‘Review of Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Policies in Nepal’

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A Synthesis report on

‘Review of Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Policies in Nepal’

Submitted to

Multi-Stakeholder Forest Programme

Bhanimandal Chowk, Lalitpur

Submitted by

Youth Network for Social and Environmental Development (YONSED)

Nagarjun Galli, Anamnagar, Kathmandu

P.O. Box 3080

Kathmandu, Nepal

Tel: +977 1 4245272

E-mail: info@yonsed.org.np, yonsed@yahoo.com

September 10, 2012


Climate change is a serious threat in Nepal, where impacts of climate change like flooding and landslides are frequently common. Climate change adaptation and reducing social and environmental vulnerability are the recent up- and -coming issues that need to addressed through national policy. The study aim at reviewing climate change adaptation policy documents and that reflects issues and gaps. The study incorporated issues and gap both from the desk review of climate change literatrues and from discussion among local stakeholders holders from the field.

The reviews part of the study listed few good initiatives of climate change in Nepal. These initiatives are preparation of Climate Chage Policy, NAPA, LAPA, implementation of pilot project on REDD and REDD Plus, PPCR. Moreover, It has conducted numerous Conferences and Meetings on CC and have developed better coordination and institutional strengtherning at national and international level.Though few policy guiding documents like CC policy and NAPA were prepared, but their positive impacts were not yet seen at local level. Discussion and interaction held at field visit revealed that there are institutional and technical weakness and gap in fund allocationin on CC and mainstreaming climate change issues at local level.

This study reviews CC adaptation Policies that are on going and identified institutional and technical weakness, and knowledge and experience gaps in implementing stakeholders at local level, which might have wider implication in future. The study found two major lacking after reviewing most of the CC policy; lack of adequate coordination at implementation level and among sectoral ministries and disproportionately low attention at the grassroots level.
Collectively, the problem is not at the non existence of policies but lack of institutional capacity to implement these policies. The study facilitates the concerned body need to integrate climate change adaptation in current national policies for effective implementation.


‘Review of Climate Change Adaptation Plan and Policies in Nepal’ 1

Contents 3

1. The Climate Change: A Global Issue 4

2. International Response to Climate Change and Adaptation 5

3. Climate Change Impacts in Nepal 9

4. Climate Change Initiatives in Nepal 11

4.1 Major Achievement at National Level 12

4.2 Conferences and Meetings 14

4.3 Coordination and Institutional Strengthening 15

4.4 Other Initiatives on Environmental Plan, Policies and Strategies 16

5. Broad-based Climate Adaptation Actions 17

6. Climate Adaptation Options under Implementations 20

7. Reflection on Issues and Gaps at Climate Change Policy level 22


1. The Climate Change: A Global Issue

Climate change is increasingly becoming the most influential environmental pressure to human sustainability. A discussion started by a small group of people in 1960s in relation to increasing CO2 emission to the atmosphere has now drawn global attention and the peoples are forced to take serious actions in curbing emission of climate change causing agents, mitigate its impacts, prepare to cope with possible disasters, and adapt to the changes which are unavoidable. The effect of climate change is expected to exacerbate through rise in temperature, water scarcities, weather variability and extreme events. Climate change is a natural process but the all these changes are side effects of human activities, particularly through the increase of carbon dioxide and other gases and aerosols put into the atmosphere. Many scientific studies have shown that it is impossible to stop impacts of climate change, most importantly various known-unknown effects of Greenhouse Gases (GHGs), which are already emitted to the atmosphere and have life of many decades. These facts provide evidence that climate change is a now seen as concern of every human being, which may need many decades and even centuries to stabilize or to return in harmless state (ICIMOD, 2009).

We chose global warming, sometimes known as the “greenhouse effect” or as “global climate change”, it is widely recognized as one of the most important issues on the current international environmental agenda. IPCC (2007) concluded that the evidence for warming of the global climate is ‘unequivocal’ based on observed climate data across the world. Current projections estimate that the increase in global temperature by the end of this century will range from 1.8 - 4.00C, predominantly depending on the level of future greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change affects the entire globe. It is evidence that the average temperatures are increasing, and extreme weather events are frequent, and frequency of drought, flooding and storm events and other climate induced disaster are projected to intensify (UNFCC 2007). These consequences of climate change are evolving rapidly. Recent studies suggest that the impacts of climate change may be even more severe and more rapid than those reported by the IPCC in 2007 (Practical Action, 2008). It is believed that most global warming is attributable to emissions of green house gas that result from human activities, in particular land use changes such as deforestation particularly from developing countries, and the burning of fossil fuels specifically from developed countries. As a result of global warming, frequency and intensity of extreme events, such as tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons), floods, droughts and heavy precipitation events are occurring and rise even with relatively small average temperature increases (UNFCCC, 2007).

