At a time when Nepal has been facing critical environmental problems, including air pollution, the signing of an MoU between Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and a Germany-based research institute holds a great significance.
Nepal’s air pollution has reached a critical level, with various particles entering into the atmosphere, threatening the health of people living in capital Kathmandu and the Himalayas. In that context, the MoU signed by NAST and Institute for Advanced Sustainable Studies (IASS) for mutual scientific cooperation will be important in identifying the particles and their levels of presence in the polluted environments.
Vice Chancellor of NAST Prof. Dr. Jibaraj Pokharel and Director of Programs of IASS Germany Prof. Dr. Mark Lawrence signed the MoU in a ceremony organized in Nepal Academy of Science and Technology. German Ambassador to Nepal Matthias Meyer was present on the occasion. This signing of MoU marks the opening of a new avenue of cooperation in the field of science and technology between Nepal and Germany.
Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate change and the rising atmospheric pollution is likely to worsen the situation. Although Nepal is not obliged to make any commitments for mitigation since Nepal produces very nominal amount of CO2, its own generation of CO2 is affecting the country.
The MoU will pave the way for scientists of Nepal and Germany to work together in the field of climate change adaptation. For joint activities in Nepal, IASS will provide personnel, resources, scientific expertise and technical assistance, access to instruments and atmospheric observatories, as per the detailed contracts with NAST. This research will produce scientific data to provide inputs to policy measures in developing response to climate change.
Addressing the signing ceremony, NAST Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Jibaraj Pokharel said this MoU was just a beginning and that NAST would be working with IASS to enhance people’s resilience to cope with challenges posed by climate change in Nepal.
German Ambassador Matthias Meyer said science is complex for laymen but its advancement contributes in making people’s lives easier. “Nepal falls among countries vulnerable to climate change. Therefore, innovation in science is the only way to save lives from this challenge,” he added.
Prof. Mark Lawrence shed lights on the activities of IASS and said that his institution would work to realize the objectives of the MoU with NAST.
The NAST is an autonomous apex body established in 1982 to promote science and technology in Nepal. It is entrusted with responsibilities of advancing of science and technology for national development, among others.
“We do provide much needed research support to study atmospheric pollution of Kathmandu valley and Nepal,” said professor Mark Lawrence of IASS.
Although Germany has been supporting Nepal in various sectors including in the area of development, agriculture, hydropower, technical education and restoration of cultural heritage sites, this is the first time the German-based scientific institution has come to join with Nepal’s apex science body like NAST.
IASS, based in the city of Potsdam Germany, is an interdisciplinary institute engaged in the promotion of science and research on global sustainability. It is currently undertaking two research programs in Kathmandu Valley, aimed at better understanding and addressing air pollution in Nepal.