Manifestations of climate change from melting Himalayan glaciers to variations in rainfall patterns threaten livelihood in Nepal. Studies indicate that the key impacts are likely to include significant warming, particularly at higher elevations, leading to reductions in snow and ice coverage, increased frequency of extreme events, including floods and droughts and overall increase in precipitation during the wet season.
“Despite having to confront with various effects due to climate change, Nepal had nothing it could do without money. Following the approval of the National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) by the cabinet, however, Nepal has now access to funds to launch adaptation programs and projects to minimize the effects of climate change,” said chief secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire. “After attending the cabinet meeting at Kalapathar last year, I realize that Nepal is very vulnerable to climate change.”
The seventh session of the Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (COP7), held at Marrakech in 2001, established new funds relevant for adaptation, including the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF), to help affected people adapt to climate change. LDCF has been used initially to support the preparation of National Adaptation Programs of Action (NAPAs). The NAPA provides a process for LDCs to identify, communicate and respond to their most urgent and immediate adaptation needs and prioritize them. The fund provided approximately USD 200,000 to each LDC to develop their NAPAs. NAPA preparation is a pre-requisite for accessing funding from the convention’s financial mechanism.
The purpose of NAPA is to serve as a simplified and direct channel of communication for informing on the urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the Least Developed Countries. Activities proposed through NAPA would be those whose further delay could increase vulnerability, or lead to increased costs at a later stage. The approach of preparing NAPA is to be country driven, and complementary with existing plans and programs related to development and climate change.
After passing through various stages, National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) was finally endorsed by the government of Nepal last week. Although Nepal is the 45th out of 48 least developed countries to prepare NAPA, its NAPA document is said to be the best among them.
An LDC party to the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocal has to prepare NAPA to access funding for adaptation programs. The Ministry of Environment and Science and Technology and UNDP country office Nepal entered into an agreement in Mid-November 2008 for the preparation of NAPA, for which additional support came from DFID and Danish Embassy later.