Aware of Nepal’s climate vulnerabilities and an increasing trend of extreme climate events, parliamentarians have expressed their commitment to take action on climate change through active advocacy and engagement.
They expressed the commitment during a Dialogue on SDGs, Climate Change and Parliament jointly organized by Communication Development Media and UNDP's Parliament Support Project (PSP) on 20th September.
At the programme organized to mark the Global Goals Week, Act4SDGs, over 90 MPs of the federal parliament and all seven Provincial Assemblies were oriented by experts on issues, including status of SDG implementation in Nepal, government programs and policies, climate financing, role of MPs and Nepal's preparations to UNFCCC COP 26, among others.
Dr. Bimal Raj Regmi, expert on climate change and disaster risk management, presented on the status of climate change in Nepal, national and international initiatives on climate change, and Nepal's preparations and concerns for the COP 26. He mentioned that especially women, economically poor and the people who rely on natural resources are more vulnerable to the impact of climate change. He said adverse impact on economic and social sector, poor governance system and increasing health problems have posed further vulnerability to these people.
Dr. Regmi suggested MPs to play an active role in formulating policies and programs ensuring that they benefit the most vulnerable populations. He suggested the MPs to raise their voices for effectiveness of national as well as global mechanisms created to take bold actions on environment and climate change issues.
On COP 26, he suggested that Nepal should advocate for implementing the Paris Agreement, access to Green Climate Fund, compensation for the loss and damage incurred due to climate-induced disasters, and sustainable development of mountains.
UNDP’s Assistant Resident Representative Vijay Singh elaborated on how national and international climate financing regime operates and suggested that Nepal should focus on building its capacity on climate financing, which would be critical in helping Nepal achieve the SDGs by 2030. He suggested MPs to form a core group of likeminded MPs to better advocate for climate change in the parliamentary domain. ''Parliamentarians are expected to increase oversight of any developmental projects from a climate change perspective,'' he added.
Dr. Gangalal Tuladhar, presenting on climate change and its impact on SDGs, stressed on minimizing climate-induced risk and promoting climate friendly development. "The first thing we need to know is the risks of climate-induced disasters, then only we can control the impact of these disasters," he said, adding that the mechanisms for controlling disasters have been formed at all levels of the government but they have not been able to minimize the adverse impacts of climate-induced disasters.
Nima Lama, member of Bagmati Provincial Assembly said, “Forming relevant policies and laws are not enough, regular parliamentary oversight to ensure their effective implementation is equally important.” Referring to the recent closure of schools in the capital and urban areas due to air pollution, he stressed on the need for raising awareness on climate change among MPs and concerned stakeholders. It is high time, he said, the issue of climate change became a major agenda of political parties.
“From my end, I assure you all that I will include the agenda of climate change in the upcoming convention of my political party,” said Lama.
Devi Oli, Chair of the Social Development Committee of Karnali PA said developing countries like Nepal should be compensated by the developed countries for emission of carbon and other greenhouse gases that are contributing to global warming.
Singha Bahadur Biswokarma, member of the Sustainable Development and Good Governance Committee of the National Assembly said the committee members are continuously raising voices to make the government take action on climate change. “We need collective efforts and strong coordination among three tiers of governments to achieve the SDGs and address the impacts of climate change,” he said.
Baijanath Chaudhari, former minister and MP from Lumbini Province said he is committed to protecting forest resources, and supporting the livelihoods of vulnerable populations living in lowland and along riverbeds. He emphasized on climate-proofing both new and existing infrastructure so that they can sustain any adverse impacts of climate change in the future.
Organized to create awareness among key legislators on the SDGs, climate change and the roles they can play in reducing the impacts of climate change, the dialogue also informed the legislators on Nepal’s preparations for the upcoming COP26, which is taking place in the UK from 31 October to 12 November 2021.