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COP28: Nepal raising six agendas including Save the Mountain (interview)


 |  Kathmandu

Nepal is raising the issues of Himalayan region in the upcoming United Nations "Conference of the Parities" on climate, known as COP28.

 The COP28 is being held in Dubai of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from November 30 to December 12.

Prime Minister of Nepal Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda will participate in the conference, and raise issues of climate finance, adaptation and mountain region with top priority.

The conference will begin on coming Thursday.

In 2010, developed countries had pledged that that they would invest around USD 100 billion in the developing countries like Nepal starting 2020. However, the amount pledged by them has not been doled out as of today.

The government has prepared six agenda items including mountainous region of Nepal, adaptation, minimization of climate- migration, gender inclusion, indigenous people and youth. 

Against this backdrop, Nepalkhabar talked to Dr Dharam Raj Uprety, who is a climate expert and also a member of the delegation, for his views. Excerpts:

What are the common agendas being raised in the COP28 this year?
We take stock of the climate change, review our efforts made towards reducing the carbon dioxide emission in line with the Paris Agreement and whether we can bring it down by 43 percent by 2030.

 In 2010, there had been an agreement to invest USD 100 billion in climate finance in developing countries by 2020. It learnt that USD 80 billion had been invested in 2020 and it reached 90 billion in 2021.
It is yet to be assessed and discussed whether the amount was invested in the quantified and specified regions, how climate finance will be utilized and steps towards meeting the set goal by 2030. Since 80% carbon is emitted by developed countries, they must compensate developing countries like Nepal.

The damage caused by the climate is the third agenda. The COP27 held in Egypt had presumed a climate fund. The upcoming summit will discuss where the fund will be kept, size and draft of the fund will be discussed this time.

What are the agendas Nepal is raising in the summit? What are the key issues?
Nepal will raise issues related to high hilly and mountainous regions. Climate adaptation, carbon emission, climate migration, gender inclusion and youth and indigenous nationalities hit by climate change are the six major issues Nepal will raise in the summit.

What is the issue of the mountainous region?
The mountainous and high-hilly regions are the hardest hit by the climate change. It has also affected our ecosystem, biodiversity, and ecotourism. As the snow is gradually melting, glacial lakes are likely to burst triggering risks for those inhabiting the lower regions.

Since mountains are the basis of Nepal's tourism, if the snow melts, it will have a serious impact on our economy. Hence, Save the Mountain campaign will be our major agenda. People living in the highlands are migrating to other areas due to climate change, resulting in a dearth of people to save the centuries-old monasteries and the other cultures associated with it.

What about the damages caused by climate change Nepal has been raising? Are the agendas of priority this time?
This issue has been raised since Glasgow COP28. The damages caused by climate change are ever-increasing. The COP27 held in Egypt, decided to establish a climate fund (climate finance) to compensate for the losses caused by climate change.

What is Nepal's framework on the issue of adaptation?
In order to determine the goal of global adaptation, Nepal has set some of its goals. A national adaptation plan has been prepared. Just a few days ago, the Prime Minister also unveiled the National Adaptation Plan. We have determined eight areas in it.

While the world is setting climate adaptation goals elsewhere, climate change impacts on water, forests, environment, energy, and agriculture. If we do not address the impact in these areas in time, it will affect the entire economy.

In order not to affect the economy, the government of Nepal has brought out an adaptation plan from 2021 to 2050. We estimate that the cost of implementing that plan would be $47 billion. It also helps to define the framework for achieving the goals of global adaptation in the United Nations Convention. In this year's COP-28, climate is being widely discussed in connection with health.

The issue of climate-related migration has also been prioritized, what kind of support does Nepal expect in this regard?
Since climate change has a major impact, we want to take up this issue strongly. As climate damage increases, investment is needed as damage increases. Moving from one residence to another requires a huge investment. How to raise that investment, who will compensate for that investment? Nepalis cannot invest that much by themselves.

For example, Sindhupalchok district is most prone to landslides. It has already been said that some settlements should be moved from there. But in order to migrate, the culture and way of life there must be transferred. It's not a very easy task.

The issue of climate migration is linked to climate finance as it requires large investments. This issue is also related to damages.

We have no role in carbon emissions. How does Nepal address the issue of mitigation and compensation for its impact?
Our issue is that carbon emissions should be reduced. How much work has been done according to the commitments made by rich countries? What kind of commitment do they have? Will this emission be reduced by 43 percent by 2030 or not? In this regard, it seems that there will be the most debate this year.

If we do not reduce carbon emissions by 43 percent by 2030, it will not be possible to keep the world from warming to 1.5 degrees by the end of this century. Not controlling the temperature means increasing the impact of climate change. If it increases, it will affect our mountains, it will affect our migration. From our women, to children, to the elderly, the entire ecosystem is affected, to the agricultural system, to the water system. This year's COP is focused on 'Unite, Act and Deliver' in terms of not only making commitments but also implementing them.


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