Ms Swati Thapa; and Mr Yajna Nath Dahal, NTNC Member Secretary; including NTNC’s Executive Directors, Dr Siddhartha Bajra Bajracharya and Mr Deepak Kumar Singh.
Deliberations at the meeting were kept mainly focusing on NTNC's target programmes, plans and strategies for the new Nepali fiscal year 2077-78 (2020-21), commencing recently on July 16, and mapping the road ahead in the context of an increasingly uncertain and costly pandemic.
The Covid-19 situation has already posed considerable challenges to the country's protected area management system, which relies heavily on tourism revenues for implementing its conservation and community-focused programs. Keeping with the existing scenario the Board pressed on the urgency for devising better coping strategies, since as an autonomous not-for-profit institution NTNC is required to generate funds on its own, including through projects it directly manages on behalf of the Government of Nepal, through the Annapurna Conservation Area Project, Manaslu Conservation Area Project, Gaurishankar Conservation Area Project, and management of the Central Zoo.
The Hon. Minister and NTNC Chairman has advised preparing for potential scenarios to deal with the present crisis better, especially since tourism activity is not expected to recover any time earlier than by the end of next year. The Board has made some recommendations seeking alternative course of actions, like narrowing programme focus strictly on NTNC's core priorities and competencies, expanding donor reach and value, building partnerships and collaborations especially at local levels, promoting health and safety standards, mitigating financial risks, and reviewing existing resources and skills for future mobilization.
Decisions/actions taken by the Board:
- Endorsement of the proposed programme and budget for the fiscal year 2077/78 (2020/21)
- Endorsement of NTNC's Strategic Plan 2020-2025
- Approval of revised NTNC Environmental and Social Management Framework (ESMF) Policy
- Progress review of programme and budget of fiscal year 2076/77 (2019/20)
- Endorsement of the audited financial report of fiscal year 2075/76 (2018/19)