Golam Rasul, PhD
Head, Economic Analysis Division,
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development
Dr Golam Rasul, Head, Economic Analysis Division, is a development economist from Bangladesh. Prior to his appointment as Head of the Economic Analysis Division in August 2009, he served as a policy development specialist at ICIMOD for approximately five years. Dr Rasul holds a PhD in regional and rural development planning from the Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), Thailand. He worked for more than a decade in the Bangladesh Civil Service in different ministries and in field administration in different capacities where he was involved in the formulation and implementation of development planning and programming. Along with development work, he has been actively involved in research in areas that include agriculture, natural resource management, poverty alleviation, and sustainable development in Bangladesh and the South Asian region.
His research findings have been published in many international journals including World Development, Environmental Management, Journal of Environmental Management, Environmental Conservation, Sustainability: Science, Practice & Policy, Society and Natural Resources, Regional Development Studies, Development in Practice. His five papers have appeared as ‘most read papers’ in their respective journals in Science Direct and Sage. Dr Rasul provides intellectual leadership to mainstream economic concepts, tools, and approaches in ICIMOD’s three Strategic Programmes with a view to contributing to the achievement of the strategic objectives of the Centre. He is currently working on green economy, valuation of ecosystem services, sustainable mountain development, food security, water, energy, and regional cooperation in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan region. He is member of the OECD DAC Task Team on Green Growth and Poverty Reduction as one of the developing country experts.
‘Hindu Kush Himalayan region is vital for water, energy, food, and ecological security for much of Asia’
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) was established in 1983 with the dual mandate of reducing poverty and conserving the environment in the Hindu Kush-Himalayan (HKH) region. With its headquarters in Kathmandu, ICIMOD serves the eight Himalayan countries including two of the world’s largest economies - China and India. Although ICIMOD works in the HKH region, its impact touches about 1.3 billion people who live downhill the Himalayas through water, ecosystems, upstream-downstream exchange and economic and environmental linkages.
In an interview with The Corporate, Dr Golam Rasul, Head, Economic Analysis Division, at ICIMOD, talks about the role and scope of ICIMOD in the development of the people in the mountain regions and downstream communities of South Asia. Excerpts:
How do you describe ICIMOD in terms of its role and functioning?
ICIMOD is an inter-government organization. We are working in eight nations - India, China, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Myanmar, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal. The interesting part of this organization is that it is governed by a Board of Governors consisting of one representative from each of the eight Regional Member Countries (RMC) and seven independent members select by the ICIMOD Support Group based on their professional expertise and experience, who advise on scientific matters. ICIMOD is the first organization with clear mandate and focus on the Himalayan region and mountain issues. Since its inception, ICIMOD has been working as knowledge and enabling centre with a clear mountain focus, and serving as a regional platform where scientists, policymakers, development practitioners, academia and civil society meet and share knowledge, ideas, innovations and perspectives on mountain economic, environmental and development issues. It facilitates cross-country learning and exchange of ideas through exchange visits, joint research programmes, seminars, workshop, and conferences.
What is the main concern in the mountain regions?
The HKH region stretches from Afghanistan in the west to Myanmar in the east, and ranges from the plateau regions of Tibet and other mountain areas of China in the north to the Ganges Basin of India in the south. This region extends over 3,500 kilometers covering hills and mountains of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal and Pakistan. However, our concerns is around the economy and the ways to uplift the poor living in these mountains as well as protecting the Himalayan environment and ecology.
The primary concerns of the Himalayan region are persistent poverty , growing inequality, degradation of natural resources and ecosystems that support lives and livelihoods of millions of the people of the Himalayan region and downstream. Climate change has become another serious concern for this region as the impact of climate change is expected to be high in the Himalayan region and may change temperature regime, water regime, and extreme events. Majority of the people of the Himalayan region live in rural areas and depend heavily on the natural resources available there for their livelihood and economic prosperity.
The Himalayan region know as the “Third Pole” as it contains more ice and snow than any other region outside the North and South Poles, and is the source of ten major rivers and their numerous tributaries, which provide sustenance, livelihood, and prosperity to more than 1.3 billion people living in the ten river basins. The HKH region is vital for water, energy, food, and ecological security for much of Asia. The HKH region also harbours a wide range of natural resources and are an important source of vital ecosystem services which play a significant role in economic development, environmental protection, ecological sustainability, and human wellbeing of the Himalayan region and downstream.
The above concerns are compounded by inadequate recognition of the role of the Himalayas in the national development planning, resource allocation, low investments and slow economic growth. As a result, despite emerging opportunities, poverty among mountain communities persists and inequality between lowland and upland communities, rural and urban areas, rich and poor, women and men is increasing and the social divide is widening. So, we are trying to provide them information, knowledge, training, technology and the other necessary inputs so that mountain people can better use the resources available and improve their standard of living.
Do you have some ongoing projects, for example, in Nepal?
Yes, we have a number projects on in different parts of the Himalayan regions including Nepal to create economic opportunities and diversify livelihoods of mountain communities. We are trying to promote high value products including medicinal and aromatic plants, honey bees, tourism, pro-poor mountain specific value chains, sustainable energy options and non-farm economic activities in different parts of the HKH region. Though many plants, herbs and non-timber products are available in the Himalayan regions, there are inadequate facilities for processing them.
