Conference: Nepal 2019

Report on the Annual conference “Natural Disasters, Marginalized Regions and Labor Migration”

Kathmandu (Nepal), December 8-14, 2019

The annual conference of our Commission took place in Nepal from Sunday 8 to Saturday 14 December 2019. The event comprised three days of paper presentations in the Park Village Hotel in Budhanilkantha (Kathmandu periphery), including two half-day urban excursions to Bhakhtapur and Central Kathmandu, and a four-day field trip to Pokhara, Sirubari and Bandipur. Organisers were Professors Pushkar Pradhan and Puspa Sharma of Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu.

The conference attracted 36 participants plus four accompanying persons from 12 countries in Asia, South America and Europe. A total of 32 papers (including one workshop) were presented in parallel sessions, covering a variety of topics. 25 persons also participated in the post-conference field trip. The conference opened with a presentation by Prof. Sumitra Manandhar Gurung on the gender issue: “Women’s emancipation through microfinance and entrepreneurship development in Nepal”.

Sirubari, reception by the local band

Sirubari, host with visitors from Brazil

The list of papers that were presented (in alphabetical order of first authors) is available here (expand)!

Jamal Abdullah and Mohd Ruzed Embong (Malaysia): Human-elephant conflict impact toward marginalized community of Ulu Tembeling

Chikako Aoki (Japan) and Pushkar K Pradhan (Nepal): Empowerment of Dalit women’s groups through microfinance and social capital in Nepal

Balkrishna Baral (Nepal): Basic facility accessibility systems in the Mid-Marsyangdi River Basin, Nepal Jinhu Bian (China): Inter-calibration and application of night time light data between DMSP/OLS and

NPP/VIIRS in the China-Pakistan economic corridor

Gabriel Camară (Romania): Labor emigration - a symptom of marginality: towards a labor crisis in

Romanian cities

Chhabi L Chidi (Nepal): Assessing soil erosion versus urbanization process in Kathmandu Valley, Nepal Konrad Czapiewski and Krzysztof Janc (Poland): Origin - migration - destination: processes and

consequences in Poland

Anna Dubownik, Paweł Churski, Czesław Adamiak and Barbara Szyda (Poland): Cohesion policy in the

period of deepening impact of globalization – Polish experience and recommendations

Ruth Kark and Rivka Yermiash (Israel): Between two empires: the Jiftlik marginal lands in the Jordan

Valley and the Jiftlik Ottoman Saraya and British Police Post 1890-1948

Krishna Karkee and Shakti Gurung (Nepal): Mitigating urban risk through Risk Sensitive Land Use Plan

(RSLUP): a case of Changunarayan Municipality

Shambhu P Khatiwada (Nepal): Periodic market systems in the Tankhuwakhola watershed – a remote

hill region of Dhankuta district, Nepal

Doo-Chul Kim (Korea/Japan) and Quy Le Ngoc Phuong (Vietnam): Sedentarization program and everyday resistance to state intervention in Vietnam’s upland

Daichi Kohmoto (Japan): Lessons from the 2011 disaster in mountainous Kii Peninsula, Japan Birgit Kuna (Germany) and Bandana Pradhan (Nepal): Climate change and health impacts on

vulnerable people and regions - a European and an Asian perspective through workshop method Walter Leimgruber (Switzerland): Environmental unsustainability or the cost of civilization

Ainong Li (China) : Ageospatial insight to the eco-environment and its key issues in South Asia Ivaldo Lima (Brazil): Urban rivers: between local governance and environmental justice

Gyanu R Maharjan (Nepal) : Sustainable transformation and management of traditional water conservation systems: a case from Kirtipur, Nepal

Sumitra Manandhar Gurung (Nepal): Women’s emancipation through microfinance and entrepreneurship development in Nepal

Firuza Begham Mustafa and Benjamin Ezekiel Bwadi (Malaysia): Analysis of soil and water quality parameters for farming giant freshwater prawn Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia

Nurul I Nazem and A Q M Mahbub (Bangladesh): Climate change, displacement of people and their adaptation to cities: study of the Dhaka Metropolitan Region

Pashupati Nepal, Chhabi L Chidi and Narendra R Khanal (Nepal) : Losses and damages from the recent flood events in the Bhotekoshi Watershed in Central Nepal.

Binaya Pasakhala and Subarnee Tuladhar (Nepal): Cryosphere changes, cascading risks and societies – a case in the Langtang Valley, Nepal.

