Mountain Agenda: Tapping Opportunities

As a mountainous country, Nepal will have to draw the attention of the international community to make special and preferential provisions to address the adverse impacts of climate change in the mountains. The outcome of the regional conference on Ka

Nov. 23, 2014, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 08 No. -11 November. 21- 2014 (Mansir 5, 2071)

In addition to several agenda items to be negotiated and decided in CoP20 of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Lima, Peru, from 1-12 December 2014, Parties may wish to decide on the implementation of Article 4.8 of the Convention that provides opportunities to address the adverse impacts of climate change in the fragile mountainous ecosystems. Nepal's Mountain Initiatives, taken upon the call of the then Prime Minister at Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in 2009, took momentum from 2010 to 2012. Nepal organized side-events during the climate change negotiations in 2010 and 2011 in Bonn, Cancun and Durban to draw the attention of the climate change negotiators on accelerated adverse impacts of climate change in the mountain. Nepal organized an international conference of mountain countries on climate change in Kathmandu in April 2012 and adopted the Kathmandu Call for Action.

Although Nepal became a Party to the Convention in 1993, effective implementation of the Convention was realized during 2007 to 2012 by strengthening and/or establishing dedicated institutions, developing policy, NAPA and LAPA including piloting climate change adaptation and resilience programmes, establishing coordination mechanisms at political and bureaucratic levels, securing climate finance from all avenues (within and outside the Convention regime), generating and utilizing knowledge by conducting studies, organizing regional to international conferences, and Cabinet meeting at Kalapatthar, and leading the LDCs, including the development of 'critical mass' through 'learning by doing approach'. Nepal is the chair of the LDC Group for 2013 and 2014 and mountain issue was on shadow for almost two years. However, CoP20 will be in a mountainous country, Peru, and opportunities exist to project the mountain issues.

As a mountainous country, Nepal will have to draw the attention of the international community to make special and preferential provisions to address the adverse impacts of climate change in the mountains. The outcome of the regional conference on Kathmandu to Copenhagen, Kalapatthar declaration, experts meetings, 2012 international conference (Kathmandu Call for Action), recently organized climate change seminar in Rara and international conference on 'mountain people adapting to change' would be the strong bases to work with the mountainous countries to address the challenges faced by the climate vulnerable mountain dwellers. The participants of the GoN/ICIMOD international conference, organized in 2014 November, realized, inter alia, the 'need to generate a unified mountain voice through regional and global cooperation without losing sights of local needs'. During the conference, ICIMOD has also committed, inter alia, to take mountain agenda to regional and global forums, including support to national adaptation plan processes regionally and locally, put ideas into action through pilot testing, and take global and regional knowledge to the local level.

In Lima, Parties will negotiate and decide on several agenda items. Besides coordinating and leading the LDCs, Nepal should continue to participate in adaptation stream such as matters related to the lease developed countries (LDCs), national adaptation plan (NAP), Nairobi Work Programme, and loss and damage. It should equally participate in REDD plus, capacity building, technology development and transfer, and technology mechanism. Finance is an important agenda item which will focus on Adaptation Fund and LDC Fund. As LDCF could only be accessed by LDCs, Nepal should urge the developed countries to provide additional funding for LDCF to assist LDCs to implement LDC work programme, including the implementation of most urgent and immediate adaptation needs, as identified in the NAPA, and formulation and implementation of the NAP. In addition to implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol provisions, Nepal should actively follow-up discussion and negotiation under the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP) that focuses on 2015 agreement, and plan for enhancing pre-2020 mitigation ambition.

Last year in Warsaw, Parties requested SBSTA (Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice) to consider ecosystems, human settlements, water resources, and health issues to advance discussions under the Nairobi work program (NWP) on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change. If impact of climate change is realized at the UNFCCC negotiation process, mountain agenda might get a space, including under the NWP, to advance discussion, and agree on work program. However, it is a challenging task and Nepal should work hard and take a lead in collaboration with other mountainous countries for the beneficial outcome.

Nepal's NAPA considers adaptation as the development agenda. In the recent years, people have considered adaptation as the 'lifeline' of the poor climate vulnerable communities. This should be our 'mantra' and focus on securing more funding and technologies for 'adaptation actions in the field'.

Learning from the past on mountain issues helps to strategies for the future. It is an opportune moment for Nepal to revisit her efforts – what was done, what worked and what did not, and work closely with the mountainous countries, including regional and international organizations working on the mountains to enhance partnership and networking for the cause of mountain people.

Opportunities do not come frequently. Time has come to revitalise efforts from learning and develop a concrete pathway so that mountain issues get appropriate priority in the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. Nepal also needs to strategise securing funding for additional adaptation activities to help adapt to and/or build resilience of the poor and climate vulnerable communities.

 

 

Batu Uprety111.jpg

Batu Uprety

Former Joint-Secretary and Chief of Climate Change Management Division, Ministry of Environment (then), and former Team Leader, National Adaptation Plan (NAP) formulation process. E-mail: upretybk@gmail.com

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