Arzu Deuba (Nepal)

Arzu Deuba

Chair TES

Dr. Arzu Rana Deuba is an M.P. in Nepal. She is Co-Chair of the CEESP Theme on Environment & Security and is also a member of CEC.

She graduated from St. Bedes College, Himalchal Pradesh University and Punjab University from where she not only got her Masters degree but also her Ph.D in organizational Psychology in 1990. The time after her graduation was a period of both realization and decision making for Deuba. It was in the late 1980s and the early 1990s that the importance of issues related to environment came to forefront in Nepal due to a number of developments that occurred during that period. The primary factor that gave momentum to the issue of the degradation of the environment, especially in Kathmandu valley, in a large scale was the birth of democracy. It provided people with new opportunities of not only employment but also various forms of businesses. So people from different parts of the country started migrating to the capital causing rapid increases in population which lead to high levels of pollution.

This effect of the sudden rise was what stood out to Deuba at the time but it was only what happened next that caused her to actively become involved in environment conservation. A mining quarry was established in Godavari, a protected area of the country. People started to protest in masses about the destruction of the environment and Deuba also lent a voice to this protest. It was at this time that she applied to IUCN and was appointed to the post of Program Officer for the Communication and Public Information Program in January 1991 and took her first step towards professional environment conservation. In September of the same year, she became the Senior Program Officer where her responsibilities included bringing out a regular newsletter as well as making other publications press ready. She was also in charge of creating awareness about environmental issues in Nepal through media. During this period in IUCN, she learnt the importance of spreading awareness and the need for advocacy. She built her career on these aspects and incorporated them not only in her environmental pursuits but also in social and gender based causes.

When she advanced further into the office hierarchy as a Program Coordinator she was assigned the task of conceptualizing and designing a communications and public information strategy with government partners along with editing and finalizing all of IUCN’s publication. She was also given the task of exploring the possibility of integrating gender into IUCN’s program in Nepal.

In January 1994, Deuba joined the Canadian Cooperation Office as an Environmental Advisor where she provided technical assistance to the Water and Energy Commission Secretariat of the Ministry of Water Resources, designed parameters for establishing CCO’s environment fund and prepared political analysis briefs on Nepal. While with CCO, she attended a summer school course on Environmental and Social Impact Assessment at the University of Ottawa, Canada in 1994.

However, in September 1995 she had to quit her job as her husband was appointed the Prime Minister of Nepal and the law stated that the spouse could not work for an international organization. For the next two years she worked as a freelance gender consultant for various organizations including IUCN, CCO, UNDP, GTZ, PACT, USAID, UNFPA, UNICEF, CEPDA and the Ministry of Water Resources.