The President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, will deliver a statement on 3 December 2018 at the high-level Segment of the 24th session of the Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 14th session of the CoP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol, and 3rd part of the 1st session of the CoP serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement. These sessions will be held in Katowice, Poland from 2 to 14 December 2018. Nepal is attending CoPs at political level from 2008 onwards and the Head of the Government attended the CoP15 in 2009.
This CoP is important as Parties have to finalise and decide on the rules for implementation of the Paris Agreement. This is equally important as IPCC has released a special report on the impacts of global warming of 1.50C above pre-industrial levels and related global GHG emission pathways (https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2018/11/03/sharing-priorities-katowice/). In addition, there are several agenda items for negotiation and decisions. Of them, climate change adaptation is one of the most important agenda for Nepal. As almost non-emitter of greenhouse gases and least developed country, Nepal and her climate vulnerable communities have to, by no means, adapt to, and build resilience to the adverse impacts of climate change.
In Katowice, LDC negotiators of the adaptation stream will primarily focus and negotiate with developed and other developing country Parties on needs, concerns, financial resources, technologies, capacity building, and state of implementation of climate change adaptation (CCA) programmes in 47 LDCs. On adaptation, the Katowice Climate Change Conference (KCCC) will draw attention of the developed countries, funding agencies and international adaptation communities for the effective implementation of adaptation actions as reflected in LDC's National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) which was prepared as per the Marrakech Accord 2001. It will review progress on the formulation and implementation of the National Adaptation Plan (NAP), Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation, and support provided for and received for adaptation programmes. All LDCs are implementing one or more adaptation projects as included in their NAPAs.
A number of side-events will provide opportunity to share country initiatives, and learn good practices on adaptation. Under the Paris Agreement, Parties will provide guidance on adaptation communication and/or decide on minimum set of guidelines for communicating NAPs, and adaptation component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs). The NDC was submitted by countries while being a Party to the Paris Agreement. The NDCs of most of the LDCs include adaptation as a priority. Nepal submitted its NDC to the UNFCCC Secretariat in October 2016. Nepal's NDC includes NAP as no. 1 priority and mentions that 'Nepal has initiated the process for the formulation of NAP. Therefore, Nepal's adaptation needs for future, and in the context of post 2020, will be envisioned through the NAPs'.
Parties have established the LDC Expert Group (LEG) in 2001 to provide technical guidance and support to the LDCs on the process to formulate and implement the NAPs, preparation and implementation of NAPAs and the implementation of the LDC work programme. The LEG is also mandated to provide technical guidance and advice on accessing funding from the Green Climate Fund for the process to formulate and implement the NAPs.
The 34th meeting of LEG, held in Freetown, Sierra Leone in August 2018 discussed on, inter alia, progress in supporting the LDCs on NAPs and implementation of the LDC work programme, including NAPAs. The LEG has reported that 11 countries (Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chile, Colombia, Kenya, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, State of Palestine, Sudan and Togo) have submitted their NAPs by 21 September 2018. Fiji, the CoP 23 Presidency has submitted its NAP framework. Nepal became the vice-chair of LEG for 2013 and chair for 2014 and 2015, and in 2018 for 33rd meeting of LEG and supported LDCs in CCA programmes.
By September 2018, the Green Climate Fund has approved NAP proposals of 9 LDCs and LDC Fund, operated by the Global Environment Facility (GEF), has provided funding for NAP formulation to additional 9 LDCs. The NAPA addresses most urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the LDCs and NAP is formulated to meet medium and long-term adaptation needs of the LDCs and developing countries.
Nepal offered its leadership on adaptation by being the chair of the LDC Coordination Group in 2013 and 2014 and Adaptation Fund Board in 2016. Currently, Ethiopia is the chair of the LDC Group till 2018 and Bhutan will likely be the chair for 2019 and 2020. Based on the triennial review of the LDC category in 2018, the Committee for Development Policy recommended Bhutan for graduation from the LDC category. It is most likely that LDC coordination for 2019 and 2020 will be led by the 'developing country'.
Nepal is implementing NAPA-prioritised adaptation actions, as pilot programmes, in number of districts and municipalities and has generated knowledge and learning on CCA. From 2010 to 2016, Nepal was invited in a number of side-events during CoP sessions to share experiences and good practices on adaptation initiatives and her approaches to access and secure climate finance. It also organised side-events regularly.
On 14 November 2016 in Marrakech, the CoP22 President convened a high-level meeting on 'progress in advancing NAPs'. This event was also addressed by the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Ministers for Environment of Benin and Madagascar. In this session, the Executive Director of Green Climate Fund (GCF) announced the approval of its first grants in support the NAP formulation process. Nepal was the first country to receive a grant of USD 2.95 million (out of USD 3m cap), and Liberia received USD 2.2 million (https://www.spotlightnepal.com/2016/12/03/nepal-at-marrakech-action-cop/). However, our process for NAP preparation was 'suspended' for nearly one and half year after 6 months of accessing fund. It is a good example of 'inefficiency or unwillingness' in mobilising the 'accessed and secured' resources in the administrative leadership from late 2016 to October 2018. It is hoped that NAP process will expedite soon. Greater effort is required at country level to understand and learn from 'what Nepal did', 'what we need further' from global initiatives, 'what are our priorities' for Katowice conference, and 'how we can influence or benefit' from climate change negotiation processes'.
The climate change focal point of Nepal may have organised 'indoor' consultations for Katowice participation. As usual, it might have prioritised to ask for further support in formulating and implementing the NAP, and also ask for an easy and simplified process for accessing climate finance 'without mobilising the resources accessed two years back'. These priorities might be 'counter-productive'.
The Copenhagen climate change conference in 2009 might be useful to recall here. Nepal's status paper, prepared for the first time, was intensively discussed in the Climate Change Council, chaired by Prime Minister with clear position on temperature rise of 1.50C above pre-industrial levels. One page long interview of the former Prime Minister appeared in the national English newspaper during the high-level segment of the CoP15 which stressed that Nepal can 'go for 20C'. It demands for wider consultation and consensus at the political level as well, and understanding the ground reality and sensitivity during the participation at Head of the State level.
As the President will attend this CoP, a country position for CoP24 would provide a basis to reflect clear national priorities in her statement. This should be a 'point of return' to expedite climate change activities at the national level, and utilise 'country capacity' as a broader message to adaptation communities.