2. International Response to Climate Change and Adaptation

Climate change bring extreme hardship to the most vulnerable— especially those living in the least developed countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS)— who did not profit from the fossil fuel driven larger economies (UNITAR, 2010). In developing countries people are experiencing increased poverty, decreased social protection, and the harsh effects of climate. The only way to address these challenges is to give emphasis in a more equitable and equal sharing of the planet’s resources. Social and environmental justice is a necessary condition for securing the path to sustainability. High emitting countries must continue to commit to deep and binding cuts on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Developed countries have a major historical responsibility and should show leadership in taking action in reducing GHGs emissions and assisting the climate vulnerable (UNITAR, 2010). And this concept of justice is embodied in the UNFCCC, and its article 3.1 establishes that countries should act ‘on the basis of equity and in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.’ However, Stern report in 2009 suggests that future of climate will largely be shaped by the developing countries and they are also responsible for GHGs emissions.

In 1992, as a result of increasing scientific evidence of human interference with the climate system, coupled with growing public concern over global environmental issues, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was adopted at New York in May and opened for signature during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED), popularly known as the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro from June 3 to 14, 1992 as the basis for a global response to the climate change problem.1 With 194 Parties, the Convention enjoys near-universal membership with the ultimate objective of stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that will prevent dangerous human interference with the climate system. Since the Convention’s entry into force, Parties have met annually in the Conference of the Parties (COP) to monitor its implementation and continue discussions on how best to tackle climate change (UNITAR, 2010).

When governments adopted the Convention, they knew that its commitments would not be sufficient to tackle the climate change problem (UNITAR, 2010). The Convention is complemented by the Kyoto Protocol, which was adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997 and entered into force on 16 February 20052under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The major feature of the Kyoto Protocol is that it sets legally binding targets for industrialized countries or Annex II Parties to the Protocol.

In 2001, COP 6 resumed in Bonn in late July and reached an outline agreement-Bonn Agreements on an emissions trading system, on a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), on rules for accounting for emissions reductions from carbon “sinks” and on a compliance regime. It also outlined a package of financial and technological supports to help developing countries contribute to global action on climate change and address its adverse effects.
In late 2001, COP 7 adopted Marrakesh Accord which consisted of a package of decisions on many of the details of the flexible mechanisms, reporting and methodologies, land use, land-use change and forestry (LULUCF), and compliance with the Kyoto Protocol, to be adopted by Parties at the first COP/MOP. The Accord also addressed support for developing countries, including capacity building, technology transfer, responding to the adverse effects of climate change, and the establishment of the Least Developed Countries (LDC) Fund. In 2005, the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol established an Ad Hoc Working Group on KP to propose on further commitment period (in particular the second commitment period).

In 2007, COP 13 and COP/MOP 3 took place in December 2007, in Bali, Indonesia. The focus of the Bali Conference was on long-term issues, and negotiators spent much of their time seeking agreement on a two-year process, or “Bali Roadmap,” to conclude negotiations by COP 15 in December 2009 in Copenhagen, Denmark. This roadmap includes a “two track-approach”, under the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol. The roadmap was launched to deal with emission reduction targets and means of implementation. The Bali Action Plan identifies four key elements: mitigation, adaptation, finance and technology. The Plan also contains a non-exhaustive list of issues to be considered under each of these areas and calls for articulating a “shared vision for long-term cooperative action” (UNITAR, 2010).

In 2009, COP 15 and the COP/MOP 5 were held in Copenhagen, Denmark, from 7-19 December. New evidence suggests that climate change is occurring at a rate even greater than that which was predicted by the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007. It was reported that global emissions must peak and then decline rapidly within the next five to ten years if global warming is to be limited to a maximum of 2°C above pre-industrial levels. The COP16 in Cancun, Mexico also made package of decisions on climate adaptation, finance and technologies which resulted to the establishment of the Adaptation Committee, Green Climate Fund, and Technology Executive Committee to advance negotiations and implementation about the pillars of the Bali Action Plan.
The COP17 was organized in Durban in 2011. In this conference, after two weeks of negotiations, negotiators agreed to be part of a legally binding treaty to address global warming. The terms of the future treaty are to be defined by 2015 and become effective in 2020. The agreement, referred to as the "Durban platform" and Ad Hoc Working Group on Durban Platform for Enhance Action (ADP) was established. It is expected that outcome of the Durban Platform will include all major economies to address climate change and each Party to the Convention will participate, based on the principles of the Convention such as CBDR and respective capabilities, in reducing GHGs emissions. The COP/MOP or CMP 7 also agreed on the continuation of the Kyoto protocol. The Conference led to progress regarding the creation of a Green Climate Fund for which a management framework was adopted. The fund is to generate and mobilize US$100bn per year to help climate vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change.

