Long-term vision urged to deal with climate change

Long-term vision urged to deal with climate change

Long-term vision urged to deal with climate change

Climate change experts, private sector and stakeholders have urged the government to have clear and long-term vision as well as mainstream climate issues at all levels of the government if it wants to deal with climate change effectively.

During an event of Talanoa Dialogue, launched earlier this year that represents the international community’s attempt to observe progress made in line with the Paris Accord in 2015, participants have discussed Nepal’s efforts so far, climate ambitions for future and approach to achieve those goals.

Bimal Regmi, a climate change analyst with the Oxford Policy Management suggested Nepal needs to shift from traditional fossil fuel based economy to low-carbon and clean energy.

“We need a clear vision about where we want to reach and how do we get there. If we want to make a stride towards low-carbon economy, then we should work accordingly,” said Regmi, stressing the need to streamline climate change in country’s policies at all the three levels of government.

Various studies rank Nepal as one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Speedy melting of ice in the Himalayas, rise in temperature, change in weather patterns and increase in extreme events has been evident in Nepal in the recent times.

Climate change is likely to halt country’s overall progress as it leaves direct or indirect consequences on biodiversity, wildlife, infrastructures, tourism sector, public health, ultimately stunting country’s GDP, climate experts warn.

Dinesh Devkota, ex vice chair of National Planning Commission said government’s policies should not be only concentrated in a particular geographic region like upper Himalayas or Hindu Kush Himalaya region.

“Our efforts should not be based only in Himalayan regions, but also in Tarai region as climate change affect both upstream and downstream communities,” said Devkota.

Nepal government is preparing to take part in the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 24) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) to be held in next month in Katowice, Poland where it is expected to draw global attention regarding its struggle of dealing with climate change effects.

Part of its preparation, the Ministry of Forest and Environment, has started consultation with stakeholders regarding the issues to be raised in the COP24.

Participants at the Talanoa Dialogue event, organised in Kathmandu on Thursday, also suggested the government to make ‘ideological shift’ by not only blaming the outside world for the climate change, but do its part with the available resources and indigenous knowledge.

They also urged the government to showcase best practices adopted by Nepal like community based forest and biodiversity conservation, and other local adaptation measures while dealing with climate change. Participants pointed out that various ministries of the government should work together to tackle growing challenges of climate change.

Andrew McDowell, Vice President of the European Investment Bank said Nepal is not the problem, but has the opportunity to be part of the solution.

“Recent catastrophic events in Indian state of Kerala, Bangladesh and last year’s floods are a wakeup call and highlight the vulnerabilities of countries like Nepal,” said McDowell. Forest and Environment Minister Shakti Bahadur Basnet said Nepal had to raise climate change as an important issue because country’s negligible contribution to the problem not just the climate change has emerged as a global issue.

He said Nepal needs to produce enough scientific data and studies to strongly put its claims to the outside world and stressed the urgency of protecting vulnerable communities the most.

“Climate change does not discriminate between rich and poor. However, it affects a particular region and community more for their inability to cope. We need to cover those vulnerable through efforts,” he said.

-The Kthmandu Post

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