Policy Brief on Water Resources and Climate Change: Inputs for Climate Change Negotiation

With its abundant water resources, fragile mountain ecosystem and weak economic strength Nepal presents a unique case of climate change effects which requires urgent actions to protect its people and resources. The paradox of such change is that it is partly man-made and partly natural yet the role of Nepal in the climate change phenomenon is negligible. Therefore, the Developed Countries Parties to the UNFCCC owe a special responsibility to the case of Nepal. UNFCCC provides a sound policy base and commitments which could, if translated in real practice, bring considerable improvements in the adaptation to, mitigation of, and building resilience to the impacts of climate change. Strategies like adaptation, mitigation, loss and damage, transfer of technology, capacity building, clean development mechanism all have a direct bearing on not only enhancing the capacity to bear and adapt to the onslaught of climate change but also to arrest or lessen the pace of such undesirable changes. The history of climate change negotiation is yet very far in achieving the objectives of UNFCCC. However, there is no other way other than continue the efforts. The issues are clear. What remains to be done is to translate the provisions and commitments expressed in the said convention into real actions both in policies and localisation.

The issues related to water resources that are of utmost importance to Nepal are adaptation, loss and damage, and means of implementation in particular the fi nance, transfer of technology and capacity building. Clean Development Mechanism would provide additional opportunities to benefi t from carbon trade. The issue of adaptation is the key to Nepal's efforts to live with climate change impacts. Being a country whose economy is primarily agricultural it is critical that adaptation measures are effectively implemented at the grassroot level to save the back-bone of the economy from the negative impacts of climate change. In the negotiation Nepal needs primarily to focus on the implementation of NAPA by localising climate adaptation actions. For this to happen Nepal needs fi nancial resources and therefore, it needs to take up issue like funding gap, co-fi nancing, additionality, direct access, lowering of the service charge etc. In addition to fi nance, strong link is needed between required functions and functionaries.

Climate change is causing annual loss and damage to the life and property of the people in the hilly and plain areas of Nepal. Loss and damage in varied forms like reduction in agriculture produce, landslide, flood and drought etc. is witnessed every year. For this, Warsaw International Mechanism for loss and damage has started its work.

Clean Development Mechanism can be used to get carbon credit against the development of hydro energy in the country. Nepal’s hydropower plants still remain left out to avail the CDM benefits due to the fact that the Nepal's electricity grid is predominantly fed by hydropower projects. Because of this, the grid emission factor in the baseline scenario becomes zero (for hydro) which does not provide the GHG emission reduction benefit to the proponents who want to install new hydropower projects. Therefore, Nepal needs to, first of all, make a study for establishing the ‘real’ baseline emission factor for the end-users and move forward by developing standardized baselines. The new hydropower projects will be displacing the fossil fuel usage by the end-users which are burnt in the absence of grid supply.

Himalayas are the prime sources of water for 400 million people of South Asia. This important and rare resource needs to be saved from the onslaughts of climate change. A special package needs to be devised to cater the needs of these rare resources in the light of the already happening phenomenon of climate change effects in the shape of retreats of glaciers, erratic precipitation and flash floods causing loss of property and life. This also calls for actions to mitigate the warming effect due to heavy emission of greenhouse gases and through actions for promoting sustainability and ensuring environmental protection.

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Mr. Surya Nath Upadhyay & Mr. Batu Krishna Uprety
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