At a time when Nepal is preparing program for post earthquake, South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics & Environment (SAWTEE) in coordination with Oxfam organized a national consultation workshop on Impact of the Earthquake on Food Security and Livelihood on Urban Poor in Nepal and Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture Adaptation Practices and Gender.
Addressing the program, Chief Guest Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission, recognized the growing importance of urban poverty and reiterated government’s commitment to address the issue. Dr. Khatiwada argued that focus should be towards changing people’s food habits and incentivizing urban farming to achieve better food security.
Chairing the opening session, Dr. Posh Raj Pandey, Chairman, SAWTEE identified inequality, said terrorism, natural disasters and climate change as the four most global challenges.
Dr. Pandey highlighted that the major earthquakes that struck Nepal threatened the livelihood of thousands of households in the affected districts, and argued that the government’s action plan in response to the disasters does not adequately focus on the urban poor.
Speaking on climate change, Dr. Pandey highlighted that effects of climate change are getting more pronounced and impact of such effects are likely to be felt more in hills and mountains of Nepal. He stressed that impact assessment of these areas is crucial to understand the impact of climate change in the region.
Presenting the findings of the study on impact of earthquake on food security, Neelu Thapa, Program Coordinator at SAWTEE, mentioned that the loss of income and agricultural land has made food security the most important challenge for the urban poor affected by the earthquake.
Thapa highlighted the need for various short-, medium-, and long term measures including cash-transfers, food for work and provision of financial services to assist the urban poor affected by the earthquake. Valuable inputs were provided by Gopi Khanal, Joint Secretary at Ministry of Local Development and Yuvraj Ghimire, Chief Editor, Annapurna Post as discussants of the session.
In the subsequent session, Shaleen Khanal, Research Officer at SAWTEE, presented the findings of another study on the impact of climate change on agriculture adaptation practices and gender. Based on the study conducted in Mustang, he highlighted the changes in agriculture productivity and evolving cropping patterns throughout the region in response to climate change.
Khanal further pointed the climate change adaptation practices in the district had negatively affected women who now faced increasing workload. Sabnam Shiwakoti, Program Director, Ministry of Agricultural Development; and Shuvechha Khadka, Senior Researcher at Institute for Social and Environmental Transition provided valuable feedback as the discussants of the session.
Closing the session, Dr. Hiramani Ghimire, Executive Director of SAWTEE, suggested that climate change related adaptation and mitigation efforts should be approached in a holistic manner, with coordinated efforts by the various governmental and non-governmental agencies involved.
Altogether more than 50 experts from the public, non-government and academic sector participated in the event.