I greatly appreciate the leadership of Government of Nepal in agreeing to host this regional dialogue. This event is organized by the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), Government of Nepal. This is the first time governments of the four countries India, Pakistan, Nepal and Afghanistan are meeting after the commitments made in Paris to share experiences with budgeting and financing approaches to support climate resilient economic growth.
I would like to welcome all of you on behalf of DFID to the ‘Regional Dialogue on Financing Climate Resilient Growth in South Asia’. It is supported by Action on Climate (ACT), a DFID Asia regional programme.
It’s appropriate it is that we are having the meeting in Nepal – where we are already seeing climate impact particularly in the Himalayas. Climate change happens first at the extremes of the world, and you cannot get more extreme than the Himalayas. Over 150,000 people were affected by a drought this year in the Karnali region of Nepal. These types of extreme event are expected to become more frequent. For example 9.5 million South Asians are currently affected by floods every year, and costs are set to rise from $20 billion to more than ten times ($200 billion) by 2030.
Nepal has good experience to share on climate finance integration. They have developed a climate change budget code and good work going on the National Adaptation Plan – that will look at how climate can be integrated into line ministries.
The UK is a proud signatory of the recently agreed historic climate deal in Paris and also the SDGs. UK is committed to the achievement of the SDGs and has reaffirmed its commitment to the poor to provide 0.7% national income to ODA for the achievement of SDGs and to Paris commitments. UK’s new Aid Strategy brings together the Government’s poverty reduction objectives with a commitment to tackle some of today’s biggest global challenges, including mass migration, disease and global climate change.
UK is playing a key role in implementing the climate finance commitment made to the UNFCCC to address the needs of developing countries. The UK has committed to £5.8 billion by 2020 for the International Climate Fund focusing on both mitigation and adaptation and $1.2 billion dollars to the Green Climate Fund. These funds are helping various developing countries in creating an enabling environment to access climate finance.
DFID has a long standing development partnership with Government’s in South Asia. Development gains can be reversed if climate problems are not tackled. A Recent report by the World Bank shows that climate change (CC) could drag more than 100 million into poverty by 2030. This figure can be reduced to fewer than 20 million, if rapid, inclusive, and climate-informed development is combined with targeted adaptation actions.
The severity and frequency of disasters is likely to double with CC and with climate-related shocks and stresses, causing annual losses of 3-5% GDP by 2050 if no action is taken.
These changes are going to have a range of knock on effects in the region including glacial melting in the Himalayas which currently feeds water to a billion people, a decrease in crop yields by up to 30% by 2050 and more storms and flooding that can increase incidence of diseases such as diarrhoea, malaria and dengue fever.
Considering these vulnerabilities, representatives from the four countries are meeting to have a dialogue on how South Asia will be able to cope with these climate issues. This is a great opportunity as it brings together senior representatives from various ministries of four countries, as well as local government departments. Key development partners also include expert representative from civil society, academia and international organisations, which can bring evidence based approaches.
For DFID Nepal also this is a high priority as our Minister has recently signed the Climate Smart Development for Nepal programme, worth £50 million starting in July 2016. It is in partnership with Government of Nepal. We look forward to the continued leadership of Government of Nepal to sustain the initiatives on Climate resilient growth.
Gail Marzetti is head of DFID Nepal, Department for International Development, Kathmandu. Statement delivered Opening session of regional dialogue on Financing Climate Resilient Growth in South Asia.