Because of this, poor mountain people don’t get full benefit from this. They remain poor for generations. So, we tried and introduced a value-chain approach for the people in the Himalayan region. We are developing some Common Facility Centre in the mountain regions so that the local people can process their products and sell products at a higher price.
Another important thing is that local people do not receive enough benefits from the tourism industry in the Himalayan region. Only the big cities and enterprises are the ones getting the profit. So, we are trying to see how the people of the Himalayan region can benefit through eco-tourism and community-based tourism. This is one of the important areas that we have been working on and seems to have high potential. We are trying to create some economic opportunities and diversify the livelihood opportunities for poor mountain people through better utilization of available natural resources.
Is ICIMOD a non-profit organization?
Yes, ICIMOD is a totally non-profit organization. Eight countries of the Himalaya region provide financial and many other kinds of support to the organization. Besides the regional member countries, ICIMOD receives financial support from a number of non-regional member countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Norway, and international bilateral and multilateral organizations such as the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).
What developments did you witness at ICIMOD in last 8 years?
Since I joined ICIMOD in 2004, the course of journey has changed a lot. The centre has been growing intellectually and financially. The role and recognition of ICIMOD has increased significantly over the years. Regional member countries not only support this Centre, but also own its mission and vision. Despite their own financial problems, all the countries have increased their financial and in-kind contribution to ICIMOD significantly. ICIMOD’s budget and portfolio increased considerably. ICIMOD’s role and visibility have increased significantly. In addition to the annual contribution, the member nations are helping us in many different ways. Last year, the Indian government provided US$ one million to ICIMOD’s foundation to support the Centre. ICIMOD now plays an important role in mounting the mountain agenda in global environmental and development policy process. It played an important role at Rio+20, CBD COP 11 and other international forums.
What kind of work does ICIMOD undertake?
ICIMOD is a mountain knowledge, learning and enabling centre. Since its inception, ICIMOD has been working as a knowledge and documentation Centre with a clear mountain focus, and serving as a regional a platform. Over the years, ICIMOD has developed competencies in a number of areas including livelihood, water, ecosystem and geo-spatial solutions for mountain environment. ICIMOD works in diverse areas from snow, ice, glacier monitoring to climate changes adaptation, ecosystem management, application of geo-spatial tools in natural resource management and livelihoods improvement.
For livelihood s improvement, ICIMOD has been working and implementing a number of projects in the HKH region. We are trying to diversify livelihood options through land -based and non-land based activities including value chain development, community-based enterprise development for improved processing and value addition of high-value products in the mountain areas, private sector engagement in mountain products. The value-chain analysis and interventions include increasing the economies of scale for Malta oranges in India, medicinal and aromatic plants in Western Nepal and upgrading the tourism value-chain in Mustang, Nepal.
We are also doing poverty analysis of mountain regions and have concluded different reports. We are trying to find out why poverty rate is high in this region in comparison to plain regions. Similarly, we are also working on migration. We are trying to analyze how remittances can be utilized for economic prosperity and adaptation. We are also trying to introduce and promote information technologies for creating economic opportunities and livelihoods improvement of mountain communities.
How many people are working with ICIMOD in a country?
ICIMOD has almost 200 staff members out of which there are about 90 scientists from 25 different nations. We have two offices - one in Pakistan and another in Afghanistan.
Dr Younus is visiting Nepal. You come from the same country. How would you describe his works?
As I am the student of economics, I had a strong interest in his model from the beginning. He was a professor of economics at the Chittagaon University when he began his experiments in 1976. Most poor people do not have access to bank loan. They borrow money from different informal sources with high interest rate and stringent conditions, which limit their potential to improve their living standards. He thought about ways to give the poor people access to capital, which is critical for breaking the vicious circle of poverty. He even talked to banks for the poor people to have an easy access to capital. He developed a model called Grameen Model, where poor people get loan without collateral as a group. This group lending serves as collateral because of peer pressure. If one person default the payment, others will also suffer. Because of that, all the group members support each other and monitor each other. As a result, recovery of Grammen loan is almost 100 percent although there is no formal collateral. His Greemen initiative has helped thousands of poor women and men come out of poverty and lead a better life. That’s why, he received Nobel Peace prize. His contribution to economic theory is also significant. He proved that poor are loan-worthy and loan can work without collateral through peer pressure. He also deserves a Nobel Prize in economics.
गत वैशाख १२ गतेको विनाशकारी भूकम्पका कारण काठमाडौँ उपत्यकाका कतिपय घर भत्किएका छन् भने कतिपय बस्न अयोग्य छन् । यसले मानिसलाई त्रिपालको सहारा लिन बाध्य बनाएको छ ।
विपद्लाई अवसर मान्न सकिन्न । विपद्बाट बौरिएर उठ्नुचाहिँ खुबी हो । विपत्तिपछि त्यसको व्यवस्थापन सामना गर्नैपर्ने चुनौती पनि हो । दोस्रो विश्व युद्धमा तहसनहस भएको यूरोपले कसरी छोटै समयमा काँचुली फेर्यो ?
