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Priorities for Nepal



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Rakshya Thapa Rakshya Thapa outlines priorities for Nepal in the battle against climate change.
The author has worked with Winrock International, Nepal, and has recently completed a postgraduate degree at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, United Kingdom.

Climate change is a challenge to Nepal. In a country that is already under considerable environmental stress, coupled with a weak economy, a lack of institutional capacity, a large rural population and a high dependence on natural resources, climate change will exert additional pressure on the ecological and social systems.

Steps towards mitigating climate change impacts became visible only after the second half of the 1990s even though Nepal signed the climate treaty in 1992.

Preparation of the Initial National Communication (2.7Mb download) was one of the very first accomplishments. Ratification of the Kyoto Protocol and establishment of the Designated National Authority to develop and manage the national strategy on the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) are some of Nepal's successful efforts towards fulfilling the international commitment. Developing national programmes, as well as including climate in national policies, is next on the agenda.

The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre is promoting clean technologies such as biogas, micro-hydro and solar. Climate Change Network Nepal is working on awareness generation and capacity strengthening. The PREGA project has been instrumental in furthering the CDM.

The CDM represents an attractive opportunity for furthering sustainable development goals while simultaneously mitigating emissions. Its constraints, however, should not be overlooked. High transaction costs for project preparation and documentation and mainstreaming of CDM in development planning are some of the areas of concerns for a country like Nepal.

Nepal, of late, has gradually recognized the need for enhancing the adaptive capacity of vulnerable communities. Some adaptation measures are already underway. Adaptation to climate change, however, is expensive and a gigantic task. Nepal should ensure adequate funding from the Adaptation Fund and other sources.

There is a crucial need for progress in three areas.

First, innovative means of promoting emissions reductions, particularly in the natural resource, transport and industry sectors, including tourism, and at the community level should be explored.

Second, adaptive capacity can be enhanced by development aimed at improving the livelihoods, living conditions and access to resources of those likely to experience the worst impacts. It is time to mainstream climate adaptation into development planning and ongoing sectoral decision making.

Finally, there is a need for the implementation of favourable policies, institutional set-ups and education and outreach programmes, as well as capacity building for the government, project developers, academic institutions and all civil society so that everyone can respond effectively to the threat of climate change.

Further information

Rakshya Thapa, GPO 146, Kathmandu, Nepal. Email: rakshyathapa@gmail.com.

On the Web

Tiempo Climate Newswatch has published a series of articles on Nepal:

  • Anil Raut on climate change impacts confronting Nepal and adaptation measures
  • Ngamindra Dahal on how climate change impacts are perceived in parts of the Himalayas in Nepal
  • Megesh Tiwari on the development of electric vehicles in Nepal
  • Noora Singh on prospects, the challenges and the viability of the Clean Development Mechanism for Nepal

A special issue of the bulletin Tiempo on Nepal can downloaded in Acrobat format in low resolution (0.9Mb) or high resolution (4.6Mb). Finally, the Tiempo Climate Cyberlibrary maintains a selected list of websites covering climate change and mountainous areas.

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Tiempo Climate Newswatch
Updated: April 12th 2013