In the last few years, Nepal has made a lot of progress in climate change negotiations. The Ministry of Environment has been taking the lead in them. The forest sector has been identified as one of the key areas of Nepal needing attention in the negotiations. Particularly, after the Copenhagen Climate Conference, Nepal has started to take several initiatives to cope with the implications of climate change. Studies have shown that Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate change. As a least developed country, Nepal has to work with all LDCs to lobby for their interest. As UNFCCC meeting is going to be held in Bangkok from August 25, Nepal will have the opportunity to look at the coming Doha UNFCCC meet. Nepal’s role is now different as Nepal has to play a dual role. Nepal is the coordinator of LDCs now. One of the important tasks for Nepal is to coordinate among all 49 LDCs on climate change issues. It is the responsibility of Nepal government to provide facilitation to all LDCs countries. Along with this, Nepal also needs to carry out its earlier commitments and issues. We need to work hard to fulfill the responsibility Nepal is given in the process of negotiations in UNFCCC. There are different types of interests among the LDC countries, including mountain and Islands, and there are countries which do not fall in either of these groups. It is now the responsibility of Nepal to raise these different issues on behalf of LDCs. We need intense homework and study to identify the main concerns of LDCs. In the coming Bangkok meeting, Nepal is not going to be a single country but it is going to lead the voices of LDCs. This is the reason I am stressing for greater homework and preparedness for the meet. The last time our concern was how to include Nepal’s agenda into LDCs. Now, the situation is different as Nepal has to lead the agenda of all 49 LDCs countries in UNFCCC. Nepal’s responsibility is much higher now than before. As we have to coordinate and facilitate the issues of 49 LDCs, our responsibilities also increase by 49 times.
In the present context, the Ministry of Environment has a greater responsibility than other agencies. Thus, the government has to fully back the Ministry to perform its duty in the international conferences playing a leading role as a LDCs leader. The tenure of LDC coordinator is just two years. This is the reason Nepal needs to show the global community that Nepal does not lack the capability to lead such group and raise the voices more effectively. This is a great opportunity for Nepal to project itself as a leader of LDCs. Bangkok meeting is going to be the first and Nepal’s presentation is going to shape Nepal’s future. Having long experiences of taking part in the climate change negotiations in the past, the Ministry of Environment will complete its task successfully. International negotiations are very complicated and difficult tasks. It will be better for concerned officials to do proper homework before presenting themselves in the international negotiations. In the changing global context, the priorities and agenda of different countries change from time to time. This is the reason we have to broadly consult and discuss the possible agenda that is going to come up in the meeting.
LDCs include diverse countries, from mountain to seashore and Islands. They have different agenda. Similarly, there are wide variations among them in terms of economic development. Some LDC countries are in the process of graduation. Some are very backward. Leading this diverse group and coordinate them is itself a challenging task. Before going to take part in the meet, Nepal needs to calculate and discuss possible agenda of these countries. This will help when Nepal holds the meeting of LDCs in Bangkok. One of the challenges before us is to fulfill the aspirations of all LDCs. In the past, Nepal had to just think about how to put Nepal’s agenda into LDCs. Now the role is reverse and Nepal has to look at other LDCs’ agenda and their priorities. As a mountain country itself, Nepal has to prepare the agenda for LDCs mountain countries. Similarly, there are issues related to technology transfers and funding. Many LDCs countries are yet to get proper funding for adaptation and other programs. Similarly, technology transfer is yet to materialize. In this context, Nepal has challenges as well as opportunities in coming Bangkok meeting. Of course, developed countries have already expressed their commitments to technology transfers and there are also fundings available for the projects but LDCs are yet to get the opportunities available before them. LDCs have to fulfill several criteria and conditions to bring the funding in their countries. Nepal’s efforts should work to make the funding acquiring process easier. Similarly, Nepal also needs to materialize the technology transfer process into reality.
To make all these possible, there is the need to enhance our capacity. The agenda of climate change is the agenda of the state and the role of Ministry of Environment is only that of a facilitator in this regard. Nepal needs to raise LDCs and Nepal’s agenda very strongly in Bangkok. For this, there is the need of more homework. The more Nepal prepares for Bangkok meet, the better it will be for Nepal to raise the agenda in coming UNFCCC negotiations in Qatar. The Ministry of Environment has to build strong teams for UNFCCC negotiations. One team will get involved with LDCs and the other team will be on Nepal’s own agenda.
(Dr. Devkota is former vice chair of National Planning Commission. As told to New Spotlight.)