The GEF was established by the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 1991 to fund projects in developing countries that provide global environmental benefits3. The Parties to the Convention decided the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to function as the operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention on an ongoing basis, subject to review every four years. The operating entity of the financial mechanism is accountable to the COP, which decides on its climate change policies, programme priorities, and eligibility criteria related to this Convention, based on advice from the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) (UNITAR, 2010).

The Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) provides important scientific information to the climate change process (UNITAR, 2010). It was established before the adoption of the Convention, in 1988, by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide an authoritative source of up-to-date interdisciplinary knowledge on climate change.4 It does not carry out its own research but comprehensively assesses the scientific, technical and socio-economic information on climate change that is available around the world in peer-reviewed literature, journals, books and other sources.
The IPCC published its First Assessment Report in 1990, which concludes the increasing accumulation of human-made greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, would "enhance the greenhouse effect, resulting on average in an additional warming of the Earth's surface" unless measures are adopted to limit the emissions of these gases. The IPCC published its second and third assessment reportsin 1995 and 2001 respectively. Fourth Assessment Report was released in 2007 calling anthropogenic climate change "unequivocal" and stating that "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations (IPCC, 2007) ".

3. Climate Change Impacts in Nepal

Climate change is the real threat across the world mainly in developing countries, and is an on-going and emerging challenge. There is a growing consensus that human activities are contributing to unprecedented warming of the earth’s atmosphere. However, the cause of climate change and its consequences are still debated among scientific community and yet to be a complex phenomenon to understand well. The nature and intensity of climate change impacts in different sectors like agriculture, forestry, and human health might differ throughout the world. In most of the developing countries the issues of climate change are overshadowed by immediate development priorities (Halsnae et. al, 2007). This may be due to poverty and as the government programmes focus on basic needs and sustaining livelihood.

Though, Nepal has negligible global share (0.025 %) in GHGs emission (MoPE, 2004), it is highly vulnerable to climate change due to fragile landscape, poverty and diverse climate. Nepal is ranked as 4th most vulnerable country in the world by the Climate Change Risk Atlas 2010 and top ten countries most likely to be impacted by global climate change (WFP, 2009). More than 4,000 people died in Nepal over the last ten years in climate induced disasters, which caused economic losses of USD 5.34 billion. Every year more than 1 million people are directly impacted by climate-induced disasters such as drought, landslides and floods in the mid- and far-west Nepal. Climate change might induce similar events with increased frequency in the future (Uprety, 2011). Hence, the above evidences justified that Nepal is a climate vulnerable country and has to develop adaptative capacity.
According to IPCC (2001), there has been unprecedented warming trend during 20th Century, the current average global surface temperature of 15oC is nearly 0.6oC higher than it was 100 years ago, and most of these increase is due to human activities. IPCC estimated that the global temperature will most likely to increase by up to 3.5°C by 2100 (IPCC, 2007). And, over the last twenty‐five years, the temperature in Nepal has also been increasing at the rate of 0.06oC per year (GoN, 2008 b), and is projected that the temperature will be increased by another 1.2 o C by 2030, 1.7 o C by 2050, and 3.OC by 2100 (ADB, 2009).

In this perspective, this year, the rise of temperature is extreme in most of the region of Nepal over the last seven to ten years. According to Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, almost all 20 meteorological stations across the country recorded highest temperatures (The Kathmandu Post, June 14, 2012), while some of the places such as Kathmandu (34.2oC),and districts like Chitwan, Dhangadi, Mahendranagar, Kapilbastu (above 40OC), which exceed the recent records(The Kathmandu Post, June 08, 2012). Like temperature rise, monsoon in the east was delayed by a week this year (The Kathmandu Post, 2012).

