Examining Climate Change Adaptation

Adaptation is the option left to the poor and climate vulnerable communities of Nepal.

June 2, 2016, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.9 No 22, June 3,2016 (Jesth 21)

Nepal's Finance Minister, in his budget speech on 28 May 2016, has emphasized strengthening national capacity to harness the international climate change finance in order to implement activities to reduce climate change impacts and adapt. As Nepal makes negligible contribution of greenhouse gas emissions, it is natural to prioritize programs to reduce impacts of climate change on people, livelihoods and resources and develop capacity of the climate vulnerable communities to adapt and build resilience to climate change impacts. This signals the urgency for building capacity at systemic, institutional and individual levels to address climate change effects in such a way that it contributes to improve our livelihoods.

Adaptation is the option left to the poor and climate vulnerable communities of Nepal. It should be considered as a 'development agenda' and a 'survival strategy' for poor people and their livelihoods.

The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) provides the least developed countries like Nepal opportunities to adapt to climate change impacts. Developed countries have made commitments to provide technical and financial support to the LDCs with focus on adaptation and capacity building. The Paris Agreement equally focuses on climate change adaptation. In view of the need for technical examination on adaptation, Parties to the UNFCCC in December 2015 at Paris decided to 'launch, in the period 2016-2020, a technical examination process on adaptation' (TEP-A) for enhanced pre-2020 actions (on adaptation). This process has a clear objective of identifying concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities, and increasing understanding to implement adaptation actions.

This TEP-A has functions of: (i) facilitating the sharing of good practices, experiences and lessons learned; (ii) promoting cooperative action on adaptation; (iii) identifying actions, including actions that could enhance economic diversification and have mitigation co-benefits; and (iv) identifying opportunities to strengthen enabling environments and enhance the provision of support for adaptation in the context of specific policies, practices and actions. The National Adaptation Plan (NAP) provides opportunities to reduce vulnerability, and integrate adaptation into new and existing policies, strategies, plans and programs.

The first technical examination meeting (TEM) of this process was held in Bonn on 24-25 May 2016 to discuss policies, actions and concrete opportunities in implementing adaptation actions and understand its benefits. This meeting was organized by the Adaptation Committee of the UNFCCC and supported by the Secretariat. This meeting focused on reducing vulnerability and mainstreaming climate change adaptation, including the process to formulate and implement NAPs. It discussed on gaps, needs, challenges, options and opportunities for the implementation of adaptation actions on the ground. The meeting also discussed on enhancing adaptation actions and supports, including opportunities and options for accelerating the implementation of adaptation actions, policy frameworks and institutional arrangement and enhancing multi-level governance, including stakeholder engagement.

This TEP-A also provided an opportunity to share experiences, good practices and learning on on-the-ground adaptation actions of Nepal and provided additional opportunity to interact with participants to inform on the accomplishments of LAPAs. The multi-level coordination mechanisms on climate change in Nepal (Village/Municipality level climate change coordination to Climate Change Council, chaired by the Prime Minister) was considered a unique approach in coordinating and integrating climate change adaptation options at different levels – local to national levels. Furthermore, Nepal has ensured multi-stakeholders coordination through the Multi-stakeholder Climate Change Initiatives Coordination Committee (MCCICC), established in 2010 and represented by the relevant government institutions, associations of the local bodies, NGOs and CBOs, academia and research institutions and development partners supporting implementation of climate change activities in Nepal. Nepal's experiences on coordination arrangement from local to highest political levels provide opportunities to realize country-driven approaches.

Adaptation is basically 'for the' poor and climate vulnerable 'people, by the people and to the people'. Nepal's LAPA promotes identification, prioritization, planning, implementation and monitoring and evaluation of adaptation actions by the people for themselves. In Nepal, NAPA provided a basis to identify most urgent and immediate adaptation actions/options and these options have been localized through LAPA framework. Nepal now understands 'what worked and what did not'. Now time has come to delegate necessary authorities to local level in order to ensure integration of adaptation options into new and existing initiatives. Experiences of NAPA preparation and LAPA implementation is expected to influence the NAP formulation process. The Ministry of Population and Environment, UNFCCC focal point, has initiated NAP formulation process with financial support from UK Aid through the Oxford Policy Management and technical support from ACT and Practical Action.

In a nutshell, TEP-A provided opportunities to further understand adaptation as context-specific priority. Multi-stakeholder engagement is a pre-requisite for the design and successful implementation of adaptation actions. Enhancing the role of media will contribute to share both good and bad practices and minimize malpractices on adaptation. Also enhancing dialogue and consultations between policy-makers and practitioners will contribute to realize the issues and maximize benefits. More emphasis should be given to share bad or 'failure' practices. If we continue to shy to share failures, we will repeat mistakes. It demands for more documentation and redoubling of our efforts to implement climate change adaptation actions on-the-ground. We need to adopt successful and effective adaptation options. For this, NAP will provide medium and long-term options.


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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