“We Need Climate Action Forces” Gopi Mainali

GOPI MAINANLI, joint secretary and head of the division of Infrastructure at National Planning Commission, led a study team to a program on Climate Change Budget Code. During the COP 21 in Paris, Nepal’s Climate Change Budget Code was also an issue o

Jan. 22, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol:09,No 13 January 22, 2016 (Magh 8,2072)

Following COP 21, how do you look atthe overall climate change issue in national planning?

As a Least Developed Country, Nepal has certain obligations. There is the issue of long term emission, which is well below 2 degrees. Similarly, means of implementation, transfers of fund and loss and damage. Except in loss and damage, the COP 21 has come out with an agreement very favorable to LDCs. We will access the funds on the basis of results. I would like to recommend a climate dedicated team in each ministry. There is the need ofa core team for climate change. After negotiations, I have realized this. I also recommended to the Minister of Environment and Population to make a core team of different ministries to deal with the future issue of climate change.

What does Nepal need to do now?

We need to increase the capacity in negotiations, mainstreaming the climate change issue in policy and planning and capacity for implementation at the local level. Capacity development is one of the most important parts of COP. We need to have climate action forces. This will enhance Nepal’s image and uplift the capacity.

How do you see the program conducted on budget coding?

I am very proud that Nepal was the first country to start the climate change budget code. We have implemented this since 2012. As there was no Legislature Parliament, we just used the climate change budget code for internal consumption. After 2013-2014, we implemented the climate change budget code formally.In the last four years, we have been implementing Climate Change Budget Code formally. This is one of the policy tools which sees how Nepal government's annual policy and program and budget support Nepal’s climate change program. We are reviewing it now with an aim to expand the areas and scope.

After your study, how do you see the budget allocation in the area of climate change?

Our study has shown that eleven different ministries have been running the mitigation and adaptation programs. The budgets used to get scattered in various ministries like Environment, Energy, Urban Development, and Agriculture Development in the past. Following the use of the tool, now we can trace the budget allocated for mitigation and adaptation by different ministries. We can now say how directly and indirectly these ministries have been addressing the issue.

How many projects are affected?

Currently, there are 468 projects under the government. In terms of budget allocation, 19 percent of total budget is allocated to the various mitigation and adaptation program. What we can say is that the budget is directly climate responsive. The remaining budget is indirectly responsive and a large portion of the budget is climate neutral. The present scenario in budget allocation is encouraging.

How will climate change budget code help?

Climate change budget code helps us to understand how much budget is required for adaptation and mitigation. Our program gives us the basis to see how the budget is spent and how is the result. Going through the budget allocation, what we can say is that out of 468 projects supported by Nepal’s government treasury, 136 projects are climate responsive.

What is the nature of your program?

Climate code budget change is not a project but a program and there is the need to run it continuously. In the course of preparing the budget, Nepal government analyzes it in six directions including strategic, priorities, gender and climate.

How did the program start?

The program started with a support from UNEP-UNDP’s Poverty Environmental Initiative (PEI) and I wasthe National Program Director of the program.Initially, we did a study on how to mainstream environment and poverty in projects. Later on we extended the scope to climate finance. We did CPIR of climate finance. As CPIR’s outcome the study recommended the need to operate the projects formulating the climate code. As a climate vulnerable country of the world, this initiative should be regarded as the base to implement further programs. Under the five members working group constituted by the government under leadership of joint secretary of NPC and division chief of infrastructure division, we recommended 11 criteria and the project which met those criteria should be given weightage. According to our recommendation, projects which received 60 points would be regarded as strongly climate responsive. And between 60-20 criteria is responsive and below 20 are climate neutral.

How do you see the success of climate change budget code?

It is a matter of pride for us that UN has accepted these criteria as best practices. This is very important for mobilization for south-south cooperation fund, adaptation of technology and access to Global Climate Fund. There is the need to institutionalize it. The climate code budget program is in the process of institutionalization. This is now part of on-going activities.

What are the benefits?

There are a lot of benefits for Nepal. For instance, this helps to see what implications are there in our budget and program in the climate issue.  We can also see how the issue of climate is addressed in 468 projects implemented by the government at project level and policy level. It will also help to develop mitigation, adaptation and capacity development in the future climate change program. This helps us to know how much budget the government needs to allocate for the climate related programs.

How is the money spent?

Nepal government does not have adequate data to show how much money it has allocated in the climate change and how much resources it has secured through different international organizations. After brining all the budget under climate change budget code, it gives us a clear picture about Nepal’s real scenario. It will track climate budget, needs and foreign aid.  This is a good program to address the future climate challenges. As there is a growing trend for green economy, this will work as a foundation for future development. It has multiple benefits and this should be taken as a mandatory practice for climate change.

As a chief of infrastructure division of National Planning Commission, how vulnerable do you think are Nepal’s development projects in terms of climate change?

When we prepare the annual development programs and individual project candidates, we also look at them through the lenses of climate change. We evaluate projects on the basis of implication of climate change. NPC also considers how much climate change will affect the project. If the projectsare likely to face the implications of climate, we look for alternatives. We use Climate Development Planning Framework (CDPF)before finalizing the individual projects. This modality is basic to make development projects climate resilient.

It was reported that Nepal’s efforts on Climate Change Budget Code were also highly appreciated by LDCs in Paris. How do you look at this?

A few countries like Bangladesh, Rwanda and Ghana have followed the model, like Nepal’s Climate Change Budget Code, in their country. They are implementing a dedicated budget code. Secretary of Ministry of Environment Dr. Krishna Chandra Paudel, who was leading the Nepalese team, even highlighted our program in the COP 21. We presented our programs in many formal and informal side events. This is taken as a good practice. Even at recently held South-South Cooperation Strategic meetings in Macau and Kenya and Washington, this project was highlighted as a good practice. I am requesting UN South-South cooperation to highlight this program in Development Expo.

 

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