The Annapurna region of Nepal, with its abundance of beautiful flora and fauna, stunning mountain views and unique villages has been a top spot for trekking tours within Nepal. As a result, a thriving industry has developed in the area catering to the needs of the thousands of trekkers that pass through each year. Whilst this has been positive in terms of income generation for locals, the influx of people to the Annapurna has put a huge amount of pressure on the local environment and its resources.
In order to combat this depletion and pollution, the Annapurna Conservation Project was introduced in 1986. The first of its kind in Nepal, the ACA covers an area of 7,629sq. Km and is home to over 100,000 people as well as an array of wildlife and plants. The project aims to:
“To achieve a sustained balance between nature conservation and socio-economic improvement in the Annapurna Conservation Area (ACA) thereby assist National Trust for Nature Conservation in achieving its goal.”
With a particular focus on managing tourism more sustainably and promoting heritage conservation, the ACA has been praised for its inclusion of local people in all aspects of the project, from decision making, to management and implementation. Communities have retained their access to natural resources and any revenue gained is re-invested into the areas socio-economic development.
The ACA utilises a multi-pronged approach, and their efforts range from increasing the amount of waste bins along popular trekking routes, to investing in local environmental education surrounding resource conservation and sustainable tourism management. The project has also sought to improve communities access to renewable energy sources, including solar heaters and hydroelectric generators all of which help to protect and ensure that the beauty of the Annapurna can be appreciated for generations to come, but is also greatly improving the lives of those living in the area today.
Author: Molly Gaught