Nepal bearing the brunt of climate change: President

Shyamal Adhikari

President Bidya Devi Bhandari has said that Nepal has been bearing the brunt of disproportionate impacts of climate change despite being a low carbon-emitting country. “We feel as if we have been penalized for the mistakes we never made. I would like to reiterate that it is incumbent upon the international community to ensure that justice is done,” she said.

In a statement to the 24th Conference of Parties to the United National Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) here today, she said there is a surge in soil-erosion and landslides in the hills while main productive land of Terai, ‘the granary’ of Nepal, is frequently affected by floods and inundation. Himalayan glaciers are melting; snow-capped mountains are becoming dark and dull; the possibility of glacial lake outbursts is high; and the river- basin system is adversely affected.

Likewise, fresh water springs of the mid and lower hilly region of Nepal are drying up and the surface water reservoirs of the plains are adversely affected owing to the changes in rain cycle and changing patterns of land use.

The rural drinking-water system has been disturbed because of the undesirable impacts on natural resources. Even more severe is the impact on agriculture sector.

Such disasters and incidences have more direct bearing on women and indigent people, with rural women bearing the hardship of having to spend hours to fetch water for household consumption, the President said.

Stating that Nepal is effortful in minimizing the threat of climate change including through National and Local Adaptation Plans of Action and other measures, the President said despite such efforts, Nepal has been extremely impacted by carbon missions taking place beyond its boundaries.

The Government of Nepal has initiated the President Chure Conservation Programme with a view to implementing, in an integrated way, the environment conservation and livelihood programmes in the Chure area, popularly known as Shiwalik in Nepal. “We believe that this project will contribute to the protection and conservation of the environment of not only the Chure area but also the neighbouring countries,” the President said.

Furthermore, Nepal will continue to promote renewable energy and electric-mobility. “We have already started the use of electric vehicles at the President’s Office and we have a policy to extend this to other areas as well,” she said.
President Bhandari also shared that the Government of Nepal plans to develop and implement model project on climate change as well as design and implement adaptation and mitigation action plans at the local level.

Nepal has also expressed its national commitments in accordance with the 2015 Paris Agreement and we believe that the commitment to maintain the threshold of 1.5 degree Celsius as outlined in the recent IPCC Special Report will further encourage the world community to traverse resolutely in the path of low carbon emission.

In her statement, President Bhandari said that Nepal is a country that has been immensely contributing to controlling global warming. Nepal’s contribution is proven by the fact that of the total land of Nepal, 13 per cent is occupied by Himalayas, additional 4 per cent by uncultivable high land and 45 per cent by forest areas. RSS