Senior Advisor - Digital Agriculture and Resilience
Basanta Shrestha, has a Masters in Engineering in Computer Science from the Asian Institute of Technology, Bangkok, Thailand and a Bachelors in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Madras University, India. With more than three decades of professional experiences in the field of digital technologies and applications and senior management positions, Mr Shrestha is well-known for his outstanding strategic leadership quality, an experienced manager and a team builder with proven track-record of excellent networking in South Asia and around the world. Mr Shrestha is known for his groundbreaking efforts in spearheading a comprehensive programme on earth observation and geospatial technology and applications in the Himalayan region and championed the successful partnerships with NASA and USAID, SERVIR-Himalaya – a flagship initiative to bridge cutting-edge technology and innovation in addressing mountain development challenges.
Under his leadership, he has successfully developed and led numerous programmes with key international and UN agencies in the field of climate change and resilience building, agriculture and food security, biodiversity conservation, disaster risk management, livelihood improvements, natural resources management among others. Mr Shrestha is a key proponent in advocating digital technologies, data sceience, and innovation for sustainable development agenda and known for his astute leadership towards a significant capacity building of institutions, mobilizing start-ups and mentoring youths in the region. Mr. Shrestha is also known for his outstanding contributions for institutional development through practice-based learnings from the global south with Partnership Brokering Association. He has led an innovative approaches on partnership development and management for sound institutional building and growth management.
Mr Shrestha was granted with a Presidential award (2001) and Special Achievement Award (2014) by Environmental System Research Institute, USA, the awards given to his leadership and in recognition of his contributions towards promotion of GIS technology and applications in the Himalayan region. He was also conferred with Humanitarian GIS award in 2015 in recognition to his pioneering contributions towards Nepal earthquake 2015 response and recovery operation. Mr Shrestha was a Director of Strategic Cooperation at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) based in Kathmandu Nepal from 2014-2022 and a founder member and programme manager of Mountain Environment and Natural Resources Information System (MENRIS) at ICIMOD since 1990. He is often sought for delivering speeches and keynotes addresses on various regional and international forums.
He is passionate about the environment and sustainable development issues and takes keen interest in green technologies, indigenous knowledge and sustainable living practices. He is currently a freelance senior advisor and lives in a mud house ‘Hamro Matoghar’ in Godavari, an outskirt of Kathmandu.
Leading ICT expert, Former Vice-Chair, High Level Commission for Information Technology,
Government of Nepal
Mr. Bhattarai is a leading ICT and information economy expert from Nepal. Until a few years back, he was serving as the Vice-Chair of the High Level Commission for Information Technology, an apex level ICT policy and strategy outfit Chaired by the Prime Minister of Nepal. Mr. Bhattarai played a lead role in drafting Nepal’s first IT Policy in the year 2000 as part of a team formed by the National Planning Commission, Government of Nepal. In addition to a number of policy initiatives that he has been involved in over the years including revised ICT Policy in the year 2014, Mr. Bhattarai's has also contributed in the formulation of National Broadband Policy and National Broadband Masterplan for the Government of Nepal which were announced in the year 2015.
Mr. Bhattarai played a key, leadership role in efforts leading to the formulation of eGovernment Master Plan of the Government of Nepal which has since culminated in the development of a comprehensive eGovernment programme being executed by the Government of Nepal including the roll-out of National ID. The e-Government projects under eGovernment master plan are geared towards leveraging information and communication technologies to promote good governance and improve delivery of public services. Mr. Bhattarai is also credited with the achievement of having provided leadership on delivering on one of the key, foundational components of eGovernment initiative namely the development of Government Enterprise Architecture/ Government interoperability framework.
His recent engagement involves helping the government develop the Digital Nepal framework with particular focus on project identification, operational modality and institutional structure aimed at securing Nepal's transition to Digital Economy and Digital society. He was also involved in the Asia-Pacific Information Superhighway initiative being led by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission (UN-ESCAP) as an expert member of the working group formed by the Commission.
Mr. Bhattarai maintains deep engagements with academia and civil society in exploring strategies for effectively leveraging digital technologies to achieve favorable policy outcomes as well as to stimulate economic growth.