The venue couldn't have been more perfect...a gathering of Waterkeepers, affiliates and partners, including NGOs, government officials, academics, students and a host of others gathered together on the banks of the Trishuli River for the 2nd National River Summit 2017.
Hosted by the Nepal River Conservation Trust and its partners, the Summit featured a diverse mix of interactive forums, technical sessions on scientific research, expert panel discussions, discussions with representatives from river communities, student contributions and case studies, and insightful keynote speeches. The Summit created the opportunity for conversations focused on rivers and its goal was to develop a common understanding on how to protect and preserve Nepal's rivers. The conversations were lively and passionate and, at its end, a draft resolution that encompassed many of the key agreements for river protections was shared with attendees.
The experiences at the Summit were fantastic. It was very well attended and successful as a forum for multi-stakeholder discussions, sharing knowledge about the threats to and opportunities for Nepal's rivers and raising public awareness of the need for river conservation. It fostered dialogue on rivers as a continuation of the 1st National River Summit held in 2014 and for future gatherings in the years' ahead. The future is bright for Nepal and its river resources.
The Summit also afforded us all the opportunity to get to know more about Nepal's rivers, its people and its culture. Camping on a beach of the Trishuli River brought us close to nature. Our SetiGandaki River Waterkeeper hosted a bird watching outing in the early morning where we observed warblers, babblers, minivets, drongos and other species. We enjoyed yoga practice each morning on the beach as the sun rose. Our Karnali River Waterkeeper hosted evening talks about the importance of rivers and why we work so hard to protect them. The local villagers treated us to Nepali music and songs with traditional instruments and elaborate dances to which we were invited to join in. The students joined in with spirited singing and dancing and eventually moved to a bonfire on the beach where the fun continued well into the evening. We enjoyed locally prepared food under the stars and joked that our accommodations were not 1, 2 or 3 star but rather "million star" accommodations.
A marvelous experience, in nature, with newfound friends and a common desire...to protect Nepal's rivers and its riches.