KATHMANDU, Nov 11: As the nineteenth UN climate talks, known as a Conference of the Parties (CoP) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC), began in Poland on Monday, Nepal faces a greater responsibility of securing climate finance not only for it but all the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
This is the first time that Nepal is participating in a CoP as the chair of the LDC group under the UNFCC. In December last year, Nepal had officially assumed the leadership of the LDC group for the year 2013-14.
“For Nepal, leading the LDC group in the UN climate talks is an opportunity,” said Dinesh Chandra Devkota, former Vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission (NPC). “At the same time, it is also a challenge. A challenge to effectively raise the issues of all 49 LDCs at a global forum while serving our own national interests.”
As representatives of nearly 200 countries engage in hectic negotiations to pursue a new agreement in the place of the now-expired Kyoto Protocol, during the CoP-19, Nepal faces a tough task of securing climate finance for implementation of its National Adaptation Plan of Action (NAPA).
The NAPA, approved by the government in 2010, is a US $ 350 million program, which, under several sectors and profiles, aims at empowering the local people to adapt to climate change.
“For the NAPA´s implementation, we have to have an easy access to climate finance," said Devkota. "Also, climate finance should be sufficient for us to implement the NAPA.”
Government authorities say the UN climate talks, which will last until November 22, could be the best forum for Nepal to secure climate finance for the NAPA.
“The NAPA is a product,” said Purushottam Ghimire, former chief of the Climate Change Management Division (CCMD) at the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MoEST). “We need to sell it at the CoP-19.”
However, Ghimire, like some other government officials, is least hopeful of Nepal securing climate finance for the NAPA´s implementation largely owing to the LDC leader´s weak participation in the CoP-19.
As the NAPA remains largely unimplemented due to budget crisis, Nepal has failed to send a top-level delegation team to the CoP-19, citing critical political condition in the country.
In addition to securing climate finance for the NAPA´s implementation, Nepal is responsible for raising common issues of the LDCs, too. While some LDCs, like Nepal, are mountain countries and face risks of climate-induced disasters, including Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), other countries, like Bangladesh, face threats from rising sea-level.
“Maintaining a balance while raising various issues of LDCs is a challenge,” said former CCMD chief Batu Krishna Upreti, before leaving for the CoP-19. “For Nepal, it would be good if we succeed in serving our national interests while raising the common agendas of the LDCs.”