Nepal to talk up climate losses and seek more funding at COP27Some 400,000 people were displaced from 2008 to 2014 due to climate change-induced floods, landslides in Nepal.
Climate change is getting little attention of Nepali politicians, busy as they are with the upcoming parliamentary elections, despite the calamity it’s wreaking on the country’s fragile ecosystem.
Experts say the government’s apathy towards climate change is glaring, especially given the increasing incidents each year of melting glaciers, flash floods and landslides. The incidents have claimed lives and destroyed property. The numbers continue to see an alarming rise every passing year.
“The number of people displaced by floods and landslides from 2008-2014 equals around 400,000,” says Madhukar Upadhya, a climate expert. “People displaced due to climate change in the past six years outnumber those displaced during the decade-long insurgency, which was around 300,000.”
However, the federal government officials claim the government has been competently handling the challenges posed by climate change.
“To confront the challenge of climate change, the government of Nepal has worked on all fronts,” Buddhi Sagar Poudel, joint-secretary at the climate change management division of the Forest and Environment Ministry, told the Post.
“The government has brought a climate change policy, Environment Protection Act, and has worked on a long-term strategy on climate change. So we can say that the government has given the necessary priority to climate change.”
He, however, agreed that the government is lagging behind on two fronts— programme implementation and budgeting. Poudel didn’t elaborate.
Meanwhile, the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP27) of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt from November 6. Just like in the past, the likelihood of Nepal having an impact on participating countries during this conference is rather slim, although the government is planning to send a minister-level delegation to the COP27 conference.
Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba led the Nepali delegation to the COP26 conference held in Glasgow, Scotland in November last year. This time around, Minister of Women, Children and Senior Citizens Uma Regmi is likely to represent Nepal at the conference, according to a foreign ministry official.
COP is a global event which brings together policymakers, delegates, scientists, lobbyists and private sector participants to discuss and combat the world’s climate change issues.
In 2018, President Bidya Devi Bhandari participated in the COP24 conference organised in Katowice, Poland. COP25 conference held in Madrid, Spain was led by Shakti Bahadur Basnet, then Minister for Forest and Environment.
But, sadly, Nepal could not attract global attention to its problems brought on by climate change at any of the conferences it has previously attended, said the experts.
This time, Nepal is preparing to present a five-point agenda to delegates at the upcoming conference, according to Poudel. These include highlighting the losses being suffered as a result of climate change and drawing attention of delegates to a lack of sufficient funding to offset those losses.
Nepal also plans to urge developed countries to reduce carbon emissions which would help mitigate the sufferings of people living in the mountainous regions of Nepal who have had to bear the brunt of climate change.