Annal: Made for Environmental Management

by Bishal Chalise (ELP 2016) | Founder, Artha FoundationNepal (in Australia) 

Let me start with an inspiring fact about Annal.

Annal is attending the Environmental Leadership Program (ELP) 2016 after five attempts in a row. He has been applying to attend the program since 2012 and every time he got accepted. However, he could not attend because of the financial constraint. This shows a persistent character of Annal which I liked very much and got me interested in knowing more about his work. 

Annal is presently affiliated with Center for Climate and Environment Research (CCER) which is an Environmental NGO with the help of his friends. After working with different development agencies in Nepal for years, Annal realized the need for research-based environmental policymaking for the country and started CCER in November 2014. His mission is to establish CCER as an environment and climate research and knowledge hub in South Asia. It seems they are well on their way towards achieving the mission. In less than two years, his NGO has done some of the cutting-edge field research in the field of environment management, specifically on Community Based Disaster Risk Reduction and Management and Surface and Groundwater Quality Assessment. I am very optimistic about the progress partly because the wealth of experience he has working in the area. 

Annal is a Natural Resource Management graduate from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. His interest lies in finding pragmatic ideas and interventions to solve the country’s pertinent environment problem and to create harmony in Human - Nature - Economic interactions. In the last ten years, he has worked with several NGOs, INGOs and Government organizations in diverse areas of NRM- Environmental Awareness, River Water Quality Monitoring, Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), Protected Areas Management, Park-People Conflict, Climate Change Adaptation, Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES), Environment Management System (ISO 14001:2004), Environmental Impact Assessment, and GIS Mapping. Additionally, he has extensive experiences in developing communication, providing capacity building training and workshops, and in project management. 

Annal’s early career started in 2005 as a volunteer in Kathmandu Metropolitan City while he was still pursuing his studies. It was very fascinating to know that Annal could find what he wanted to do in very early age and worked relentlessly in the area.  He was a counselor at Environmental Camps for Conservation Awareness (ECCA) program where he learned the basics of research methods, data analysis and reporting practices. In 2009, he was awarded with the “Counselor of the Year” honor for his advocacy for and contribution to environmental protection.

Another major breakthrough in his career came in 2012, as he started working with Dr. Nabin Baral of University of Washington on “Visitors Willingness to Pay for Eco-tourism experience at Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA)”. It was a first-of-its-kind study in Nepal and in an environmentally important ACA region. The study was also a part of his postgraduate thesis. His mentor, Dr. Baral, inspired him to work in the ecological economics field, which he considers a turning point of his academic career. Later a part of the work was published as a “Diversifying finance mechanisms for protected areas capitalizing on untapped revenues”. The paper has already been cited nine times, which is pretty decent for a journal in that field.  It inspired him to continue working in the field of sustainable management of natural resources. 

Annal later joined an NGO called Co-Action Nepal. In his two years tenure at Co-Action, he got the opportunity to work in diverse sub-areas from Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR), youth policy to conflict over natural resource due to the strict conservation models. The most intriguing experience was preparing case studies of women abused by security personnel guarding in buffer zone areas of the Chitwan National Park. A particular story of a rural woman who was deceived and sexually abused by five different security guards on different occasions and each time she gave birth to a child. I get to learn through this disheartening case about public-park conflict in natural resource management.  

After that, Annal joined Green Works Nepal - a private environmental consulting firm - as a lead auditor on ISO 9001:2008 and ISO 14001:2004, and helped other companies/firms to implement these international standards. This experience helped him understand the management issues for any institutions in regard to assurance of quality and minimal environmental damage. Further, he worked in developing criteria for climate change adaptation practice for a cement industry; assessment and preparation of Organizational Contingency Plan (OCP) for NGOs; and preparation of climate change training manuals and resource books. He found it very challenging to travel frequently around the remote places alone for his assignment. 

Annal’s talent also expands to communication. Since 2013, he is working as an assistant editor for the environmental magazine “Eco-Focus”. Additionally, he is working on developing “Climate Field School—a training manual for farmers on climate smart agriculture”. In addition, the other significant works are the Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) implementation and monitoring plan in Phewa Watershed and review of literatures on climate change for third national communication report. 

Annal lives in Kathmandu, Nepal with his wife and two and half years old son. He is planning to pursue a PhD in environment management.