This changing variability in weather pattern accelerates rapid glacier melting in the Himalayas and increase the risk of flash flood, one of the recent experiences are Koshi flood (in 2008) and Seti flood (in July 2012). This shows that the cases of landslides, floods and unexpected droughts are increasing every year in Nepal, and projected to rise in future too. This year, the impacts of climate change are seen at different sector as reported from news such as climate change threatens Nepal snow leopard (AFP, 2012), maize plantation dried in most of the region of Nepal, delayed in rice seeding and plantation (The Kathmandu Post, 2012).

4. Climate Change Initiatives in Nepal

The Government of Nepal has approved National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) in 2010, Climate Change Policy in 2011, and National Framework on Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA) in 2011 as major guiding policy instruments to mainstreaming climate change activities in general, and climate change adaptation in particular. Other activities are ‘Strengthening Capacity for Managing Climate Change and the Environment’, and are implementing ‘Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience’ (PPCR). The Ministry is preparing the Second National Communication (SNC) report and Technology Action Plan under its Technology Needs Assessment (TNA) Project for submitting to UNFCCC. Similarly, in between 2007 and 2009, Nepal has prepared action plan related to capacity building under the National Capacity Needs Self-Assessment Project in particular the capacity enhancement for 3 Rio Conventions (UNFCCC, UN Convention to Combat Desertification and Convention on Biological Diversity). The Ministry is now engaged in implementing NAPA prioritized projects with support from DFID and EU, and LDC Fund. Similarly, Climate and Development Knowledge Network (CDKN) has supported Nepal to implement knowledge generation and communication activities, climate negotiations and economic impact assessment of climate change in key sectors. These programmes, projects and activities support to implement NAPA, LAPA and Climate Change Policy in broader sense.

4.1 Major Achievement at National Level

Nepal and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), 1992

Nepal’s engagement with the climate change is reflected, in brief, as follows:

  • Nepal showed its commitment to climate change by signing the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Rio de Janeiro on 12 June 1992, ratified on 2 May 1994 and entered into force on 31 July 1994.

  • As a Party to the UNFCC, Nepal has to prepare and periodically update greenhouse gas emission and submit National Communications to UNFCCC Secretariat to share its climate change related activities with the Parties to the Convention. The Initial National Communciation was prepared and shared with the Parties in 2004.

  • The GoN ratified the Kyoto protocol in 2005 and is promoting activities to benefit from Clean Development Mechanism (CDM).

  • Since 2007, Nepal is actively participating in climate negotiation under the UNFCCC process and as a result of Nepal’s initiatives on climate change, Nepal is nominated as the Chair of the LDC Coordination Group for 2013 and 2014 under the UNFCCC process which will provide an opportunity to lead 48 LDCs, and enhance climate change activities in the country.

Three Years Plan

The policies as reflected in the periodical plans also open avenues to implement climate adaptation in particular and climate change activities in general. The policy focus of the Interim Plan (2010/11 – 2012/13) is as follows:

  • The interim plan was prepared as guideline for development during interim period in Nepal. This plan identifies the potentiality of forestry sector to benefit from carbon trading and stresses the need of conservation of natural resources for livelihood.

  • More recently, GoN’s new 3 Year Plan (2010/11-2012/13) provides a path to promote green development and climate proof development, mitigate the adverse impacts of climate change, and promote adaptation.

Climate Change Policy, 2011

  • The GoN issued the Climate Change Policy in January 2011. The policy focuses on climate adaptation, low carbon development path, research and development, people’s participation and empowerment, mobilizing financial resources and climate-friendly natural resource management. The Policy also opens avenues for the establishment of the Climate Change Centre as a technical arm, and climate fund as well. The policy emphasizes to channel more than 80 percent of the total fund of climate change related programmes, and projects activities to field level activities. .

  • The CC Policy also encourages development sectors to incorporate climate change concerns in policies and other instruments of the relevant sectors. The policy equally emphasizes to develop and utilize clean and renewable energies and knowledge generation to address impacts o climate change through adaptation and impacts mitigation.

National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), 2010

  • Nepal prepared its National Adaptation Programme of Action NAPA according to the decision 29/CP7.
  • The NAPA addresses the most urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs), and is a programme that should be prepared by the LDCs to be eligible for support from the LDC Fund.

  • The Nepal NAPA explored ample opportunities to mainstream climate change into national development agenda and maximize the opportunities posed by climate change.

