“I am ready to overcome any challenges to fulfil my responsibilities, but my work should in no way bring shame to the people around me or degrade the reputation of my institution.”

Under Secretary

Ministry of Forests and Environment, Project Facilitation section

Beginning his public service career in Palpa, Gyanendra Mishra has worked in Morang, Rukum, Bajhang, Bara, Bhojpur and Sunsari, both as assistant forest officer and forest officer. He is currently Under Secretary in the Ministry of Forests and Environment. Gyanendra did not have idealistic ambitions when he started his service; like other individuals, his only goal was to secure his future with a government job. Once in the service, he realized that the rights and responsibilities offered by the government he works for could bring transformative change to society. Flowing from this realization, Gyanendra developed a sense of responsibility for his nation.

Loyal to Responsibilities

Gyanendra never compromised on the responsibilities given to him through his government role. He would never back down from a challenge. His work as the Head of Project on the Sagarmatha Forest Development was notable; around 2600 hectares of land was under encroachment and the locals would cut down the trees for personal use. Locals would also use the empty land for farming so it was difficult to regain control of the land and proceed with restoration. Many previous officers had tried and failed. Gyanendra was determined to take back the land and keep it under government control. He organized a plantation campaign for the land against enrochement for three months with the assistance of 500 Nepali police officers and the Nepal Armed Police.

The campaign agitated the encroachers to the point where they began throwing stones and even threatened Gyanendra’s life. The encroachers gathered on the first day of the campaign to stop the plantation; with the threat of a violent breakout looming and the police about to step in, Gyanendra was still adamant. He planted the first tree and it sent a strong message to those opposing. This was land that the government was taking back to start planting again, and as many tried to stop the process, his determination was not shaken.

Today, the government has taken back 2000 hectares of the land and has been successful in tree planting. In three years, the empty land has been transformed into a lush green forest full of trees. Without the dedication of a public servant like Gyanendra Mishra, this process would have not been possible.

Program Cost Transparency

Gyanendra is transparent in providing the costs of all programs to the attendees. He is detailed when providing this information to the participants, including all related purchases such as learning equipment, rent of place used for activity and the food consumed by the participants. Any person with a doubt about the price list provided can go into the store and verify the prices themselves. Gyanendra provides a stark contradiction to the stereotypical view of government financial mismanagement.

Continuously encouraged thousands of people to save the forest

Gyanendra Mishra is known for including concerned stakeholders and various authorities in his efforts to set up programs and formulate plans. By doing so, stakeholders feel included in processes and strong relationships are developed. Gyanendra provides a prime example of the value of involving locals where they have the opportunity to successfully manage plantation campaigns. He uses transparency and involves locals from the initial phase of the campaign.

Questions he seeks to answer include:  What does government expect from the campaigns? What is the overall cost involved? How do people benefit from it? He shows them the level of benefit they can receive. He also develops a sense of inclusiveness across the community by providing the details of the program first hand and taking their suggestions for improvement. Giving this opportunity has meant that the people have a sense of responsibility towards the benefits received from all the greeneries and they start conserving in their own surroundings. This way, they get involved in the process of forest conservation with their own determination. This initiative has made it unnecessary for government to appoint a caretaker for the area; instead, the locals themselves are the caretakers of their own community.

Gyanendra’s practices have contributed to enhancing partnerships and growing trust between the government and citizens. Locals themselves have become conservationists. He has vowed to take this practice as a mantra for as long as he serves. Every community has different social dynamics involving different people with different needs. Gyanendra studies all of these conditions to understand the people involved before he begins work. He starts with complex tasks in hand and he works to make every contribution memorable.

“Government service has provided me with various benefits. I have received a social status and respect from getting into this job. That is why I am always indebted to our government and it is my responsibility to serve the nation as a transparent representative of the government.”