Lawmakers for using traditional and indigenous knowledge to find solutions to climate change

August 19, 2023

Lawmakers in Kathmandu, meeting in preparation for the 2023 SDG Summit in New York, have underscored the vital role of traditional and indigenous knowledge in addressing the challenges posed by climate change.


At the "SDG Acceleration Visioning Workshop with Parliamentarians," jointly organized by the Sustainable Development and Good Governance Committee of the National Assembly, the National Planning Commission, United Nations Nepal, and UNDP, parliamentarians voiced their concerns and recommendations.


Suresh Ale Magar, a member of the National Assembly, stressed that indigenous communities, who bear the brunt of climate change, should play a central role in climate change initiatives. He emphasized the value of tapping into the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples to combat climate change.


Nepal officially recognizes 60 indigenous communities under the National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN) Act, 2002.

Urmila Aryal, Vice Chairperson of the National Assembly, highlighted the adverse consequences of modern settlement and housing practices, leading to increased disaster incidents. She emphasized the importance of reverting to traditional agricultural practices and using native seeds to mitigate the impacts of climate change.


Ganesh Prasad Timalsina, Chairperson of the National Assembly, expressed concerns about shifting development models and the loss of cultivable land due to land plotting in the Terai region and unplanned settlements in hilly areas, attributing these factors to the rise in disaster occurrences. MP Kamala Panta echoed these concerns, focusing on the promotion of sustainable agriculture as a means to address climate change effects.


Anil Pokhrel, Chief Executive of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, urged parliamentarians to address climate change as a disaster perspective issue and advocate for it in parliament. He linked the recent dengue outbreak in Nepal to climate change effects and presented alarming statistics of damages caused by floods, landslides, rains, and lightning during the monsoon season.


Hanna Fikry Ahmed Singer, Resident Coordinator of the United Nations Nepal, called for increased political commitment at all levels to accelerate SDG achievement. She urged political leaders to strengthen SDG accountability, set priorities for 2030, and enhance institutional capacity for implementation. She emphasized the importance of collaboration, coordination, and collective efforts among the government, stakeholders, civil society organizations, and non-governmental organizations to achieve the SDGs. Singer also highlighted the critical role of parliaments in overseeing government progress and providing policy support. 


The workshop provided a platform for parliamentarians to assess progress toward the SDGs and gather their input for future strategies to meet these goals by 2030. With the 2023 SDG Summit approaching on September 18-19, 2023, the urgency of securing high-level political commitment for SDG achievement was emphasized, as the UN General Secretary has called for a rescue plan for the SDGs.


The 2023 SDG Summit is expected to catalyze accelerated progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, guided by high-level political leadership, in the lead-up to 2030.