REDD and REDD Plus

  • Discussion on Reducing Emission from Deforestation in Developing Countries was started in 2005 and Reducing Emission from Deforestation and Forest Degradation was started in CoP 13 of the UNFCCC held in Bali, Indonesia in December 2007. After that, MoFSC established REDD Forestry and Climate Change Cell and initiated programs to be ready for REDD.

  • The MoFSC is implementing the REDD project with support from 'Forest Carbon Partnership Facility’ of the World Bank, to build the capacity of GoN to benefit from REDD.

  • Nepal could contribute to global climate change mitigation through REDD plus. Some REDD plus piloting projects are under implementation in different forest ecosystems, and attention has been given to test and develop methodologies as well.

Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR)

  • The Strategic Programme for Climate Resilience has allocated funding for the implementation of the Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience (PPCR). The MoEST is preparing projects under this PPCR.

  • The funding for PPCR activities is both grant and concessional resources. The fund will be moblised to mainstrem the management of climate risks in development, promote climate resilient development in different sectors, establish hydro-met stations to support for early warning, and crop insurance, and also reduce risks of climate change on biodiversity (flagship species).

4.2 Conferences and Meetings

Nepal organised South Asian Regional Climate Change Conference (from Kathmandu to Copenhagen), a Cabinet Meeting at Kalapathar at the base camp of the Mt. Everest on the eve of COP15 (15th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC) and summiteers summit to save the Himalayas in Copenhagen in 2009. In 2010, Nepal organized 18th meeting of the LDC Expert Group (LEG) in collaboration with the UNFCCC Secretariat, and an International Expert Consultation Meeting on Climate Change in collaboration with ICIMOD in Kathmandu. In order to inform mountain countries about the Mountain Initiatives, Nepal organized two side-events in Bonn, Germany and one in Cancun, Mexico in 2010. In 2011, Nepal organised interantional and regional workshops to benefit from the Kyoto Protocol.For example, Nepal’s biogas projects received certified emisssion reductions (CERs) from the CDM-Executive Board (EB) just before and after the workshopalthough Nepal registered CDM biogas projects in 2005 in the CDM-EB.The April 2012 International Conference of Mountain Countries on Climate Change agreed upon the Kathmandu Call for Action which opens avenues to promote climate adaptation in the global mountains by developing action plan and programme of work.

4.3 Coordination and Institutional Strengthening

A Climate Change Council (CCC) was constituted in 2009 under the chairmanship of the Rt. Hon'ble Prime Minister for policy coordination and guidance. A high-level coordination committee has also been constituted under the chairmanship of Hon'ble Minister for Environment to ensure better coordination on PPCR and other climate change activities. Similarly, a Multi-stakeholder Climate Change Initiatives Coordination Committee (MCCICC) was formed in 2010to promote functional level coordination amongst the stakeholders and streamline climate change activities. The Government of Nepal in 2010 established the Climate Change Management Division in the Ministry of Environment (MoE) with three sections - Climate Change Section, Climate Change Council Secretariat Section, and CDM Section. These initiatives will promote coordination at different levels, and promote implementation of climate change activities through institutional efforts as well.

4.4 Other Initiatives on Environmental Plan, Policies and Strategies

  • The National Conservation Strategy (NCS) 1998: NCS is one of the most important instruments to develop an appropriate strategy for environment and resources conservation in Nepal.

  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 1992: Nepal’s Biodiversity Strategy was prepared in 2002 and points out climate-related risks, such as flooding, landslides and sedimentation, as threats to biodiversity.

  • Establishment of the Advisory Body: After the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio, the then HMG/N established the Environmental Protection Council (EPC) under the chairmanship of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister in 1993 to coordinate environmental and resource conservation programs. Later on Environment Protection Council was reconstituted in 1997 based on the provisions of the Environment Protection Act, 1996. However, this Council is not effective to the desired extent.

  • Environment Protection Act, 1996 and its Rules 1997: The Environment Protection Act was enacted in 1996 and entered into force in 1997. In order to operationalize the legislation, the Environment Protection Rules came into force in 1997. Based on the legal provisions, environmental impact assessment has been institutionalized and some pollution control activities have also been initiated.
  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) 1994: Nepal as a Party to the UNCCD has prepared the National Action Programme in 2004 to implement this Convention and has regularly prepared the national reports and shared with the Parties.

  • World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) 2002: Nepal’s National Assessment Report for the WSSD identified the linkage between climatic circumstances and land degradation, erosion and landslides. It also recognized the increase in landslide risks due to the effects of paddy cultivation and livestock grazing in the hills and mountains.

