Community Participation a Precursor to Sustainable Development and Effective Climate Actions

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Panelists at the discussion session
Photo: IASS / Joel Sheakoski

Fulfilling the requisites of successful climate action and sustainable development is a challenge. This is particularly true for high mountain and small island regions which have distinct and unique geographical characteristics. The key to dealing successfully with these challenges lies in ensuring community participation. It is an essential criterion for ensuring the sustainability of climate action. 

During a side event at the 23rd session of the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 23) in Bonn, Germany this week, representatives from the two ends of the geographical spectrum, the small islands and high mountains, gathered to discuss and share experiences for improving climate action and sustainable development pathways.


Bishwa Nath Oli, Secretary at the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), Government of Nepal
Photo: IASS / Joel Sheakoski

“There are unprecedented challenges to achieving three goals at a time: poverty reduction, climate resilience, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, said Bishwa Nath Oli, Nepal’s Secretary at the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE). Highlighting the crucial role and need of support from the international community, he added, “Fair and equitable global response to sustainable development and climate change is the need of the hour”.

Bhaskar Singh Karky, Programme Coordinator, Regional REDD+ Initiative, ICIMOD
Photo: IASS / Joel Sheakoski

Representing the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Bhaskar Singh Karky, Programme Coordinator of the Regional REDD+ Initiative, argued that ensuring co-benefits would be a key ingredient for motivating communities to make sustainable climate interventions. “Co-benefits must be generated so that climate actions become sustainable and continuous cooperation within and between communities is ensured,” he told the crowd.  

The panelists also talked about the need for creating a network of practitioners at different levels. Building upon common interests, including cultural commonalities, linguistics, or even faith, many agreed on the need for establishing common elements around which to organize. Stressing the existing lack of coordination between community members, Maheswar Rupakheti said, “The creation of a ‘community of communities’ is essential to ensure everyone becomes a part of the solution”. Rupakheti is associated with the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS Potsdam) as a Scientific Project Leader. 


Members of the audience
Photo: IASS / Joel Sheakoski

With the aim of bringing perspectives from Nepal and the Pacific Islands, the discussion took place at the Bonn Zone in COP23 venue on 7 November during the side event, Coordinated Action on Sustainable Development and Climate Change, jointly hosted by MoPE, IASSm and ICIMOD.

ICIMOD’s delegation is at the COP23 in Bonn, Germany organizing and attending various activities. For a complete list of events, please visit our dedicated webpage for COP23: www.icimod.org/cop23. For any questions, please write to Udayan Mishra: Udayan.Mishra@icimod.org

Udayan Mishra