-Dr. Upendra Gautam, Kathmandu, Nepal
Although climate change (CC) has become central to public affairs, there is no effective CC policy. Publications such as “The Climate Change Risk Atlas” 2010 ranked Nepal as the fourth most vulnerable country in the world after Somalia, Haiti and Afghanistan. Why is this country so vulnerable to CC for which it is not at all responsible?
Key factors of CC vulnerability:
The factors that really affect the CC vulnerability of contemporary Nepal are hunger, poverty and unemployment, as large numbers of people are deprived of development and equity – equitable access to natural and financial resources.
The contemporary Nepalese state has never been sufficiently strategic in its domestic and foreign policies, programs and behavior. The lack of strategy has made the country’s leadership an appendage to others, leaving the people at the mercy of natural hazards and political uncertainties.
As such, the fundamental problem for Nepal is not CC and its impact per se.
The stake is the development of national capacities according to its own specificities and national needs.
For example, for the Nepalese people, the Himalayas, the Devapattan or the Lumbini are not only something environmental but also highly spiritual.
But in contemporary Nepal, the leadership has never been honest enough to help develop our national capacity according to our uniqueness.
If developed, this national capacity would have been an unassailable knowledge base on Himalayan ecology, mixed Buddhist-Hindu civilization and associated technology.
Instead, the leadership took the easy way out (even though it kept talking about nationalism): aliens would come and feed us, employ us, and take care of our poverty. Even in the last 50 years of so-called planned development, it is foreigners who have asked us to go for community development, rural development, agricultural development, women in development, liberalization, privatization and and so on.
Now we are being asked to take care of CC and its impact by adopting CC impact mitigation, adaptation processes and climate resilient practices.
Nepal is by no means in a position to approach CC impact mitigation and adaptation from a position of national incapacity.
And, it will never be close to achieving national capacity unless the problem of the global impact of alien-generated CC is resolved by integrating Eastern wisdom and local capacity.
The prerequisite for this is indeed our ability to think and act strategically, which means that we regard our national interest as the most sacred and are always on the lookout for the best way to serve it by developing our capacity. national. Identifying the following issues can help explain what I mean by strategic thinking and action with respect to mitigating and adapting the impacts of CCs?
The issues identified may also help to some extent the deliberations of this august assembly.
CC impact mitigation and adaptation issues:
Agriculture: The sustainable and long-term viability of Nepalese agriculture depends on the environmental suitability of its soil and seeds.
In the name of climate change and food security requirements, some of the global players are promoting their commercial interests.
Efforts are being made as part of a US bilateral project to kill the sustainability and long-term local viability of Nepalese agriculture by introducing hybrid and genetically modified seeds.
We can, on the other hand, learn from a Chinese experience.
What was done there seems simple: Seeds from the historically warm ecological region have been used in cultivation in an area where the temperature is rising.
This experience has shown that even in the context of climate change, strong local institutions become the effective institutional vehicle for interregional transfer and use of seeds – the most important component for improving agricultural productivity.
This solution does not involve a lot of time and costs that the selection of a new variety of seeds could have taken.
Studies have examined the impact of climate change on rich and poor countries around the world.
They revealed that climate change would have a significant impact on the distribution of countries, grouped by income per capita.
It has been predicted that poor countries will suffer the most from climate change.
Although adaptation, wealth and technology can influence the distributive consequences between countries, it has been argued that the main reason poor countries are so vulnerable is their location. ICIMOD studies show a correlation between altitude and temperature rise: the higher the altitude, the greater the temperature rise.
Countries like Nepal have to struggle and negotiate hard with the richer countries – which are responsible for the consequences of climate change – to obtain adequate financial compensation.
Sizeable investment clean energy and environment– Supportive infrastructure will enhance livelihoods and socio-economic opportunities for the large number of poor and unemployed people, which in turn will increase national and local capacity to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
However, the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR), which is part of the Climate Investment Funds (CIF) administered by the World Bank, in the name of helping to integrate climate resilience into planning National Development Agency of Climate Vulnerable Countries, offers recipient countries a mix of grants and loans for climate adaptation projects.
The World Bank plans to provide Nepal with a loan of US $ 60 million and another grant of US $ 50 million.
The Ministry of the Environment wishes to spend the loan money through the relevant ministries for the development of infrastructure such as hydropower, bridges, roads and other infrastructure.
But the process of assistance is fundamentally flawed on the grounds that it is donor driven, lean in terms of challenge, ignores the indigenous process of social change, and ignores the dynamics. of local development.
This World Bank CC assistance seems to define globalization as only the flow of goods, people and ideas in a predetermined western way that institutional structures in developing countries are to be shaped.
Why should Nepal take out a loan to mitigate and adapt to the impact of CC for which it cannot be held responsible for any reason? Additionally, Nepal advocated for climate justice.
The government of Nepal has considered climate justice in its 2011 climate change policy.
Nepal also submitted its National Adaptation Program of Action (PANA) on climate change at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
The framework for implementing NAPA requires that 80 percent of the funds for any adaptation program go directly to the community.
But the Pilot Program for Climate Resilience (PPCR)) does not support the priorities of the NAPA and its implementation framework.
It ignores the principle of national and community ownership.
The World Bank’s climate change assistance appears to be more of a debt trap than complementary support to harness, use and institutionalize local capacities for climate change.
It will be a better way to raise a substantial amount of money internally through pollution and green taxes on fossil fuels. Financial resources from these taxes can be used appropriately to ensure climate justice by establishing a mechanism at the level of local environment and energy units.
Science and technology improve geopolitical constraints in terms of transport, communication, commerce and tourism.
Corn geopolitical importance as expressed by the location of a country would have a critical impact on the consequences of climate change.
The Himalayas and the rivers that flow from them are Nepal’s lifeline.
For this fundamental reason, it is essential to cooperate with China and the Republic of India for the ecological conservation and environmentally friendly use of Himalayan resources.
In this sense, the climate summit last November held in Bhutan does not bode well for Nepal’s interest.
Since China was not at the top, the summit was more concerned with partisan regional climate policy than integrating climate policy into geography.
For Nepal, therefore, an institutional framework of cooperation modeled on the International Integrated Mountain Development Center (ICIMOD) is perhaps more rational, realistic and relevant than that seen under the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (ASACR).
The gist of this short speech is as follows: For Nepal, climate change, although being a global phenomenon, could be successfully addressed if Nepal takes a strategic perspective on it.
To this end, Nepal needs to develop its national capacity according to its own national specificities.
# From the archives of telegraphnepal.com: Ed Upadhyaya