Access to renewable energy is a key component for rural communities nestled in Nepal's mountainous regions to build "prosperous and fulfilling lives" for themselves (as formulated in the Agenda 2030). Although micro-hydro power systems (MHPs) are widely used by off-grid communities, many of those systems grapple with significant challenges such as maintenance issues, or the expansion of the national grid. However, the environment poses multifaceted challenges.
Nepal has recently experienced changes in the amount of rainfall, which has profound consequences for the functioning of MHPs and must be taken into account in energy projects. Similarly, expanding road infrastructure threatens the slopes along the crucial water canals. Nature based solutions, like the planting of crops, can stabilize the slopes and deliver additional sources of food and materials for productive uses.
These and other key challenges for mountain communities and ecosystems, as well as opportunities to shape sustainable futures for those communities have been discussed at the transdisciplinary conference "Peak Perspectives: Navigating challenges and shaping sustainable futures in Nepal's mountain landscapes" in Kathmandu. WISIONS, in close cooperation with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Programme, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the Tribhuvan University, brought together up to 80 researchers and experts from diverse fields and disciplines.
In this context the "Innovation Lab Nepal" project of the WISIONS of Sustainability initiative aims to transform existing MHP infrastructures into community-based enterprises with a sustainable business model.
The newly published synthesis encapsulates the conference’s key contributions and can be found under the link below.