Global Peace Convention, Opening Plenary
Members of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, government officials, nongovernment organization leaders, journalists, students, and volunteers attended the opening of the first Nepal Water Expo on May 4-6, 2012 at the United World Trade Center in Kathmandu. A project of the Global Peace Association (GPA) Nepal, the Expo sought to address problems of water shortages, pollution, and poor water management, as well as promote the use of Nepal’s abundant freshwater resources for national development.
The three-day program, “Water Sustainability for Peace and Security,” included exhibitions of new technological approaches to sustainable water use, pollution and waste reduction, and recycling of water. The program also sought to raise public awareness of the importance of water resources and inspire a commitment among individuals, communities, and government to adopt water conservation measures.
Mr. Rajesh Hamal, a noted Nepali celebrity and the Chief Guest, joined by Er. Ganesh Shah, Chairman of the Expo; Mr. Ravi Giri, a noted actor; and Ms. Jharana Thapa, an actress and brand ambassador of the End Water Poverty campaign in Nepal, inaugurated the program with a ceremonial watering of a plant.
More than 500 people attended the opening ceremony and some 16,000 visited the Expo over three days. Mr. Hamal said that Nepalese people should be educated about water issues and know how to manage water resources responsibly. “We should not always depend on the government and donor agencies to solve water problems,” he said; “instead we should work at our respective levels and start by spreading awareness among citizens.”
Global Peace Association Nepal President Dr. Kishor Rajbhandari said that water is Nepal’s greatest resource, and making proper use of it is the foremost responsibility of every Nepali citizen. Other speakers emphasized the worsening pollution of Nepal’s rivers and urged immediate action to restore these essential waterways.
Some 45 exhibitions organized by colleges, universities, government and private organizations presented new technologies that offered promise in water conservation and purification, rain water harvesting, ground water renewal, wastewater treatment, river conservation, and solid waste management.
Architect Raju Khadga, one of the exhibitors, thanked GPA Nepal for initiating the Expo: “To the organizers, we shouldn’t stop here; we should hold this event every year until every citizen of this nation is aware of these water issues and know how to deal with it at their own level.”
A concurrent workshop held throughout the three-day event included four technical sessions with presentations by research scientists, NGOs, government ministers, and media. Er. Hari Ram Koirala, Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Government of Nepal, served as the Chief Guest of the program, and special guest Hon. Deependra Bahadur Kshetry, Vice Chairman of National Planning Commission, also addressed the workshop.
Er. Koirala said that he was inspired that such an initiative was taken by private organizations which should be initiated by the Government. Mr. Bindu Raj Adhikari, coordinator of the Expo, said, “This is a new concept in Nepal and was designed for concerned sectors to exhibit their new technologies and practices. We commit to improve and make this Expo a good socio-business brand in the future.”
Er. Ganesh Shah, Former Minister of Environment, Science and Technology and Chairman of the Expo, concluded the program with a call to spread public awareness on water issues and conservation and said that this Expo is dedicated to the future generations of Nepal.
The Nepal Water Expo 2012 is the first of its kind in the country and drew some 16,000 visitors. One visitor, Rita Shah, a student at Societal H.S. School shared, “This is the greatest expo I have ever attended in the context of Nepal. This Expo is an effective step to bring good changes in the country. Kathmandu, our city, is suffering from the disease of garbage and load shedding and water cuts and these problems can only be solved by this type of demonstration. I think this is the only step to save Kathmandu. Thank you.”
The Expo was jointly organized by Global Peace Association Nepal and Direction Nepal and was supported by Nepal Government’s Ministries of Physical Planning and Works, Department of Water Supply and Sanitation and Local Development, Solid Waste Management Technical Support Center; Global Peace Foundation; Himalayan Alliance for Climate Change; Global Peace Youth Corps; Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries; FORBES; Service For Peace; National Cultural and Educational Foundation; Initiative for Original Nobility; Kumudini Media Home; Campaign for Change –Nepal; and Direction Exhibition and Convention Center.
The Expo was also supported by media partners Avenues TV, Aarthik Abhiyan National Daily Newspaper, ECS Media, Times FM and Subisu Cablenet, and was covered by major television and radio networks and national daily newspapers.