हरेक वर्ष संसारमा कुल खाद्यान्नको एक चौथाइ खाना खेर जाने गरेको छ र यसका विभिन्न कारण छन् । जस्तै : बाली भित्र्याउँदा हुने क्षति, अपर्याप्त भण्डारण सुविधा र भान्सामा हुने क्षति ।
निर्माणाधीन सडक आयोजनाहरू स्पष्ट कारण विना नै म्याद थप्ने गरिएको छ । सार्वजनिक खरीद ऐनले क्षमताबाहिरको परिस्थितिमा काम सम्पन्न गर्न नसके म्याद थप गर्न सकिने व्यवस्था गरेको छ । तर, सडक विभागले यसको दुरुपयोग गरेको हो ।
‘नेपालको पुनर्निर्माणका लागि अन्तरराष्ट्रिय सम्मेलन’मा दातृ राष्ट्रहरूबाट अपेक्षा गरेभन्दा बढी सहयोग रकमको प्रतिबद्धता प्राप्त भएको छ । तर, सम्मेलन सफल हुँदैमा देशको पुनर्निर्माण भइहाल्छ भन्न सकिँदैन ।
अब बन्ने संविधानमा नागरिकका मौलिक अधिकारहरूको सङ्ख्या ३२ ओटा राख्न लागिएको समाचार आएको छ ।
नैतिक, सामाजिक शिक्षामा तपाईं हामीले एउटा दाउरेको कथा पढेका थियौं । एउटा दाउरेको कमाउने भन्नु नै बञ्चरो थियो ।
भूकम्पपछि सरकारले पुनर्निर्माणका लागि विदेशी दाताहरूसँग सहयोगको हात फैलाइरहेको छ । ग्रामीण भेगका बासिन्दाले आफै जोहो गरेर आफ्नो वास बनाउन थालिसके । उनीहरू सरकार र दाताको मुख ताकेर बसेका छैनन् ।
विगतका बजेट तथा कार्यक्रमहरू दलमुखी, नारामुखी, कार्यकर्तामुखी र शहरमुखी भएको धेरैको भनाइ पाइन्छ । अहिले नयाँ आर्थिक वर्षका लागि बजेट निर्माणको तयारी चल्दै छ ।
विभिन्न विद्यार्थी सङ्गठन र अभिभावकहरूले वैशाख १ महीना पढाइ नभएकाले शुल्क नलिन अभियान चलाएका छन् । यदि शुल्क नलिने हो भने शिक्षकलाई तलब खुवाउन सक्ने अवस्था विद्यालयहरूको छैन ।
यही जेठ १ गतेदेखि सुर्तीजन्य पदार्थको प्याकेटमा चेतावनीमूलक सन्देश छाप्नुपर्ने व्यवस्था अनिवार्य लागू गरेका छौं । गत कात्तिकमा जारी भएको ‘सुर्तीजन्य पदार्थको बट्टा प्याकेट, र्यापर्स, पेटी तथा पार्सल प्याकेजिङमा चेतावनीमूलक सन्देश र चित्र छाप्ने तथा अङ्कित गर्ने निर्देशिका २०७१’ अनुसार यो प्रावधान अहिले लागू गरिएको हो ।
वैशाख १२ गते गएको भूकम्प र त्यसपछिका परकम्पनका कारण उपत्यकाका घरधनीहरू आफ्नो घर असुरक्षित रहेको ठानी धेरै नै आत्तिएका छन् । तर, अधिकांश घरको अवस्था ठीक छ ।
|नेपाल राष्ट्र बैङ्कको विनिमय दर सुक्रवार्,११ असार २०७२ (श्रोत:नेपाल राष्ट्र बैङ्क)|
||खरिद दर||विक्री दर|
|सुन-चाँदी आइतवार,६ असार २०७२ (श्रोत:नेपाल सुनचाँदी व्यवासायी महासंघ)|
वित्त कम्पनीमा निक्षेप वृद्धि
असोज २१, काठमाडौं । चालू आर्थिक वर्ष २०७१/७२ को पहिलो महीनामा बैङ्क तथा वित्तीय संस्थाको निक्षेप परिचालन शून्य दशमलव ६ प्रतिशत घटेको छ ।
वैशाख २२, काठमाडौं (अस) । भक्तपूर फाइनान्समा मङ्गलवारसम्म करीब दुई गुणा बढि रकमको आवेदन परेको बिक्री प्रबन्धक एनएमबी क्यापिटलले उल्लेख गरेको छ ।
- चालू आवको तेस्रो त्रैमाससम्ममा बैङ्कले रू. ३ करोड ५८ लाख खुद मुनाफा आर्जन गरेको छ । गत आवको सोही अवधिको तुलनामा यो लगभग ५१ प्रतिशतले बढी हो ।
- चालू आवको तेस्रो त्रैमासमा बैङ्कको खराब कर्जा शून्य दशमलव ६३ प्रतिशतले घटेर शून्य दशमलव १४ पुगेको छ ।