Eran Razin (Israel): Periphery and marginality: the complex position of Israel’s disadvantaged regions. Puspa Sharma (Nepal): Informal activities of marginalized people and their livelihood in the cities of

Kathmandu Valley, Nepal

Shobha Shrestha and Devi P Paudel (Nepal): Everyday water use: vulnerability and resistance in

Kathmandu Valley

Uttam S Shrestha and Saruna Amatya Shrestha (Nepal) : Relationship between geo-chemical

characteristics and river ecology service in the marginalized community area of the Tamakoshi

River Basin, Nepal

Smrity Upadhyay and Kavita Arora (Nepal): Disaster induced vulnerabilities and institutional


Shyam P Wagle (Nepal): Adoption of innovative methods in agriculture production in the eastern hills

of Nepal

Jianqiang Zhang (China): Characteristics of mountain hazards along China-Nepal Highways

Yili Zhang, Linshan Liu, Wanqi Bai, Xiuhong Wang, Xue Wu, Zhilong Zhao, Du Zheng, Zhaofeng Wang,

Erqi Xu, Binghua Zhang, Qionghuan Liu, Mingjun Ding, Jianzhong Yanand Fenggui Liu (China):

Spatial and temporal characteristics of land use and cover changes in the Tibetan Plateau Wei Zhao (China) : Land surface temperature trend analysis in Nepal From 2000 to 2017

During the field trip, the group visited Pokhara, the remote village of Sirubari, and the former trading town of Bandipur. Given the long distances involved, the varying road conditions (to say the least) and the heavy traffic on the main axis between Kathmandu and Pokhara, this was an absolute minimum that only provided participants with a brief overview. The village of Sirubary can only be reached on a difficult dirt road and crossing a river without bridge, but the inhabitants have developed a programme of sustainable tourism with homestay facilities, and they seem to fare well with it. While in an extremely marginal location, the village offers some income perspectives and manages to retain also at least part of the young generation in order to continue the project. It has a school of its own and a health centre, important facilities for the population, and the secondary school is located in a neighbouring village. The prospects for the future look good, although there is no absolute guarantee. Most important is the fact that the 2015 earthquake did not affect Sirubari. Bandipur was a traditional trading centre but lost this role when the Kathmandu-Pokhara road (the Prithvi Highway) with the Narayanghat-Mugling Highway (connection to the Terai) was constructed and attracted all traffic. The town that lies at the end of a feeder road to the highway, lost its role and became marginalized. Tourism as well as a silk worm farm and a State-run goat breeding centre have since opened up new perspectives, and Bandipur seems to rise out of marginality. Neither did the 2015 earthquake affect it.

The conference participants

Participants on the roof terrace of the venue

The business meeting was held after the end of the paper sessions. To read what it informed on and what has been discussed expand this section!

1. The current situation of the commission (with a review of the current period). The Commission is active and has organized annual meetings. It also continued its publication programme in collaboration with Springer (see below).

2. Commission renewal 2020-2024. The Steering Committee has decided to ask the IGU to be allowed to continue its work during the period 2020-2024 and propose Prof. Borna Fuerst-Bjeliš (Zagreb, Croatia) as new chair.

3. The 2020 annual meeting will be organized by Prof. Raularian Rasu in Cluj-Napoca (Romania), and the SC has also asked for a session during the 34th IGC in Istanbul.

4. Proposals have been received for future conferences in Namibia and Bangladesh (2021) and Malaysia (2023); conferences will also be organized in France in 2022 (IGU Regional Conference) and in Ireland (35th IGC) in 2024.

5. Publication affairs and collaboration with Springer. Publications continue to develop successfully, a fifth volume in the series ‘Perspectives on geographical marginalization’ by Springer is in preparation, and the chapters for a sixth book are being edited. The publication of this conference’s papers will also be considered.

6. Any other business. Professor Ruth Kark, member of the current Steering Committee, made a few remarks and suggestions, to be taken up by the SC:

  • The participation and contributions of a new young and very talented generation is a good sign for the future of the Commission;

  • The theme ‘Applied marginal geography’ should be added to the Commission objectives;

  • The topic of ‘women and gender’ should be included as a separate field;

  • Historical geography as a special research area has been missing.

We thank the organizers and all persons who assisted them for their enthusiasm and their effort. They provided competent information and the entire conference and field trip passed well and without incidents.

On behalf of the IGU Commission on Globalization, Marginalization and Regional and Local Response Walter Leimgruber, Secretary

Fribourg, January 16, 2020