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Sujeeta Mathema: ActionAid Nepal empowers climate-impacted communities

Sujeeta Mathema: ActionAid Nepal empowers climate-impacted communities
Sujeeta Mathema has more than 22 years of experience working in the development sector and has rich experience working in the field of human rights, especially on women’s rights. She is now working in the capacity of Executive Director of ActionAid Nepal. Sujeeta’s engagement with Kamaiya movement, women’s rights movement, land rights movement, and Dalit movement have given her solid experiences and encouragement to pursue the idea of how social movements can deliver social justice. She has been involved in many other different networks and alliances such as the Child Network Alliance. She is also a board member of Sishu Baal Bikas Kendra (ECD learning centers). How is ActionAid International Nepal helping climate-impacted communities to adapt and mitigate climate change in Nepal?

ActionAid International Nepal is actively engaged in developing resilience and addressing the challenges posed by a changing environment through a diverse range of programs. Key areas of focus include the promotion of agroecology, which supports environmentally friendly and climate-resilient agricultural practices to enhance food production and adapt to climate change.

Recognizing the importance of gender equality in climate resilience, the organization emphasizes creating inclusive marketplaces and empowering women entrepreneurs in the economy. We encourage community-led disaster mitigation and preparedness initiatives, enabling local communities to design and implement their own measures. Environmental protection measures are promoted at both community and school levels, fostering environmental awareness and sustainable behaviors. Collaboration with local government bodies aids in the development of climate change adaptation and mitigation policies and programs, ensuring preparedness at the local level. Through advocacy work and partnerships, ActionAid International Nepal works to reform policies and improve systems at various levels. By implementing comprehensive strategies encompassing structural change, advocacy, empowerment, and education, the organization significantly contributes to helping climate-affected communities adapt to and mitigate the impacts of climate change. What motivated ActionAid International Nepal to begin the Climate Justice Campaign? What impact do you think this effort will have on the larger climate justice movement in Nepal and beyond? ActionAid International Nepal has initiated the Climate Justice Campaign in response to compelling circumstances. The campaign underscores the urgent need for action, recognizing climate change as a fundamental human rights issue. The increasing number of climate-affected communities and families in Nepal highlights the criticality of finding solutions to this pressing problem. Moreover, marginalized groups face a disproportionate impact, exacerbating poverty cycles and widening societal disparities. The campaign also seeks to amplify the voices of those affected by climate change, providing strong evidence of its consequences in national, regional, and international forums. Fostering national unity is essential to effectively advocate for the rights of the affected population at federal, provincial, and municipal levels. What role do you envision private and governmental finance having in the move to greener and more sustainable solutions in the context of low-income countries like Nepal? Public and private finance play integral roles in driving the adoption of sustainable practices in low-income countries like Nepal. The private sector holds the potential to expand the market for eco-friendly goods and agroecological solutions, approaching them through lenses of adaptation, mitigation, readiness, and compensation for loss and damage. It is crucial for the private sector to prioritize investments in sustainable practices, equitable development, and green technologies. Government spending, particularly the development budget, should take climate risks into account, demonstrating a commitment to prioritize climate-sensitive and adaptable development. Effective monitoring of policy implementation is essential, as is the undertaking of comprehensive climate risk assessments for development projects. Opposition to loans for humanitarian aid or restitution from organizations such as the World Bank or ADB is important. Instead, a push for funds based on the ‘polluters pay’ principle should be emphasized. Access to international climate finance mechanisms should be improved, and both public and private sectors should invest in evidence-based strategies, early warning systems, and the enhancement of resource mobilization capacities. Besides the global climate justice campaign, what are some of the other important sector-specific platforms ActionAid International Nepal developing or using to spread knowledge and awareness about climate change? ActionAid International Nepal employs diverse platforms to effectively disseminate information and raise awareness about climate change. These initiatives encompass a wide array of activities and engagement methods. At the community level, the organization integrates climate change education into its local rights program to ensure widespread understanding. Furthermore, youth hubs and mobilization initiatives are established, recognizing the pivotal role of young people in shaping the future. These platforms empower youth to actively participate in climate change discussions and become agents of change. This engagement at regional, national, and global levels facilitates dialogue, knowledge-sharing, and advocacy. By contributing to collaborative platforms, the organization shares best practices, innovative ideas, and policy recommendations, thereby supporting global efforts to address climate change. What are the further plans of ActionAid International Nepal in climate justice? ActionAid Nepal has developed a comprehensive campaign plan for the next three years to empower and engage those affected by climate change. The organization’s strategy focuses on building resilience and driving positive change through a commitment to learning and research. ActionAid Nepal plans to undertake extensive research projects and support knowledge-building activities to generate evidence-based ideas. The organization aims to translate this knowledge into practical solutions, supporting local communities in navigating the challenges posed by climate change. The organization’s holistic approach not only promotes resilience but also advocates for long-term solutions that enhance communities, reduce risks, and secure their future. ActionAid Nepal seeks to amplify the voices of affected communities, protect their rights, and advocate for their urgent needs through compelling and impactful advocacy efforts.