PURUSHOTTAM GHIMIRE, National project Director of National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), has been working hard to release the final NAPA document. Ghimire is a joint secretary of Ministry of Environment and the focal point of UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). After approval of the final NAPA by Nepal’s Council of Minister (Cabinet) last week, Ghimire Spoke to NEW SPOTLIGHT on various issues. Excerpts:
What is the NAPA?
National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) is the document which all LDCs are supposed to prepare to communicate their urgent and immediate adaptation needs to reduce the threats posed by climate change as per the decision from COP7. In other words NAPA is the compilation of climate scenario, vulnerability of the country and adaptation programmes. Nepal NAPA document is the summary of six TWGs and two cross cutting reports. Details of the process, assessment of climate change vulnerability and impacts and long lists of adaptation measures could be assessed in it. The vulnerability assessment and the work of the TWGs came up with a ‘long-list’ of adaptation options under each theme. Prioritization process to select climate adaptation actions was carefully adopted and was made inclusive, consultative and country-driven to the extent possible. A multi-criteria analysis was used in a step-wise process that culminated in identifying the most urgent and immediate climate adaptation actions according to national needs and interests.”
What is the state of NAPA now?
It was a moment of joy for all of us in the Ministry of Environment and Project partners, particularly NAPA project team, to know that the final NAPA was approved by the government of Nepal. After this cabinet approval, NAPA has become the journey to climate change adaptation for Nepal.
As Nepal is hosting the meeting of Least Developed Countries Experts Groups (LEG) next week, how significant is this document in that context?
I would like to thank all individuals involved in the NAPA process. Nepal’s NAPA is just approved from cabinet and now we are the 45th country prepared the NAPA. If you see the international experiences of NAPA preparation, most of the countries took at least 2 years to complete but we became able to produce NAPA document within 14 months after the funds were disbursed by the implementing agency (UNDP) even we were working in the expanded NAPA environment. As we are hosting the LEG meeting in 12-14 October 2010, it is going to be a great opportunity for all of us to share the NAPA not only with national experts but also with international experts participating in LEG meeting.
What is the expanded NAPA?
In general, NAPAs have been prepared through the limited resources made available by the GEF but we chose a distinct journey that we developed NAPA as a process rather than a project. In addition to the preparation of NAPA document, we have been working on other two components namely the climate change knowledge management and learning centre establishment; and establishment of multi-stakeholder partnership framework of action. The web portal for knowledge sharing and management is almost ready to launch while the learning centre at central level is going to be operated in Nepal Academy of Science and Technology very soon and regional learning centre at Institute of Forestry is underway. Moreover, the NAPA process facilitated to establish a Multi-stakeholder Climate Change Initiatives Coordination Committee (MCCICC) under the auspicious chairmanship of the Secretary of Ministry of Environment where all government and non-government stakeholders have been participating. Similarly, the NAPA proposed climate change adaptation implementation framework has already been approved by the Government which has been focused on the climate change adaptation governance in Nepal. These are some virtues of the expanded NAPA.
How the Government is seeing it?
The government of Nepal considered Nepal’s NAPA as a process to assess climatic vulnerability, develop adaptation measures and a strategic tool to respond to climate change in the country, people and their livelihoods. The Nepal NAPA report is structured on the basis of NAPA preparation guidelines adopted by COP7 of UNFCCC and annotated guidelines developed by the Least Developed countries expert Group (LEG). The succeeding sections set out the introduction and national setting, the Nepal adaptation program framework, NAPA preparation processes and the methods and criteria used in the prioritization process, identification of key adaptation needs, lists of top priority adaptation actions and finally conclusions. Out of about 243 adaptation options proposed by the Thematic Working Groups (TWG), nine integrated projects have been prioritized as the urgent and immediate national adaptation priority options.
You have been talking about NAPA all the time. What kind of support will Nepal get now as NAPA document has been approved?
NAPA is the first strategic document to addresses climate change. We have tried our best to make it more functional. This is the main document to share our problems, issues associated with soaring impacts of climate change and to bring the resources in the country to respond the crisis being faced by the vulnerable communities. NAPA has recommended several projects. The first is immediate and urgent needs; the second is short term and mid- term and third is long term. If you see the whole NAPA process, it identifies altogether 243 projects. Among them, we chose 43 projects within the nine integrated project as urgent and immediate adaptation measures with a cost of around 350 million US dollars. Now our focus is to bring these adaptation measures 'down to earth' that demands 350 million US dollars. Out of that demand, about 130 to 140 million US dollars is in the pipeline. For instance, the PPCR grant about 40 million US dollars, up calling the renewable energy about 50 million US dollars and there were European Commission and DFID fund about 40 million and other funds. We want to implement these adaptation measures within generally five years time period.
How was it prepared?
After signing agreement with UNDP in Nov 2008, the Inception Workshop was held in May 2009 after the fund release from UNDP. As per the agreement documents there is three level of implementation mechanism. First, the Advisory Board, headed by the Secretary of the Ministry and second, Project Executive Board headed by Joint Secretary as the NPD that is me and the third is NAPA Project Team. During the NAPA process from the inception workshop, we established six Thematic Working Groups (TWGs) led by concern line ministries and coordinated by Joint Secretary and also following annotated guidelines of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group and suggested at the NAPA inception workshop to ensure engagement and ownership of a wide range of stakeholders and key government line ministries. The six TWGs are agriculture and food security, forests and bio-diversity, water resources and energy, climate induced disasters, public health and urban settlements and infrastructure. There are 8-16 institutions/individuals participating in each TWGs. Its important to note in here that the TWGs are formed not only to satisfy the NAPA needs but as a semi-permanent mechanism to deal with climate issues in their respective sectors even after the completion of NAPA Project.
How is the commitment to NAPA?
After the endorsement by the cabinet, not just the Ministry of Environment, NAPA is now owned by the government and this is a national document. We presented the document at all levels from the government to grass roots people. We believe that all of them have the commitment to implement it. As the project director, I am very happy to complete the preparation of the document on time. I am really thankful to the leadership and support provided by the Minister, Hon'ble Thakur Prasad Sharma, Secretary Dr. Ganesh Raj Joshi and all the team members, scientists, experts, National Planning Commission, media persons and people at grass root level who were involved in the process. Nonetheless the contribution of UNDP, DFID and Danish Embassy need to be highly appreciated. Finally, we need to be grateful to the cabinet for endorsing it and accepting it as a national document. This credit goes for all.
How soon will the document be public?
NAPA document has already been completed and it will be public shortly. Firstly, we need to submit it to the UNFCCC. We have been struggling to launch it together with our learning web portal during the forthcoming LEG meeting. We are also planning to organize the side events in December 5 in Cancun which aim to support our Mountain Alliance meeting which is proposed for coming March. In those side events, we will also talk about the NAPA process and outcomes from Nepal. We welcome all the development partners now who are willing to support our initiatives on climate change.
What are the challenges you foresee now?
NAPA document is itself very important. I have seen both opportunities as well as challenges. After the approval of NAPA by the cabinet, we have completed the first part of the responsibility. We have been prepared to face the practical challenge, that is the implementation of prioritized adaptation measures and continue the NAPA process. The challenge is to implement the projects and opportunities is that we have a number of projects which will help our national development. I believe all these climate change adaptation projects will help poor and vulnerable people of this country to uplift their livelihood base and to adapt with the changing climate. I expect sincere cooperation and contribution from our development partners and all potential stakeholders.