ICIMOD - Nepal Day highlights opportunities in Climate Change Adaptation

12 Mar 2011

Kathmandu

On Friday March 11, the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) and its Nepal partners organised a Nepal-Day knowledge sharing event on Enhancing Climate Resilience and Adaptive Capacity in Nepal. A large number of representatives from the government, diplomatic missions, donor community, and partner organisations took part in the event, including the Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission and ICIMOD Board member, Dr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel; the Ambassador of Switzerland, Mr. Thomas Gass; Member of the Constituent Assembly, Dr. Arzoo Deuba; Secretary, Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, Mr. Yubaraj Bhusal; and members of diplomatic and foreign missions in Kathmandu. In recent years, ICIMOD, with support from its development partners, especially the Governments of Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, has strengthened its knowledge and capacity in the field of climate change adaptation by jointly designing and launching projects and programmes to deal with issues such as disaster risk reduction, livelihoods diversification, biodiversity conservation, integrated watershed management, and avoidance of deforestation and forest degradation (REDD). Dr. Andreas Schild, Director General of ICIMOD, welcomed participants, stressing the need for a long term perspective when addressing climate change adaptation and resilience building as well as the need to bridge the persistent knowledge gap in the field of climate change research in the Himalayan region. The Chief Guest, the Honourable Dr. Jagadish Pokharel, expressed his happiness about the initiatives taken by ICIMOD in the field of climate change adaptation and resilience building over the past years and said that they could serve as a model for the work which needs to be done in Nepal in this field. 
The welcoming session was followed by four presentations by ICIMOD and partner organisations. Dr. Madhav Karki, Deputy Director General of ICIMOD, presented highlights of ICIMOD’s work in the field of climate change adaptation and resilience building and stressed the need for transboundary collaboration, livelihood diversification, setting up early warning systems, and developing a better interface between science-policy and practice. Mr. Keshab Thapa from Li-Bird presented important results of their partnership with ICIMOD on community-level adaptation and resilience building through improved watershed/agroforestry management and livelihood diversification. Dr. Narendra Khanal, Professor from Tribhuvan University, presented their collaboration with ICIMOD on the socioeconomic vulnerability related to glacier lake outburst flood risks in the Koshi Basin. In the final presentation, Mr. Resham Bahadur Dangi, Deputy Director General Chief, Community Forest Division of the Department of Forests, MFSC, Government of Nepal, discussed issues and challenges in enhancing climate resilience and adaptive capacity of forests in Nepal.  

A multi-stakeholder panel with representatives from the government, donor community, civil society, private sector, and ICIMOD jointly discussed and reflected appropriate approaches for integrating climate change adaptation into the overall national and local development process. Key messages which came out of this discussion were that adaptation is very much context specific and this needs to be taken into account when planning for adaptation and resilience building. Equally, climate change not only brings about vulnerability and risk but also new opportunities. At the community level, communities may benefit in the sense that they may be able to grow certain crops at higher altitudes or profit from more than one growth cycle during an agricultural year. At the national level, Nepal is receiving substantial amounts for climate change adaptation. Simon Lucas from DFID pointed out that Nepal could become one of the world’s leading countries on low carbon development. Conversely, Michael Kollmair from ICIMOD raised the concern that the national development agenda could be sidelined by the climate change agenda and stressed the necessity of integrating climate change policies into the overall development process. He further stressed the need on the one hand to localise the NAPA (National Adaptation Plan of Action) and to make it responsive to the local context, and on the other, to make it regional to foster transboundary collaboration. Mr. Vijay Singh, Assistant Country Director (UNDP), stressed the need for capacity building at both the national and local levels. Ms Moushumi Shrestha highlighted the importance of practical solutions at the community level and Dr. Sandip Shah, as a representative from the private sector, focused on the vulnerability of the hydropower sector in view of climate change. Finally, Dr. Narendra Khanal from Tribhuvan University again stressed the need for closing the persisting knowledge gaps.  

The Director General of ICIMOD wrapped up the workshop by stressing the need to seize the opportunities for the region emerging from climate change, and flagging the urgency of improving data and science, on which ICIMOD should work together with its partners in a collaborative way. Mr. Yubaraj Bhusal gave the concluding remarks, in which he appreciated the long lasting fruitful partnership between ICIMOD and the Government of Nepal and hoped for further expansion and continuation. 

For more information contact:
Ms Nira Gurung
Communications Officer, ICIMOD