"We really overlooked the Participation of Indigenous Peoples in Local Development Planning Process due to COVID-19"
- Katahari Rural Municipality, Morang
"Right to self-determination and self-determined development is the basic requirement for the sustainable development of indigenous peoples"
An interaction was held on the development of Indigenous Peoples in Katahari Rural Municipality of Morang District, Province No.1.
Mr.Ram Sundar Thapa, the chief executive officer of the municipality, presented the initiatives of the local government for the development of Indigenous Peoples. As he stated, the local government allocated Rs. 200,000 for the promotion of their culture and traditions. The government launched a housing program targeting Indigenous Peoples, Dalits and other landless communities. He also informed that the local government allocated a budget for scholarship, livelihood enhancing activities targeting marginalized communities.
"We really overlooked the Indigenous Peoples' Participation in the local development planning process due to COVID-19 and we are not very much clear what mode of programs needs to be created for the development of Indigenous Peoples. Even Indigenous Peoples are not making demands as exptected with the local government," said the chief executive officer.
He is committed to ensure the Indigenous Peoples' participation in days to come and urged the Indigenous leaders and organizations to help the local government to make this happen.
Ram Kumar Kamat, chairperson of the Rural Municipality, urged the indigenous peoples to put forth their development needs. "Local government is here to listen to the demands of the people, and address them considering the priorities and resources. We have spent more than 80% of the total budget for infrastructure development but human development programs are equally important. We need experts' advice to develop a plan for indigenous development and we are hopeful that the indigenous leaders and communities will help the local government in this process", he added.
The Indigenous leaders suggested the local government allocate the fund for the collective empowerment of Indigenous Peoples so that they can make their demands. They raised the issues of language and culture, displacement from their lands in the pretext of development, the issues of landlessness and the protection of sacred sites, unemployment and poverty including participation in the decision making process.
Durga Yamphu of LAHURNIP talked about the Sustainable Development Goals and theoretical aspects of self-determined development and right to self-determination including Indigneous Navigator.
He has suggested the local government bringing the law and policies to protect the collective rights of Indigenous Peoples. As he said, the right to self-determination and self-self determined development is the key for the sustainable development of indigenous peoples therefore the local government can bring the law to recognize the traditional institutions of Shantal Indigenous Peoples called ' Majhehadam ' to promote their right to self-determination.
The interaction was organized by Shanthal Indigenous Peoples and LAHURNIP under the support of European Union to promote Indigenous Navigator – global tools to monitor the Indigenous Peoples rights and development.