Natural Resource Conflict Transformation Center-Nepal (NRCTC-N) was established on 10th June 2013 with motto of “Better Relationship for Sustainable Peace”. It has been registered as a non-profit, non-political and non-governmental organization in District Administration Office, Bhaktapur on 27th June 2013 and In Social Welfare Council on June 30, 2013. The main objective of the organization is to study, research and transform community level interpersonal as well as multi-stakeholder conflicts through dialogue and providing support to improve relationships among conflicting parties thereby providing input to the peaceful and sustainable social development at large. Being involved in peace building process, it has been registered in Mediation Council Nepal and got certificate to conduct mediation related activities and trainings all over the country, given to only five organizations among many. Since the establishment, NRCTC-N has launched two major programs; Natural Resource Conflict Transformation Program (NRCTP) and Community Mediation Program (CMP). NRCTCP has been launched in 17 districts to transform multi-stakeholder conflict cases related to land, water and forest. It follows specific conflict transformation process propounded by Prof. John Paul Lederach, scholar and professor of peace studies. Likewise, CMP has been running in 13 Municipalities and 38 Village Municipalities of five districts of central region. Under this program, conflict cases were transformed following mediation process finalized by Mediation Council. Being involved in peacebuilding activities, NRCTC-N received the ‘best organization of the year’ award from mediation council Nepal for its efforts in creating peaceful communities.
Nepal is rich in natural resources, it is known as the second richest country in water resources and a successful example of natural resource management through community forestry. Despite being a naturally gifted nation, Nepal is still struggling to rise above the strata of developing country because of its inability to utilize the resource in hands resulted from complexities brought in by political instability, topographical difficulties, and lack of investment and skilled manpower. Due to lack of industrial development, the livelihood of people depends on using natural resources when the access to these resources are limited or denied based on legal and judicial terms, or sociocultural divides or physical boundary, people struggle to gain access to these resources and conflict arises. Conflicts related to natural resources often remain hidden in communities affecting lives and relationships for many years and then at certain point the unresolved agendas cross a limit of tolerance and it explodes out in a violent way. It is important to mention that many efforts are also made at community and higher level to resolve and manage these conflicts such as using legal procedures, police force, administrative efforts, religious means etc. but these methods of dealing with conflict fails to address the hidden agendas of conflict, so even when certain agreements are made and conflict is seen to be resolved for a time being, it resurges affecting more lives. Hence, natural resource conflict transformation process adopted by the organization seeks for a permanent solution to conflict through dialogue ultimately ending years of bitterness into harmonious relationship. Unlike other methods of conflict resolution, conflict transformation does not provide decisions on conflict, it encourages conflicting parties to rise above their agendas and come to an agreement addressing each other’s inner desires with the win-win feeling. Conflict transformation process invests an ample amount of time in conflict mapping (finding the cause of conflict, perspectives of all parties on issues and solutions to conflict, parties affected by conflict and parties affecting in the development and transformation of conflict), then it trains people from the conflicting parties to act as facilitator (Spider Group) themselves, these trained local people will work along with the conflict facilitators arranging dialogues with conflicting parties to find their issues and ultimately find points of agreement to transform the conflict. Finding agreement is half work done in conflict transformation, and then starts the actual transformation as the agreement is implemented gradually, relationships are improved, peace is established giving way to various development activities. Hence transparency, participation, inclusiveness and impartiality in conflict transformation process make it an innovative approach.
NRCTC-N has produced skilled manpower to facilitate in conflict transformation; these conflict facilitators/mediators are responsible for listing and documenting the conflicts and ultimately selecting conflicts based on urgency and facilitating on its transformation. After establishment, NRCTC-N has been able to transform 150 natural resource based large scale multi-stakeholder conflict cases and 4433 interpersonal conflict cases, which we consider as a major achievement not only because we were able to transform conflict as our objective but also because of the positive impact in the community seen after such transformation. For instance, when communities are involved in conflict, they cannot come together for communal activities whether it is a social event like festivities or a development activity like constructing a road, irrigation canal etc. Hence conflict slows down the development in society and when such conflicts are transformed, development activities are carried out in leaps and bounds. Conflict transformation approach is inclusive, participatory, transparent and impartial; we work based on win-win strategy so by the time the conflicting parties are brought to the point of agreement, they know that all their points have been addressed, they have not been kept in dark about anything and they are ready to make some compromise for communal benefit hence the implementation of agreement goes smoothly and all parties are equally committed to follow the agreement.
In short, Natural Resource Conflict Transformation Center-Nepal is not only an organization, it become a movement to establish culture of dialogue and unite communities, societies and villages through transformation of conflict cases with improved relationship in a sustainable way.
The founder members of the organization are:
- Mr.Chup Bahadur Thapa (Chairperson)
- Mr. Him Bahadur DC (Vice Chairperson)
- Mr. Ballu Chaudhari (Secretary)
- Mrs. Nirumaya Thing (Treasurer)
- Mr. Arjun Singh Karki (Member)
- Mrs. Parbati B.K (Member)
- Mr. Narayan Bahadur Khapangi (Member)