Our project is based in Karnali Province, much of which comprises the threatened Western Himalayan Alpine Shrub and Meadows ecoregion. Karnali is the largest and poorest province of Nepal, with only 23% of the population classified as food secure (UNDP 2020). Many crops in this region (e.g., apples, beans and pumpkins) are highly pollinator-dependent and reliant on a range of native flies (primarily Eristalis spp.), solitary bees (primarily Halictidae), bumblebees (Bombus spp.), and most importantly, the native honeybee Apis cerana which has been reported declining in this region (Theisen-Jones & Bienefeld 2016). There is strong political will from the provincial and national-level government to promote biodiversity-friendly farming practices. However, various barriers, including a lack of farmer awareness, a lack of capacity, and no evidence to inform policy, prevent this political will from translating into meaningful outputs for farmers on the ground. Working with partners in Nepal and drawing on an evidence base from our ongoing pollination project, this Darwin project will raise awareness of pollination, increase the capacity of individuals and institutions to research and manage pollination services, and facilitate the design of policies to conserve and enhance pollinator biodiversity in Nepal.

Output 1) Pollinator awareness and stewardship program in Jumla district to increase public understanding of pollinators and demonstrate evidence-based pollination-management practices.
Methods: We will run 100 pollinator, biodiversity & nutrition awareness classes in Jumla District, reaching 3000 key stakeholders (primarily farmers), with separate women-only sessions. Three pollinator-friendly demonstration farms will be established to showcase the Pollinator Stewardship Scheme. Farmer Field School (FFS) sessions will be run on the farms to demonstrate and test management approaches. A pollinator Facebook campaign will raise the profile of pollinators in the region (Facebook is widely used). Regular plant and pollinator surveys and household questionnaires (using a tried-and-tested approach from our ongoing project) will monitor the biodiversity and poverty alleviation outcomes of the project
activities and provide an evidence base for the effectiveness of the Pollinator Stewardship Scheme, which we aim to publish.

Output 2) Pollinator capacity-building programme to equip individuals and institutions with the knowledge, resources and tools to identify, research and manage crop pollinators, enabling them to train and advise others. Methods: We will deliver 7 training courses to 175 agricultural officers, researchers and extension workers from Karnali Province, building capacity in pollinator taxonomy, research and management. A pollination management handbook and training package will be produced and distributed for use in training programs across Nepal. We will establish an online Digital Crop Pollination Library for Nepal which details each crop’s pollinator-dependence, its nutritional and economic
value, key pollinators (plus taxonomic information) and guidance for enhancing its pollination. This long-term resource will be hosted on the website of our project partners, Agriculture and Forestry University (see letter of support from the AFU Vice-Chancellor) and provide the definitive source of data on pollinators in Nepal and the wider Himalayan region.

Output 3) Pollinator Action Plan for Karnali province to embed pollinator conservation and management into provincial policy, advocating this as a blueprint for a National Pollinator Strategy for Nepal
Methods: Project partners LI-BIRD will establish a steering committee of high-level stakeholders from across the province under the leadership of Karnali Ministry (see Ministry letter of support). Partners in the Ministry will oversee a technical working group of experts who will formulate policy solutions for conserving and enhancing pollination services. Based on this, we will publish a policy-prescriptive Pollinator Action Plan for Karnali Province and promote its widespread uptake through advocacy work. The Pollinator Action Plan will be presented to national government officials and stakeholders,promoting it as a blueprint for a National Pollinator Strategy for Nepal. We will also publish an open-access team paper that quantifies the economic and nutritional value of pollination services in Nepal, providing a strong policy leverage tool.

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