WTO Chairs Program-Nepal disseminates information regarding research findings, upcoming research grant and conference

Kathmandu University School of Management is all set to host the AIB South Asia Conference in January next year in the theme 'Global Trade and South Asia: Competitiveness, Value Chains, and ESG.'

NL Today

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Kathmandu: The researchers, funded by the WTO Chairs Program-Nepal of the World Trade Organization, presented their research findings at the Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSOM) on Sunday.

During a program held at KUSOM, the researchers presented their findings in the presence of Dr Achyut Wagle, the registrar of Kathmandu University, Dr Biswo Poudel, a former vice chairman of the National Planning Commission, and several esteemed professors and academicians.

In the year 2022, the WTO Chairs Program granted research funding to four researchers to conduct studies on trade and business.

Assistant professors Sabina Baniya Chhetri and Dipesh Karki explored the complex interplay of climate change, gender dynamics, and cash crop production in Nepal’s Chitwan and Ilam districts. Their research uncovered significant insights into the challenges facing cash crop producers in these regions. One key finding underscores the profound impact of climate change on cash crop production, with shifting climate patterns, temperature fluctuations, and unpredictable precipitation disrupting farming and endangering livelihoods. Also, the study highlighted a notable gender gap in climate change awareness. Males demonstrated greater knowledge about climate change effects, adaptation strategies, and government policies. This disparity was attributed to their increased exposure to external information sources, family support, and involvement in formal and informal networks with government authorities and stakeholders.

The research conducted by Binayak Malla, Małgorzata Kuczara, Sabin Bikram Panta, and Thakur Prasad Devkota underscored the profound implications of climate change on mountain route tourism in Nepal. Their findings reveal increasingly unpredictable and extreme weather conditions that pose a significant challenge to tourism businesses. The region where they conducted their study has experienced a surge in natural disasters; including avalanches, floods, and landslides during the rainy season, further threatening the safety of tourists and infrastructure. 

“The adverse effects of climate change have led to a decline in the local fauna and flora, while the emergence of unpredictable fogs and mists has disrupted travel plans. The presence of mosquitos in mountain ranges and the appearance of previously unseen diseases and pests have added to the mounting concerns. People in Nepal are not only grappling with the current impacts of climate change but are also deeply anxious about their future in the face of these environmental challenges,” the research found. 

The study by Rajesh Sharma, PhD, and Prajol Joshi shows that export-oriented firms in Nepal must grasp the pivotal importance of integrating Sustainable Business Practices (SBP) into their strategies. Implementing SBP can confer a competitive edge through product differentiation, bolstering market and financial performance in foreign markets. The study underscores that firm-initiated efforts alone are insufficient, highlighting the role of government intervention. Collaboration between government and private firms is essential to define SBP aspects, develop stakeholder education programs, articulate implementation methods, and foster SBP integration across business functions, the research found. 

In Dipshika Gurung’s research on women micro-entrepreneurs in Kathmandu, two distinct cases emerged regarding the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The researcher found a strong inclination towards using the internet to enhance the women micro-entrepreneurs business skills.

During the event, Dr Poudel encouraged the researchers to submit papers for WCP-Nepal Research Grant 2023 by establishing connections between their subjects and the fields of trade and the economy. He also said that the research findings would be of great benefit to both society and the entire country.

In the meantime, the KUSOM is hosting the Academy of International Business (AIB) South Asia Conference 2024, it has been announced. The conference is set to unite participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka for an enriching exchange of ideas, research dissemination, and professional networking. Scheduled from January 7 to January 9, 2024, this conference’s theme, “Global trade and South Asia: Competitiveness, Value Chains, and ESG,” underscores its commitment to explore vital economic issues, said KUSOM. 

Sub-themes encompass Regional Economic Integration and Trade, Competitiveness in Circular and Digital Economies, International Marketing and Consumer Behavior, International HR Management and Global Leadership, International Finance and Trade Competitiveness, and Non-market Factors, ESG, and South Asia’s Preparedness. This event aims to foster collaboration among academia, industry, and government, shaping the future of trade and sustainability in the dynamic South Asian region, according to Conference Coordinator Asst. Prof. Srawan Kumar KC.

During the event, Dr Wagle encouraged students and researchers to submit papers, including academic papers, applied research, and policy reviews.

The paper submission window for the AIB South Asia 2024 Conference is open from August 15 to November 7, 2023. Notifications of paper acceptance decisions will be sent out by December 15, 2023. Early bird registration ends on November 22, 2023, with the final registration deadline set for January 1, 2024.