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30 May, 2022

His Excellency Park Chong-suk, Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to Nepal and Mr. Um Hong-gil, record-holder mountaineer and executive director of the Um Hong-gil Human Foundation, visited the NTNC central office today where an introductory meeting was organized with NTNC, led by, NTNC Chairperson Dr. Krishna Prasad Oli, NTNC Board Member Ms. Rekha Ghimire, and NTNC Member Secretary Mr. Sharad Chandra Adhikary.

Other guests at the meeting included private sector persons, Mr. Suhrid Ghimire, chairman of Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology, and Ms. Bishakha Laxmi Khadka, head of corporate communications & CSR, representing the mobile service provider, Ncell Axiata Ltd.

The meeting was organized to build on opportunities for learning and potential collaboration within the biodiversity conservation and development space between Nepal and the Republic of Korea, along with Nepal's private sector.

Board member of NTNC, Ms. Ghimire made the welcome address and highlighted past associations between NTNC and the Republic of Korea, including opportunities for strengthening relations. This followed a brief presentation about NTNC's work by the NTNC Programme Manager Dr. Naresh Subedi.

Ambassador Park Chong-suk, said he was impressed to learn about the uniqueness of the institution, its integrative approach and level of capacity, and the scope of work being undertaken to keep the rich natural heritage of Nepal secure. The ambassador expressed his pleasure to learn about NTNC's past associations with academicians from his country, and said he looked forward to pursuing opportunities for collaboration in the near future.

Mr. Um Hong-gil, renowned for summiting the 16 highest peaks in the world, and whose philanthropy in Nepal has earned him an honorary citizen in the country, expressed his concern for the Himalayas being impacted by climate change. He noted his experience of the increasing rate of glacial melt being seen in the high mountains, attributing them as being "like forces of mass destruction" for downstream communities if targeted actions to reverse or mitigate them were not made soon.

Expanding on the climate change outlook in Nepal, NTNC Chairperson Dr. Oli, said that the Republic of Korea could have an important role, especially through the implementation of Article 8 of the Paris Agreement, relating to the issue of "loss and damage" incurred as a result of the adverse effects of climate change on less developed countries. Here he noted the loss of glaciers in Nepal as being near-to-irreversible events. Besides climate change Dr. Oli spoke about collaboration opportunities between the two countries in areas of environmental economics, ecosystem restoration, research and technology, and comprehensive risk management.

NTNC Member Secretary Mr. Adhikary added about the institution's interest in forming a dedicated NTNC chapter in Korea and shared his willingness to strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries through promotion of science-based conservation capacities and green growth means.