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Phoksundo lake (altitude 3611 meters), is an iconic high mountain lake with unique attributes. Known for its turquoise color and pristine environment, it is also the deepest and the second largest lake in Nepal. The lake is located in the Shey Phoksundo National Park of Dolpa, which is the largest district of Nepal, yet among the poorest. The national park is known for its spectacular mountain biodiversity and centuries-old cultural heritage, with critical glacial and river ecosystems inside it. However, all these special attributes make the area particularly sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and other human-induced threats. In recent years, the area has seen increasing incidents of crops lost to climate-induced flooding, including local reports of declining Yarsagumba harvests. Post Covid-19 tourism revenue in the region has also suffered.

Being a part of Karnali province, strategically the event site can also be thought of as a gateway destination for advancing women priorities and their future roles in building climate resilience and protecting biodiversity, while promoting indigenous and traditional values, and leading nature-based tourism and other green development agendas. In the long run, this will be necessary for women empowerment across the region as a whole, since prevailing socio- cultural customs and traditions in Karnali province are still deeply pitted against women advancement. Building discourse around the need to prioritize women action for preserving the iconic and pristine environment of Shey Phoksundo is seen as important also from the perspective of informing future local-to-provincial level planning and preparedness, where indigenous communities, especially indigenous woman, have little to no say in the important decisions that affect their future.

A sixty-member woman team, comprising of individuals from diverse backgrounds and professions, will trek up to Phoksundo lake in the remote mountain district of Dolpa from October 8, 2022. The mission is to demonstrate climate justice issues and the need for urgent climate action in the Himalayas. In the process the campaign will build sensitization and understanding around the climate issue, while shedding light on real-life challenges experienced by villages and communities.
The focus will be mainly from the perspective of the challenges women face due to the mounting effects of climate change. On the whole the campaign targets to educate and demonstrate how climate change is disproportionately affecting peoples and places in remote parts of Nepal, intensifying existing inequalities and further marginalizing disadvantaged groups like women.
The main event will be a two-day interaction with local communities and local government representatives organized in Phoksundo lake which will draw out firsthand accounts and insights about the magnitude of the climate problem, and how individuals, women, families and communities are directly affected by it. Here Sathsathai’s advocacy role will mainly be in the form of facilitator, observer and mediator.
Together with raising a united voice for climate action and climate justice, Sathasathi will keep the interactions as much targeted to developing locally driven solutions. The focus will be on building community resilience by strengthening women livelihoods, economic capacities and skills. Here themes related to nature-based tourism, agriculture and livestock, indigenous and traditional knowledge products, and women-led green enterprises, among other opportunities will be explored and advocated.
In order to achieve this, the sixty-member woman team, will comprise of diverse thematic experts. The team will fly from Kathmandu to Nepalgunj first and then to Juphal, which is the gateway village in to Dolpa. From Juphal the team will start its trek. On the fourth day the team will reach its target destination at the pristine Phoksundo lake (3611 metres). Here the visiting delegation will conduct a two-day interaction event, in which representatives from all of the nine rural municipalities of Dolpa district together with local people will be a part of. We anticipate at least 100 local participants each day.
Straight after the main interaction event at Phoksundo lake, the trek some of the team members will head to Birendranagar, the capital city of Karnali province, where an interaction programme with the the Hon. Jeevan Bahadur Shahi, chief minister of Karnali, along with other provincial ministers, will be held. Here our observations and findings from the interaction programme in Phokundo, together with community aspirations and recommendations, will be made.
Sathsathai is of the view that given the iconic Phoksundo lake, the prominence of Dolpa as a nature and heritage-rich destination, coupled with the individual profiles and variety of participants taking part, the mission will help to catalyze future interest and action for women-focused climate justice issues in the Nepal Himalayas. A video documentary taking account of the Shey Phoksundo mission deliberations will be produced post the trip for building larger audience engagement.


  • Sensitize awareness and action among local communities, particularly among women, on climate change in general and climate justice in particular, together identifying resilience-building measures
  • Promote Shey Phoksundo and Dolpa as a prized nature-based tourism destination of Nepal, while exploring other green products, enterprise-level and skill opportunities, for the benefit of local communities
  • Develop consensus and commitment from provincial and local governments on the need to prioritize climate justice and sustainability-related issues in their future development roadmap, plan, and strategy
  • Enable participants in the trek team to experience firsthand the severity and the disproportionate impacts of climate change, and inspire them to take on the role of future climate ambassadors


  • Government of Nepal affiliated: Hon. Sapana Pradhan Malla, Justice, Supreme Court of Nepal, including former women deputy mayors from across Nepal, local government representatives from all of the nine rural municipalities of Dolpa district.
  • Popular personalities: Ani Choying Drolma, Buddhist spiritual leader and singer, and Manisha Koirala Bollywood actor.
  • Professionals & experts: From, conservation science, diplomacy, law, medical health, business, education, entertainment, sports, mountaineering, civil society, social work, intellectuals, and philanthropists, among others.


  • A solidarity calls to global leaders to take notice of the extent of climate injustice and call for more ambitious commitments for climate-marginalized people of the Himalayas
  • Consensus among provincial and local governments together with communities of Shey Phoksundo for prioritizing climate justice and sustainability principles through the lens of women
  • Participant sensitization and interest of on-the-ground climate change challenges faced by people in the remote mountain district of the Dolpa
  • Familiarization of the region’s green development potentials and priorities. Exploration and promotion of climate-linked thematic areas, focusing on promotion of alternative women livelihood opportunities and products
  • Production of a video documentary taking account of the Shey Phoksundo mission and its deliberations


Sathsathai has already received commitment for event support from the Ministry of Forests and Environment and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Nepal. We are currently in the process of finding funding support for the campaign from credible non-government organizations as well as private donors.