  • Sustainable Development Agenda for Nepal: The Government of Nepal prepared the Sustainable Development Agenda in 2003 which focuses, inter alia, on reducing impacts of climate change, ensure biodiversity conservation and promote sustainable development. This contributed to integrate sustainable development concepts in sectoral policies and plans as well.

At national and international levels, the GoN has made several commitments and formulated policies including addressing climate change concerns. The existing policies formulated before 2011 do not include policies and working policies to address local level needs and priority actions and promote integration of adaptation actions to adapt to, and mitigate climate change impacts. However, the Climate Change Policy, 2011 is expected to provide opportunities to promote climate adaptation, and make development climate-resilient.

5. Broad-based Climate Adaptation Actions

Government action on climate change are going on where, NAPA preparation of is the outstanding job, and it was developed adaptation actions through six Thematic Working Groups i.e. forest and biodiversity, agriculture, health, water resources, energy and infrastructure TWGs. Additionally, DFID, EU, ADB and World Bank including GEF from its LDC Fund have supported the Government to implement adaptation actions and Practical Action, LI-BIRD and other national and international organizations are also engaged in implementing different adaptation activities across the country.

Similarly, other NGO/INGOs such as Oxfam Nepal, Care Nepal, Lutheran World Federation, Action Aid, UNDP/GEF etc. are also supporting or implementing activities related to Disaster Risk Reduction in parts of the Terai and mid-hill region of Nepal. ICIMOD is also engaged in generating and documenting knowledge on climate adaptation in mountain region in the field of sustainable agriculture; watershed management and livelihood support programmes. However, some of the community based adaptations actions that are going on are mentioned below

  • One of the good examples of community based adaptation planning is ‘Community Level Adaptation Plan’ of the community forest prepared at local level prepared by Community Forest User Groups. This Plan was prepared in LFP working areas at VDC level that integrates household and considers site-specific level climate vulnerability. The FUGs have developed a network with VDCs and other stakeholders, more than 75% CFUGs have networked with VDCs, FECOFUN and wider stakeholder in LFP eastern development region to link their plans to local bodies for better implementation (Bishwakarma, 2010).

  • Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) is developing water stress-tolerant varieties of seeds including seeds suitable of wheat and paddy that could tolerate temperature rise to a certain degree. Few of such seed varieties are rice ‘Ghaiya-1’ for rain fed field, maize ‘Manakamana- 6’, wheat ‘NL971’for high temperature (NARC, 2010). Thus, research and recommendation of these improved seed varieties for farmers may have potential of higher yield and can be a part of community level adaptation.

  • WWF Nepal is implementing its first pilot project in 2009 on community based climate change adaptation project in Langtang National Park and its Buffer Zone. The project aim is protecting ecosystem services and improving the livelihood strategies in target communities of Buffer Zone and increase resilience to climate change. The project will work with local farmers in crop diversification and agro-biodiversity to enhance productivity and reduce climate change vulnerability (WWF Nepal, 2009).

  • Flooding is common in Nepal, due to effect of climate change and erratic rainfall the risk is high in most of the Terai region. For this, Practical Action Nepal initiated community adaptation pilot project ‘Early Warning System’ in flood affected communities in Chitwan district. This project integrates both traditional practices and recent technology and considered as successful initiatives in community based disaster risk reduction. This project later extended to Nawalparasi and Banke, Bardiya and plan to scale-up in flood-prone and in other vulnerable areas (Practical Action, 2008).

  • The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre’s Climate and Carbon Unit (CCU) was established in March 2010 to integrate climate change into Nepal’s renewable energy sector, which is supported by DFID, and SNV Netherlands. CCU has made remarkable progress with the registration of 19,396 biogas plants as a Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) project in 2007 and have resulted in USD $65,000 funding to AEPC (a rate of USD $7/ tone of the equivalent of CO2 emissions substituted by biogas) (Gum et. al 2009). Similarly, Energy Efficiency initiatives such as biogas, micro hydro, safa tempo, electric trolley buses, and solar water heating system are potential renewable energy projects, which are being implemented as pilot project in many districts as climate change mitigation options.

  • Most of the agricultural land is rainfed, on average 65% of the total cultivated land is rainfed (MOAC 2011), recurring change in seasonal rainfall and extreme climatic events drought, flood, incidence of pest and diseases lower the productivity and food insecurity. In this circumstances farmers are alreading taking local coping strategies. They start having rain water harvesting, changing crops such as vegetables instead of grain crops, plannig for short and low water requiring crops, diversification of farm enterprises and erosion controls methods. But these strategies and practices are limited to small number of farmers not covering wider communities, may be lack of awareness and poverty due to lack of resources.

