Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world (ranked no. 4 by Maplecroft’s 2010 index) due to its unique geography and low human development indicators. More than any other country in the region, Nepal has developed policies, plans and strategies for tackling climate change, the most important being the Climate Change Policy, National – and Local – Adaptation Plans of Action, Climate Change Budget Codes and a Climate Resilient Planning Framework. Institutional mechanisms are also in place to manage climate change action, such as the Climate Change Council, Multi-stakeholder Climate Change Initiatives Coordination Committee, and District and Village Energy, Environment and Climate Change Coordination Committees.
Despite these numerous initiatives, there is concern that they may not sufficiently support Nepal’s response to climate change. Firstly, the relative importance of each of these initiatives varies depending on public investment priorities. Secondly, there is a risk that these initiatives are not evidence-based and demand-led. The Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE) is leading the national response to climate change, and supporting line ministries in translating national and local adaptation frameworks into sectoral actions. In addition, climate finance flowing into Nepal is being coordinated more effectively and used to catalyse greater public development expenditure on adaptation. Action on Climate Today (ACT) is working with the Government of Nepal to strengthen institutional structures and policies so that they can sustainably and adequately address the impacts of a changing climate.
ACT partners with Practical Action, a nongovernmental organisation with a long history of working closely with the Government. ACT’s team support the Government in developing the National Adaptation Plan for building long-term institutional capacity for mainstreaming climate change into development planning. To accomplish this, ACT is supporting the strengthening of information and management systems that ensure climate risks are routinely considered within the Government’s decision-making processes. ACT also helps the Government leverage greater value from climate finance (current and future), ensuring it aligns with government priorities and delivers sustainable change. Crucially, ACT is unique in that it is ‘demand led’ – it works with governments to deliver a sustainable impact by strengthening existing systems and building capacity to continue to drive policy processes beyond the life of the initiative. ACT’s support revolves around three focus areas.
National Adaptation Plan
This flagship initiative is supporting the Government to develop an investment ready National Adaptation Plan (NAP). Therefore, apart from providing technical assistance to make the process and output meaningful, ACT is helping streamline, coordinate and synergise the actions of those working to enhance climate change adaptation. This includes facilitating a participatory, stakeholder-led process, driven by
line ministries. It goes beyond traditional ‘consultation’ by using innovative approaches to incorporate the latest science as well as the views of those most vulnerable. The result will be a comprehensive understanding of climate risks that informs targeted adaptation actions reflecting local realities.
Decision support system for managing climate risk
To support government planning and budgeting, ACT is building a robust decision support system that incorporates climate change risks. This includes supporting vulnerability assessments within the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) during climate change impact surveys. ACT guides the survey design and delivery to ensure it yields high resolution data on climate change impacts and vulnerabilities. The initiative also works with CBS to ensure these data are analysed and interpreted in ways that support policy development and allow progress tracking of vulnerability reduction commitments, which are part of international frameworks such as the Sendai Framework for Action. ACT also engages with key local knowledge management institutions, including the Nepal Climate Change Knowledge Management Centre (NCCKMC).
Building institutional capability
ACT is building institutional capacity to manage both available international climate finance and domestic development budgets. This initially focuses on agriculture to identify the ‘adaptation gap’ between the costs associated with current and emerging priorities. ACT then supports departments in identifying sources of domestic and international finance to eliminate this gap.
ACT’s main partners are the ministries and agencies charged with coordinating and facilitating action on climate change, in particular the Ministry of Population and Environment, the Central Bureau of Statistics, and the Nepal Climate Change Knowledge Management Center. ACT also works with line ministries, particularly relevant to nine climate-sensitive themes, including: agriculture and food security; forest and biodiversity; water resources and energy; climate-induced disasters; public health and water, sanitation and hygiene; urban settlement and infrastructures; tourism, natural and cultural heritage; livelihood and governance; and gender and marginalised groups.
ACT also works closely with the Climate and Development Knowledge Network and the United Nations Development Programme, which share similar objectives of institutional strengthening for climate change. It also works with organisations such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which have important sectoral expertise to contribute to mainstreaming climate change into Nepal’s sectoral policies and programmes.
Gehendra Gurung, Acting Team Leader
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