3rd NRS 2019 | Call for Abstract


  1. Background

Rivers are lifelines of the landscape. Healthy rivers are not only a source of water, but also hold ecological, religious and cultural values. Our Himalayan rivers have drawn the attention of international communities; however, their natural persistence is under pressure from a wide range of human interventions. The Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT), established in 1995, has been fully engaged in conserving Nepal’s river system, cultural heritage, and advocating for an environmentally friendly river tourism industry. NRCT hosts an annual River Summit to raise awareness among river users highlighting the value of river conservation – not only to boost the sustainable river-based tourism industry but also to maintain river health for preservation of freshwater biodiversity and support ecosystem services for communities, particularly the people dependent on river ecosystems to sustain their livelihoods.

In partnership with Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University and other stakeholders, NRCT successfully hosted the 1st National River Summit in Nepal on the bank of the Sunkoshi River in September 2014. The summit brought more than 200 participants together, representing the scientific community, policy makers, students, activists, farmers and fishermen/women. The Summit highlighted pertinent issues related to rivers and advocated for their sustainable use and management. The summit brought out a 15-point Sunkoshi Declaration, which was submitted to parliamentarians before the country’s new constitution was promulgated in 2015. Likewise, NRCT organized the 2nd National River Summit in March 2017 on the banks of the Trishuli River. It attracted more than 250 participants representing a wide range of stakeholders, deliberated on challenges related to the sustainable use and management of rivers, and culminated in development of the 13-point Trishuli Declaration.

To continue fostering dialogue in river conservation, NRCT is planning the 3rd National River Summit from 28-31 March, 2019 on the banks of the Karnali River. The event is co-organized by NRCT, Youth Alliance for Environment, Kathmandu University, Tribhuvan University in collaboration with other partners such as the USAID Paani Program, the International Water and Management Institute (IWMI), WWF Nepal, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Institute for Social and Environmental Transition-Nepal (ISET Nepal), the Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ), and others. The Summit will follow the Nepal National Water and Weather Week (NNWWW), an annual event organized by the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat (WECS) and other partners.

The Summit venue has been proposed in the Karnali for a number of reasons. The system remains a free flowing natural river. As the longest river system located far from Kathmandu, it provides habitats for unique, endemic freshwater biodiversity and the presence of significant communities of minor ethnic origin dependent on river resources, who serve as custodians of the river. In spite of the world-class value associated with the Karnali River, adequate attention has not been paid to balancing conservation with increasing development interventions.

In addition, the Karnali River plays a major role in biodiversity and cultural heritage conservation. Originating in Kailash, Tibet, Nepal’s longest river houses vegetation from the Himalayan pines to the Tarai grasslands before meeting at a confluence to the Ganges. The Karnali is one of the only habitats for Gangetic Dolphins and many endemic fishes. A number of indigenous communities of minor ethnic origin such as the Rajhi, Majhi and Sonaha make their living from the river’s resources, whether from running ferries or selling fish. Hydropower investors have proposed a number of projects in the Karnali River Basin, which have the potential to significantly affect livelihood assets of the communities residing upstream and downstream, the basin environment, aquatic biodiversity, and overall river health. Infrastructure planning therefore requires an in-depth understanding of the river system before developmental interventions are implemented. Ensuring that the Summit can have real impact will be instrumental for various interest groups (state and non-state actors) to engage in dialogue towards developing a common vision for sustainable water and river basin management.

  1. Objectives

The 3rd National River Summit aims to achieve following objectives:

  • To share and inform multiple users of water with outcomes of recent research, exploration, and understanding of the Karnali River Basin;
  • To foster dialogue among stakeholders as a continuation of the previous river summits, and to create platforms and networks among and between different interest groups;
  • To consolidate knowledge for a common understanding to inform policies for integrated management of water and other resources by balancing development with overall conservation of river systems.


  1. Thematic Areas

The 3rd National River Summit will deliberate on broader areas of river systems, including river science, river development, communities, governance, water resources management, and cross-cutting issues. The main themes are:

  • River eco-systems and aquatic biodiversity: consolidate knowledge from recent exploration and research outcomes on various aspects of rivers and river systems, freshwater biodiversity and interventions, threats and vulnerability;
  • Water resources management: multiple uses of water (e.g. irrigation, hydropower, ecological uses, etc.), water security, water availability, access and equitable sharing, and no-regret strategies on water resources development and management;
  • Governance, policies, and practices: constitutional provisions for water/river governance under federalism; current policies, laws and regulations; international commitments; water programs and their implementation; and (inter)national practices on shared governance of river systems or river co-management;
  • River and communities: common understanding of the river and its services; citizen science for monitoring health and spring and watershed management; river and livelihoods of river-dependent communities; etc., and;
  • Cross-cutting issues: issues related to climate change, gender and social inclusion (GESI); trans-boundary; awareness and capacity building; and incentives and motivation for youth involvement in river conservation.
  1. Expected Participants

The Summit aims to bring approximately 200 participants together, representing multiple stakeholders, including river basins custodians, river dependent communities, government officials, policy makers, university students, river and province level agencies, and experts and research scholars, private sectors and development partners within the country and abroad. Participation and contribution from key stakeholders active in Karnali River Basin and beyond are all welcome.

  1. Abstract Submission

Authors may submit abstracts under the abovementioned thematic areas of their choices. The organizers encourage interested individuals and organizations to submit posters, info-graphics, video clips or other innovative materials and ideas on the thematic area of their choice. The abstract template can be downloaded from www.nrct.org.np. The abstract should be submitted electronically as a word file to nationalriversummit@gmail.com or nepalrivers@gmail.com no later than 20 January 2019. Notification of the abstract acceptance will be communicated to the authors by 20 February 2019.

  1. Submission Deadlines
  • Submission of Abstract: 20 January, 2019
  • Notification of Acceptance: 20 February 2019
  1. Support for Participation

Limited funding is available to support participation for a limited number of key paper presenters, representatives of river basin communities, government and non-government agencies, media engaged in advocating river basin management, university students and research scholars.

  1. Registration

The registration fee covers two way ground transportation to Rakam Karnali, food and accommodation for five nights and conference materials. Accommodation will be on a sharing basis at a hotel or tented camp on the river bank.

  • Early Registration: 20 January 2019
  • Normal Registration: 20 February 2019
  • Late Registration: 14 March 2019
  1. Registration Fee

Category                    Early Regd.                            Normal Regd.                                    Late Regd.


Individual                   NPR 9000                               NPR 12000                             NPR 15000

Organizational           NPR 15000                             NPR 20000                             NPR 25000

Nepali Students         NPR 7000 (Limited seats only)    –                                              –

Foreigner                   US$ 250                                  US$ 300                                  US$ 350

  1. Payment

Participants are requested to collect cash receipts from the Secretariat upon registration time. Participants may also make a payment through bank transfer and send us a scanned copy of the bank deposit slip by the deadline for verification with the following details:

Account Name: Nepal River Conservation Trust

Account Type: Current

Account No.: 01400105200404

Name of the Bank: Everest Bank Limited, Lazimpat Branch

  1. Language

The Summit will be conducted in both Nepali and English. All abstracts, full papers, registration forms and conference kit materials will be in English.

  1. Secretariat/Contact

Nepal River Conservation Trust (NRCT)

Kupondole, Lalitpur.

Tel: +977 – 9841266456

Secretariat Coordinator: Sanu Maharjan (Cell: +977 – 9851202669);

Email: nationalriversummit@gmail.com;nepalrivers@gmail.com

Website: www.nrct.org.np