Himalayan Regional Conference:
Assessing Open Agricultural Burning
Identifying Trends and Extent, and Mitigation Options to Improve Crop Yields, Improve Health and Decrease Black Carbon Emissions near Himalayan Glaciers
Kathmandu, Nepal, 20-21 February 2015
Venue: Godavari Village Resort
Overall objective of the CCAC Agricultural Initiative – Mitigation Options to Reduce Open Burning
Within the context of the CCAC Agriculture Initiative – aimed at best practices for minimizing emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) from agriculture, in a manner consistent with broader climate change objectives and that also enhances food security and livelihoods – the Open Burning component will develop concrete options for emissions reductions from open burning, targeting a minimum of two staple crops/technologies in the Himalayan region, including the design of a minimum of two pilot projects aimed at demonstrating those options, aiming at scaling up alternatives to open burning in the region. This effort has a counterpart scoping project in the Andes of South America.
Kathmandu Regional Conference objectives
- Characterize burning using completed mapping combined with regional expert input:
- When and where does most burning appear to take place – based both on maps identifying agricultural lands, but also other fires that may have begun with set agricultural fires and spread?
- Based on the maps and time of burning, what crops most likely are being burned?
- What groups most likely are burning: small farmers, larger farms, “hobby” or household farming that spreads?
- Why does the burning take place: to remove stubble prior to plowing, to clear fallow lands, other reasons?
- Based on our best sense of the above, where should the project focus to learn more from on-the-ground visits?
- If possible (but also, pending ground-truthing activities to verify the above): identify potential alternative methods appropriate to those crops, other mitigation options and potential barriers
- Identify key regional actors and stakeholders, as well as develop potential partnerships
- Help raise regional awareness of the impacts and importance of open burning and
the general work of key regional and/or national organizations, as well as the CCAC.
Framing the Conference
The conference will build on knowledge established by the Phase 1 satellite mapping (see links elsewhere on this web page) showing where and when the most active burning takes place, and subject that to an analysis by field experts of what crops are burnt by whom, as well as the driving forces and motivation for the burning. Based on these insights, the conference will also begin the process of identifying in broad terms any existing alternative no-burn methods (often involving low-till or no-till) or options to reduce open burning for the identified most important crops and sub-regions, especially the ongoing use of any alternative agricultural practices. The Conference should contribute to the development of a broad based regional open burning network of informed and engaged experts and activists on this issue.
Some limited travel support is available, especially for practicing farmers from regions relatively close to the Himalayan cryosphere, but others may be considered.
For those wishing to stay at the Godavari, a block of rooms has been reserved at a special conference rate; please indicate in the “comments” section if interested.