  • In recent years, people in the Terai region (Kapilvastu)have changed their agri-based occupation to off farm activities. Due to delayed in rainfall and changing weather delay in seedbed preparation and rice plantation, which ultimately reduces the yield. In this circumstance, farmers are interested in seasonal labour work in India or interested to invest in other business sector. Also, they bring changes seed varieteis due to changing rainfall patterns and higher temperatures farmers are forced to adopt short ripen varieties and switch to more expensive hybrid varieteis (Action Aid, 2007). Some communities are trying to adapt to changing weather by growing vegetables and other cash crop instead of rice and wheat that need more water. This came into practices due change in climate and also more return from vegetable farming.

  • Water resource management is practiced in in mountains and terai regions in water scarcity areas for drinking and irrigation purpose. Efforts are taking place to make change at Individual level by making plastics ponds, rainwater harvesting, collection in tank and at community level through construction of dams and reforesting catchment areas (Gum et. al, 2009). These practices are popular at small scale in most parts of Nepal, though not highly used for large plot of land for irrigation.

6. Climate Adaptation Options under Implementations

The impacts of climate change can be only controlled through mitigation through the reduced emission of Green House Gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. However, this is a long term process, but the effects of climate change are already visible and are unavoidable. The only option is adaptation actions and strategies to build communities resilience to climate change. There are positive initiatives in the communities and national development policy. One of the recent achievements is NAPA, has prioritized adaptation activities at community level, which are of urgent and immediate adaptation needs of the country, they could be considered of broad-based nature in view of their nature.

Prioritized Activities at Community Level

Activity 1

Promoting Community Based Adaptation Through Integrated Management of Agriculture, Water, Forests, and Biodiversity Sectors

Activity 2

Building and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Vulnerable Communities Through Improved System and Access to Service Related to Agricultural Development

Activity 3

Community Based Disaster Management for Facilitating Climate Change and

Activity 4

Empowering Vulnerable Communities Through Sustainable Management of Water Resources and Clean Energy Supply

Adapted from NAPA, 2010

The adaptation strategies should be based on sustainable livelihood options and sound management of environment through strengthening capacities, skills and institutions to react and adapt to climate changes. More specifically, climate change adaptation strategies, should consider the possible adaptation options at policy level, which might be applicable in all regions of world.

General Policy Options for Adaptation to Climate Change

  • Incorporate climate change in long-term planning

  • Inventory existing practices and decisions used to adapt to different climates
  • The disaster relief to hazard-reduction programs

  • Promote awareness of climatic variability and change

Adapted from (Smith et al, 1996)

However, the policies and local climatic circumstances play additional roles in implementing these adaptation measures. Also adaptation options can be developed in different sectors; water resources, forest and biodiversity, agriculture and food security, energy including infrastructures and tourism. There are different adaptation options in different sectors especially in agriculture and water management. To minimize the effects of climate change on agriculture require diversification of crop species, change in cultivation and management practices that match with changed climatic situation. To cope with the effect the Disaster Risk Reduction activities like early warning system should be promoted as a part of adaptation strategy. Moreover, these activities should be integrated with the livelihood activities to enhance risk reduction capacity of the communities and reduce the vulnerabilities.

The potential adaptation options encourages about the implementation of community based adaptation actions and integrating adaptation strategies at developmental policies. And, promotion of alternative livelihoods through skills development and harnessing opportunities is needed. It is also imperative to enhance the skills and capacity of the community to tap the opportunities available beyond their local circumstances, since the people look for opportunities out of their local area if they fail to get any local opportunities.

However, implementing individual/specific adaptation measures may be effective in certain circumstances, but in long run integrated adaptation planning is needed. There is urgent need of local community based interventions for adaptation that needs proper planning and investment in all sectors. The most frequent problems are flooding in Terai regions, glacial lake outburst flood, water scarcity in most of the part of country, deforestation, climate induced hazards that need planning and implementation to the earliest possible. In this respect, Government institutions and NGO/INGOs need to support both individual and communities to develop and implement strategies that respond to the impact of climate change.

