Nepal moderates some of the most spectacular natural areas and biodiversity in the world. Nepal holds the highest peak of world Mt. Everest and it is quite amazing that within the span of 200 km from north to south, the climate of Nepal varies from arctic to tropical. The people of Nepal, mainly the rural people’s livelihood depends upon natural resources. At present context climate change related extreme events, such as excessive rainfall, longer drought periods, landslides and floods, are increasing in terms of both magnitude, as well as frequency. Such events have negative impact on natural resources which ultimately puts the extra burden on the social and economic challenges that the poorest are already facing.
To mitigate the impacts of climate change, rural communities are compelled to act immediately to secure their livelihoods. However, lack of technical support, lack of or ineffective flow of information, lack of resources and geographical condition are hindering them to secure their livelihood in a changing context.
Extensively recognized by The Development Fund Norway as a priority country for natural resource conservation, Nepal is also now a focus country for climate change adaptation and mitigation. In Nepal, DF is working on reducing the negative impacts of climate change and building the adaptive capacity of the vulnerable communities.
Despite of many challenges, communities take different initiatives to tackle the undesirable changes brought by climate change but only their knowledge and skills are insufficient to really bring the changes in ground. DF puts the communities at the center and strengthens their capacity to take the ownership of their resources and manage them locally.
Social groups also play a crucial role in shaping the extent to which the community people are vulnerable to climate change. It links individual with collectives which increases their capacity to respond to negative impacts that climate change brings .DF has been helping local communities to enhance their social networks and to form groups such as women group, micro-credit group, farmer group, biodiversity conservation development committee to be more resilient to climate change.
As not every adaptation activity has positive outcome it becomes necessary to consider the best practices and promote the activities that can complement the community people’s daily livelihood in long term. DF has been piloting how vulnerable farming communities in Nepal can adapt to climate change in sustainable way. Simultaneously, it has also been supporting adaptation activities at ground like drip irrigation and plastic pond which are helping to address the problem of unpredictable rains and droughts, community seed bank is creating accessibility, conservation and use of genetic resources , vegetable farming has helped people for increase in nutrition consumption as well as served as source of income , identifying and promoting the right variety for farming according to the local and geographical context. It also promotes alternative energy solutions that benefit poor and vulnerable communities while providing sustainable economic benefits at meaningful scale.
DF also supports NGO Network on Climate Change, a network of Nepalese NGOs to strengthen their knowledge in climate change so that they are able to integrate activities in their existing programs and projects and are also able to leverage funding for implementing climate change work in ground: which will contribute to decrease the climate change vulnerability. The network is acting as a forum for discussion on national climate change agendas and it brings climate concerns to the attention of national and international authorities in collaboration with other national, regional and international networks.
In addition, in home country Norway, DF advocates for Norway to take lead to support Climate Adaptation Initiatives and to contribute to funding mechanisms, such as Climate Adaptation Funds to developing countries and that these funds should really address the needs of most vulnerable groups.
Written by Reshna Udas, member of Spire´s international committee.