Statement delivered by UNDP Deputy Country Director, Jorn Sorensen, on the issue of climate change

25 May 2009

Statement delivered by UNDP Deputy Country Director, Jorn Sorensen, on the issue of climate change
May 25, 2009


Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology, Mr. Umesh Mainali,
Respected Government Officials,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen


It is a privilege for me to be delivering a statement today on the issue of climate change. This workshop has been a much awaited event for both, the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Environment Science and Technology (MoEST) and UNDP.

Despite the delays in the preparation of NAPA in Nepal, with the new emerging priority, the Government of Nepal, Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology has extended its reach to address the climate change issue and bring forward all the stakeholders in this collective action. UNDP would like to extend our appreciation to MOEST for their initiative and would like to support the GoN in all possible ways to assist in the preparation of NAPA document in a consultative manner.

We are grateful that DFID and Government of Denmark have joined the NAPA project as cost sharing partners with UNDP, and made additional contribution of more than USD 1.08 million for the Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology (MOEST) to take leadership on harmonized donor approach to address climate change issues in Nepal.

The Human Development Report 2007 on Climate Change calls for Human solidarity:

The findings underscore that the people most at risk from climate change live in the countries that have contributed the least to greenhouse gas emissions and that will also be least able to cope with climate changes, making it an issue of inequality and insecurity. The poorest segments of society- 2,6 billion people living on less that US 2 a day, that is 40% of the world population will be affected first and hardest.

Avoiding the unprecedented threats posed by dangerous climate change will require an unparalleled collective exercise in international cooperation. No one country can win the battle against climate change alone, as such collective action is not an option but an imperative.

Such action comes in two forms;

Firstly, -Mitigation: taking strong actions to sharply reduce the emissions, promoting the rapid use of cleaner energy technologies, promoting and protecting carbon sinks.

Secondly, -Adaptation: understanding the potential and probable impacts of climate change and taking rapid actions to minimize these impacts and take advantage of possible new opportunities.

In the context of Nepal, there is still a lack of information and no vulnerability analysis has been done, we now hope to have it done through this project.

The clock is ticking for Climate Change preparedness: Most of natural disasters that Nepal is facing are related to climate change such as floods, landslides, drought, forest fire which needs immediate action for preparedness to mitigate the risk. Short term mitigation measures to reduce the impact are urgently required.

As a mitigation measure, there is an urgent need to convert the use of biomas based energy in the rural area to cleaner energy sources such as micro-hydro, bio-gas, Improved Cooking Stoves (ICS) and solar. The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) is the lead agency to promote cleaner energy sources in the rural areas ‘ with whom UNDP is proud to be a partner.

For adaptation measures, NAPA is the first step towards starting adaptation activities. NAPA will complete only in 2010. Before that there is a need to start community based adaptation projects.

Currently UNDP and FAO are jointly supporting a project on disaster risk reduction to agriculture sector. This project is helping to find ways to introduce new varieties of seeds and crops and improved technology for cultivation to cope with the impact of climate change. For example flood and drought.

Nepal will benefit much from the upcoming UN climate change conference taking place in Copenhagen as it expects to benefit from Reduced Emission from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) through carbon market as Nepal has been protecting its forests from deforestation and degradation and it serves as a carbon sink.

Nepal requires support in getting easy access to climate change adaptation funds as the mechanism of Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) currently is not benefitting Nepal to the extend we would hope for. (Big countries like China and India and other countries such as Brazil are getting more benefits..)

Priorities for climate change action even before NPAP include

A. Funding to do community based adaptation activities to develop resilience towards climatic hazards like flood, landslide, drought etc.

B. Nepal needs to prepare for climate change conference to happen in December 2009. For this, Nepal needs to focus on preparing a position paper about its vulnerability and adaptation needs and funding requirements.

C. Nepal needs to work together with other countries in the region to have a common voice on the above issues to be collectively presented into the climate change conference. On this front, Nepal is going to have a regional conference on climate change in Sept. 2009 where these issues will be discussed with the partners and a common position paper will be prepared. As a preparation to that Nepal is currently developing climate change scenarios.

D. There is a need to have coordination among the Ministry of Home Affairs, the focal point for disaster risk management and Ministry of Environment, Science and Technology ,the focal point for climate change to have a common approach for climate change adaptation and risk reduction, and finally

E. Need for broader platform for exchange of information and harmonisation of activities among donors and partners on climate change and risk reduction issues.

Energy, environment and climate change has always been a priority area of UNDP support in Nepal. Recently UNDP has supported the GoN to implement the National Capacity Self-Assessment (NCSA) project, and now has further extended its support to implement the NAPA project.

Once again, UNDP’s role in this NAPA project will be to provide the much needed support to the Government through an executing role in project implementation. UNDP will facilitate and assure that the consultative NAPA process is well achieved.

Ultimately and hopefully, Nepal will be in a position to not only submit a NAPA document at the end of the project’s duration, but also have the institutional capacities in place to propose a cross-sectoral Climate Change Programme for harmonized donor support which addresses critical information, policy and capacity gaps in potentially vulnerable sectors.

Finally, I would like to extend my best wishes to all the participants for a very interactive and fruitful discussion for the two day workshop.

Thank-you.