Glaciers Are Melting At Record Levels

Glaciers are melting at record levels. And we have been witnessing dramatic shifts in temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, which lead to hazards such as droughts, heat waves, floods, glacial lake outburst floods and landslides. These extreme events threaten food security.

Nov. 22, 2023, 3:48 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: VOL. 17, No. 08, December.01,2023 (Mangishr,15. 2080) Publisher and Editor: Keshab Prasad Poudel Online Register Number: DOI 584/074-75

It is my great pleasure to be joining you here today at the opening of this important National Climate Summit. Let me first congratulate the Government of Nepal for finalizing its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) to climate change and updating its Nationally Determined Contributions. I also would like to take this opportunity to appreciate the key role of the main stakeholders to the NAP process: government agencies at the central and local level under the leadership of Ministry of Forests and Environment (MOFE), UN agencies, development partners and other contributors.

This month’s Emissions and Adaptation Gap Reports from UNEP paint a stark picture of our collective climate reality. Current pledges under the Paris Agreement are putting the world on track for a 2.5-2.9C temperature rise, with a shortfall in the financing desperately needed to protect people and nature from the devastating impacts of global heating. Those who have contributed the least to the climate crisis are suffering at unspeakable scale.

Nepal, being an LDC and a mountainous country, faces grave and accelerating climate challenges. Glaciers are melting at record levels. And we have been witnessing dramatic shifts in temperatures and changing rainfall patterns, which lead to hazards such as droughts, heat waves, floods, glacial lake outburst floods and landslides. These extreme events threaten food security. They threaten water supply and infrastructure. They put lives and livelihoods at serious risk.

COP28 is just a week and a half away. In Dubai, parties to the UNFCCC will engage in the first Global Stock take under the Paris Agreement. This is not merely an opportunity to review progress towards climate goals. It is a unique chance for Nepal and other Member States to push for greater mitigation and adaptation ambition. It is also a chance to highlight the financing that developing countries need now to adapt to climate change. Nepal is well placed to actively participate in these discussions and present its actions under the NAP.

Allow me to return to the plan itself. Nepal’s NAP is a welcome boost for national and global climate action. It is a visionary policy document charting the path for the country to adapt to climate change now, as well as in the medium and long-term. With the support of UNEP and the Green Climate Fund, the Ministry of Forests and Environment has led the development of a gender-responsive and socially inclusive plan, which has focused on addressing vulnerabilities. The UN stands ready to support in implementing the NAP.

Allow me to leave you with three points:

a)Focus on implementation: Pivoting the implementation of the actions identified in the plan with an emphasis on protecting the communities most at risk from the effects of climate change

b)Integrate climate change in national development planning and budgeting system: development financing both by government and development partners must integrate climate change in planning and budgeting system.

c) Restructuring climate finance: In order to support integration of climate change into development planning and budgeting, climate financing modalities need to be restructured for easy and timely access.

As mentioned earlier about Global stocktaking at COP28, this is an opportunity for Nepal to discuss and raise ambitions in mitigation and adaptation, as well as on financial support needed for developing countries. Nepal, as a country vulnerable to climate change, must engage in Global Stocktaking discussions and present its actions under National Adaptation Plan and other instruments, as well as the support needed to achieve future goals.

In closing, I would like to share the recent words of our Secretary-General, who said, “The era of global warming has ended; the era of global boiling has arrived. The air is unbreathable.The heat is unbearable. And the level of fossil fuel profits and climate inaction is unacceptable. Leaders must lead.

No more hesitancy. No more excuses. No more waiting for others to move first. There is simply no more time for that.” Colleagues, friends, let us be a beacon of action.

Hanaa Singer-Hamdy is the UNRC in Nepal. Excerpts of her statement delivered at the National Climate Summit: NAP and NDC Implementation plan unveiling on Tuesday (November 21)

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