7. Reflection on Issues and Gaps at Climate Change Policy level

In developing countries, Climate Change issues are getting low priority because of immediate developmental needs. Though, CC is yet to well build in developing countries, there is need of immediate climate change policy and CC adaptation action plans to address the issues of global warming, water scarcities, weather variability and extreme events. Without considering climate change issues in development strategies, unsustainable developmental activities further leads to more climate change vulnerability at local level. In this context, Nepal is in the stage of the CC adaptation planning and implementation process. Recently, just like other least developed countries, Nepal had prepared NAPA and will develop climate strategies, including adequate focus on adaptation. At present, few of the sectors are approaching to integrate climate issues into sectoral policies and plans.
In collaboration with development partners, Nepal has successfully prepared a Climate Change Policy, National Adaptation Programme of Actions (NAPA), and National Framework on Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA), and REDD Readiness Preparedness Proposal (REDD RPP). These policy instruments will hopefully encourage development sectors to incorporate policies associated with climate change issues – both mitigation and adaptation.
During our study, interaction with the community and district stakeholders personnel we have identified following issues and gaps at local level.



  1. CC information and awareness at district level

  • Lack of proper knowledge and information on climate change issues

  1. Technical human resources

  • Absence of technical human resource at district level

  1. Coordination among various district level stakeholders

  • Absence of coordination mechanism among stakeholders

  1. Funding on CC Adaptation plan at district level

  • Not allocated

  1. CC Adaptation plan and programs

  • Not given priority

  1. Capacity Building and Trainings Programs

  • Rarely organized

  1. NGO Networks and Government Bodies

  • Lack of better coordination

Source: Field Survey, 2012

The Climate Change Policy, 2011 describes the goal and objectives at general and national level and does not particularly focus for local level. There is lack of two way communication mechanisms among and between the central and local levels.

Nepal prepared its NAPA following a rigorous consultation process. However, NAPA lacks clear provisions for the rights, and a comprehensive mechanism of participation by local communities’ representatives in decision making. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forests Degradation (REDD) is at centre-stage in the international climate regime. Nepal is a Least Developed Country hence, mobilization of appropriate local institutions can benefit Nepal immensely through implementation of the REDD+ initiatives if not through trade. Though, it has positive aspect but be deficient in integrating interest and benefit from local community perspectives.

The table below indicates overall Issues and Gap on climate change adaptation-related policies and institutional mechanism Identified from Literature Review.



  1. Integration of climate change aspects in sectoral policies

  • Non-inclusion of climate change aspects in sectoral policies and strategies except draft Agriculture Development Strategy

  1. Baseline data on climate change

  • Inadequate and needs in-depth research and studies at different levels

  1. Meteorological data * Temperature and Rainfall

  • Insufficient numbers of Meteorological Stations

  1. Climate Change Intervention

  • Intervention programmes under development and no intervention at present

  1. No reliable data and forecasting system

  • Lack of scientific analysis and monitoring techniques

  1. Resources and Institutional Capacities

  • Limited resources and institutional capacities for assessing climate change data and information

  1. Coordination among Ministries and line agencies

  1. Climate related Risk and Issues

  • Limited risk and vulnerability assessment. Not a proper CC adaptation planning for CC induced flooding and landslides

Source: Literature Reviews, 2012

Local people are the real change maker, the recognition of the importance of local communities is essential to ensure visible changes in the way the impacts and vulnerabilities of climate change are viewed and addressed. Eventhough Nepal is the only country to prepare LAPA, among few contries to prepare policy, and the first country to adopt programmatic approach in NAPA, there is still lack of effective implementation at local level. At national and international levels, the GoN has made several commitments and formulated policies including addressing climate change concerns. The existing policies formulated before 2011 do not include policies and working policies to address climate change concerns, and hence, local level needs and priority actions and promote integration of adaptation actions to adapt to, and mitigate climate change impacts.

The review of the study identifies gaps and issues in policies; the major problem is mainstreaming the environmental issues at all level of decision making process. Conclusively, two major lacking in most of the policy are inadequate coordination at implementation level and among sectoral ministries and disproportionately low attention at the grassroots level. The international community is already working to develop future adaptation strategies, but in Nepal, national adaptation activities are at just beginning. Nepal’s climate change policies programmes and plans should focus on strengthening the institutions building adaptive capacity. There need to be strong commitment of concerned stakeholder’s from local to national level to implement these policies.


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Bishwakarma N. K., (2010): Practice of Community Adaptation to Climate Change: A Case of Community Forestry User Groups of Nepal. Livelihoods and Forestry Programme, Baluwatar, Kathmandu

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