Climate Change in Nepal: How should the country tackle it?

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The first ever youth meet on climate change at the highest altitude in the world (Everest Base Camp- 5600m) calling to save the Himalayas. (Picture Credit: Dawa T Sherpa, Dikshya Karki, Khasing Chandra Rai, Ngawang W Sherpa, Rajan Thapa, Prashanta Khanal and Sunil Aacharya )

Nepal has a long history of baffling political instability. The constant uprising of people against the convoluted political parties along with the “never fulfilled wishes” of common people, have kept the country and its people in the shade of extreme darkness. However, with the emergence of new faces and new leaders, new hopes of progress and amelioration has been awakened. After decades of survival on the Cimmerian shade, the country witnessed the most daring leader who entirely changed the face of the country by solving the “never-ending crisis of electricity”. Mr. Kulman Ghising, the current managing director of Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) of Nepal became the beacon of hope for the entire Nepalese when he completely obliterated the relentless load-shedding.

Similarly, the world leaders like Barack Obama, Angela Merkel, and Justin Trudeau proudly manifested their keen enthusiasm by advocating for the environmental conservation, Nepali leaders also ensued on their footsteps to join the common force to advocate for the climate change. After all, the minatory repercussion of climate change cannot be expunged. According to the report published by the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), during United Nation Framework Convention in Germany, the government displayed the core initiatives, it has undertaken to strengthen its institution on climate change adaptation programs and extend the REDD-plus programs. In addition, the government has also been developing essential prerequisites to conduct the effective implementation of Convention provisions. The report echoes, “The country has also established the Recovery and Reconstruction Authority to rebuild Nepal after the earthquake. Several non-governmental and community-based organizations are also engaged in strengthening national and local entities to provide services to the climate vulnerable communities,”, according to the Himalayan Times News Service.

The coordination mechanisms have been established by the Nepal government, which ensures essential coordination and guidance of policy at the highest political level and at the local level for effective implementation. The establishment of Climate Change Council, Climate Change Coordination Committee and REDD Coordinating and Monitoring Committee have succeeded in catering guidance and functions to align the change with development activities. Nepal’s Climate Change Policy initiated in 2011 envisions a safe and sound Nepal isolated from the adverse impacts of climate change. This climate policy concedes administering climate justice through the pursuit of environmental conservation and sustainable development with an aim to constitute a prosperous society. The policy further aims at reducing greenhouse gas emission and enhances climate adaptation and resilience capacity of vulnerable communities for optimum utilization of natural resources and their efficient management. The government of Nepal has been emphasizing on the provision of mitigating measures to address the adverse impacts of climate change, along with the adoption of adaptive strategies to produce mitigation-friendly forest management systems.

On the other spectrum, various educational institutions and environmental organizations have played a very monumental role in sprinkling the seeds of awareness on environmental conservation. In a country like Nepal, where half of the populations live under the poverty line, the roles of organizations have revolutionized the approach of local community towards the environment. Today farmers in the remote parts of Nepal are very knowledgeable about the impacts of climate change. Women, especially from the vulnerable communities are educated on the mitigation measures with the adaptive approach to tackling the adversities imposed by climate change. Similarly, children in schools at different parts of Nepal are educated about climate change and are taught to conserve the environment.  Thus, more programs that have the potency to increase the climate resiliency of the local communities of rural Nepal should be highly encouraged.

In addition, the active collaboration between government and private organizations have sparked a wave of change at addressing the depressing issues of climate change. The association between the government of Nepal and the UNDP Nepal (United Nation Development Programme) have collaterally implemented the Climate Change Support program in 14 districts of Nepal. The ongoing support of UNDP to address the rising issues of climate change have helped the government to extract effective development program to strengthen its delivery capacity to make the most efficient use of limited resources. And help local communities to adapt and build resilience to climate change. The program has also been featured as a global best practice and has been acknowledged at the 2015 Paris Convention on Climate Change.

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Mobilizing people to adapt to the changing climate. A project conducted by UNDP in association with the government of Nepal.  (Picture Credit: UNDP Nepal)

“It is because of this partnership (with UNDP) that the Government is able to achieve significant results with respect to reducing climate vulnerability.” Proudly shares, Naresh Sharma, who belongs to the Ministry of Population and Environment, the government of Nepal.

Currently, Nepal has been confronting changes in the field politics. A country with an aspiration of achieving democracy must work to consolidate its local level bodies to elect people’s representatives on a local level.  With the positive initiative taken by the government of Nepal, the local election has successfully embarked at various parts of Nepal. As the detrimental impacts of climate change and environmental deterioration have been strongly prevalent in various remote parts of Nepal where immediate action cannot be accessible, people have high expectations and hopeful from the current political leaders to tackle the changing status of Nepal’s environment. Nepal is a country that has undergone several adversities over the past years, but amidst all these obstacles, the country has managed to invent opportunities in disguise. A country that has strongly stood against the draconian magnitude of 7.3 Richter scale, can etiolate all the rising issues of climate change if the new political system manages to implement all the existing policies, and strengthen the association with private organizations. The potency of youth’s involvement on the efficacy of environmental conservation has already invited positive changes and their role should be promoted.  Like how the country managed to outweigh the cumbersome electricity crisis, the country can also decipher the perplexes of climate challenges if the appointed new leader carries out the execution of climate-related laws and policies.

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