By: Stan Stevens
Stan Stevens returned to the Mt. Everest region for 6 weeks in November-December 2011, accompanied during the first week by Steering Committee member Ashish Kothari. It was Stan’s 37th trip to Khumbu since 1979. Stan had the opportunity to visit sixteen Khumbu Sherpa ICCAs and to discuss their current status and needs in the villages which maintain them. These ICCAs continue to thrive, although there is much concern about inter-generational transmission of values and knowledge to Sherpa youth and the continuing need to raise awareness of and appreciation for ICCAs among government officials and outside NGO staff from outside the area.Stan discussed possible actions in a series of meetings with the leaders and members of the Khumbu Sherpa Culture Conservation Society, the Sherpa Pollution Control Committee (the regional Sherpa conservation NGO), and the Sagarmatha National Park Buffer Zone Management Committee.
This led to an agreement to undertake a set of collaborative initiatives in 2012, which include school programs on Sherpa culture and conservation, cultural treks/camps for Sherpa children, research and dissemination of findings on ICCAs by Sherpa community researchers, and preparation of cultural maps and Sherpa conservation maps which will include ICCAs. KSCCS will take the lead in most of these activities, partnering with the SNP Buffer Zone and SPCC on mapping, research, and dissemination to give these them greater legitimacy and weight with vis-à-vis Sagarmatha National Park and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation. Some funding will be provided for these activities by the SNP Buffer Zone and international sources to ensure that pilot projects will be underway in key settlements in 2012. Additional funding will be sought from international sources.