The Kathmandu Declaration by the 8th Conference on Community-based Adaptation (CbA8) on climate change, held in Kathmandu from 27 to 30 April 2014, called upon the developed countries and international financing bodies to, inter alia, scale up public finance and channel funding to local communities to reduce climate vulnerability, adapt to climate change impacts, and build resilience. All this funding must reach local level to meet the needs and priorities of the most climate vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Participants agreed to strengthen national finance for local adaptation actions and urged the government to function as the primary channel for adaptation finance and also allocate at least 50 percent of all financing for adaptation to local level actions and local communities.
The conference was organised to provide climate scientists, policy-makers and practitioners the opportunity to share latest experiences and learning on local adaptation actions, financing, planning and best practices. The organisers informed that Nepal was selected because of her strong policy commitment to channel at least 80 percent of the total climate change funding for field level activities, and developing and implementing a mechanism to localise climate change adaptation through Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA). The conference participants pledged to implement the elements of the Kathmandu declaration.
Participants shared experiences, lessons learned and concepts and ideas on securing public and private funding for local adaptation and mainstreaming adaptation into planning process, disaster risk reduction, building institutional capacity and improving governance, low-cost options on CbA, ensuring accountability and transparency etc in 24 sessions. Interestingly Nepal's LAPA was prominently featured right from the opening session to the end of the programme. Participants were also updated on Nepal's climate change budget code and fund channelling to the local adaptation actions.
Inaugurating the conference, Prime Minister Mr. Sushil Koirala informed participants of Nepal's strong commitment to protect people and resources from adverse impacts of climate change. During the closing session, Deputy Prime Minister Prakash Man Singh called for support for the poor and climate vulnerable communities as they could not wait for the results of the climate negotiations. Chief Secretary Leelamani Paudel advised simplifying the process to access international funding to support local adaptation actions. Ms. Christiana Figueres, Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC, recommended bottom-up education, and top-down facilitation, and finding ways to cement and ground CbA in the National Adaptation Plan, adaptation funding and greenhouse gas reduction, and learning from 'failures'. Dr. Krishna C. Paudel, Secretary, informed about the enhanced understanding on CbA and referred to Nepal as the 'living university' for climate change study. Dr. Camilla Toulmin, Director-IIED, Dr. Saleeemul Huq, IIED and Dr. Atiq Rahman informed about the achievements of the conference objectives and field visits, and pledged to continue efforts to enhance local capacity to adapt to climate change.
Nepal showcased its LAPA and climate financing for local adaptation actions. The CbA9 will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in 2015, on 'making CbA more effective' with focus on adaptation monitoring and evaluation.
Since 2007, Nepal initiated multi-pronged approach to address the adverse effects of climate change ranging from establishment of coordination mechanism to the preparation and implementation of National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). NAPA's most urgent and immediate adaptation action priorities are now on the ground. With support from DFID and EU, 70 LAPAs are now under implementation in most climate vulnerable 14 districts of mid- and far west Nepal to address the adverse impacts of climate change with full participation of most climate vulnerable communities, particularly the women and disadvantaged people. Additional 30 LAPAs have been advanced for implementation in the same districts, totalling to 100 LAPAs on the ground. Climate vulnerable communities are implementing adaptation activities they have identified, prioritised and designed. LAPA implementation is the first of its kind at the global level, and therefore the learning has to be well reviewed and documented, and fed into the national policy processes.
The Government has channelled parts of this fund through the Red Book. The District Development Committee (DDC) implements and channels funding for village level activities through: (i) service providers such as national and/or local NGOs; (ii) community user groups; and (iii) Government line agencies. The DDC ensures LAPA delivery through monitoring, supervision and facilitation support from Environment, Energy and Climate Change Coordination Committees established separately at regional, district and village levels. The Government provides agreed amount to the UNDP Nepal for its services (technical assistance) at local and central levels.
Less than a year of experience in channelling climate finance to field level adaptation activities urges for strengthening the system to enhance service delivery through LAPAs implementation to benefit climate vulnerable communities, and furthering their full participation and ownership. LAPA implementation needs scaling up to address the needs of communities, protect people and resources from climate change impacts. Adaptation is a development agenda and it is a must to address climate change as part of our survival.
In a nutshell, LAPA is a unique model to ensure and promote participation of most climate vulnerable people in developing adaptive capacity and building climate resilience. Nepal should champion not only on design and planning of LAPAs and fund channelling but also their operations effectively to share learning with international communities, next year in Nairobi.
Expert Member, Nepal's Climate Change Council, and Chair, LDC Expert Group (UNFCCC)