AAIN submits attention letter to parliamentarians
ActionAid International Nepal (AAIN) has submitted a letter of concern regarding climate change to Nepali legislators on Sept 5 as part of their ‘Climate Justice Campaign’. Climate change stands as one of the most pressing global challenges confronting humanity today, impacting communities worldwide, particularly vulnerable communities and people but it has differential impacts. This issue transcends environmental boundaries, encompassing social, economic, political, and cultural dimensions.
AAIN initiated the ‘Climate Justice Campaign’ on June 5 during World Environment Day, featuring a week-long series of events in Kathmandu and its surrounding regions led by youth, women, and children. This campaign has fostered a deeper understanding of the interconnectedness between climate change, its consequences, and the injustice it perpetuates. It has rallied affected populations, including youth, farmers, women, children, and various stakeholders, to out loud their voices in the call for climate justice.
On Sept 4, ActionAid Federation, with a presence in over 50 countries, formally launched the ‘Climate Justice Campaign’ globally within its federations and beyond. AAIN is also coordinating various activities to coincide with the official campaign launch. The primary objective is to mobilize young people, women, and children to raise public awareness about the urgency of climate justice.
Nepal is among the countries most at risk from climate change due to its geographical location, which exposes it to severe impacts, adversely affecting people's livelihoods and adaptive capabilities. Climate change’s mounting effects manifest directly and indirectly across sectors, especially life and livelihood of people including agriculture, water resources, forests, biodiversity, health, infrastructure, and tourism. Consequently, Nepal has witnessed a surge in climate-related disasters, including floods, landslides, and droughts, which are expected to escalate in the future.
Although Nepal’s greenhouse gas emissions account for a mere 0.025 percent of the global total, the nation grapples with rising atmospheric temperatures, particularly in the Himalayan region. Despite its small emissions share, Nepal has committed to the objectives of mitigating climate change, as outlined in the Paris Agreement.
Nepal has developed a long-term strategy to achieve sustainable emission reductions and attain net-zero emissions by 2045, aligning with its Paris Agreement commitments. Additionally, Nepal has engaged in agreements and collaborations with international bodies to mitigate climate change’s effects, implementing essential policy reforms, timely initiatives, and national plans and programs. And prepared the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) and National Adaptation Plan (NAP) document with its implementation plan, though it is still heavily underfunded. The country has been a party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change since 1994, actively participating in climate change initiatives.
Nepal has established various mechanisms, including the Climate Change Coordination Committee and the Climate Change Management Division, and employs climate budget coding to address climate change challenges. The government collaborates with the international community as a signatory to the Kyoto Convention, the Paris Agreement, the Sendai Framework, and the Sustainable Development Goals.
Despite these efforts, the issue of climate justice has not received sufficient priority in practice. Nepal’s annual budget allocates an inadequate portion to address climate change impacts, with only 5.96 percent directly relevant to climate, 29.9 percent indirectly relevant, and 64.14 percent climate-neutral. Furthermore, climate policy mandates that 80 percent of international climate finance should reach the local level, a goal that remains unmet.
“Elected parliamentarians should proactively play a crucial role in minimizing climate change’s adverse impact on through policy departure,” says Sujeeta Mathema, executive director of AAIN. “There is a pressing need to lead the climate justice campaign from the global to the national to the grassroots level. The government must execute climate change policies and plans, allocate budgets, monitor its effectiveness, and mobilize resources at the local, province, and federal levels. Government should actively contribute to the global climate negotiation process of climate change.”
Lawmakers can initiate and lobby for budget allocation for climate actions, says Saroj Pokharel, Head of Program And Policy at AAIN. “During the preparation of the annual budget, lawmakers can draw the attention of the government for the allocation of more funds for the plans and programs related to climate change.” He further says that the implementation of the target by the government should be closely patrolled by the lawmakers.
What AAIN anticipates from lawmakers?
- AAIN believes that Nepal and other climate impacted nations have the right to receive grants, not loans, to address problems stemming from both underdeveloped and industrialized countries. Therefore, there's a call to actively discuss and promote the idea of securing grants rather than loans. The rationale behind this is to prevent the mounting burden of debt, which could adversely affect the country's economy and lead to a debt trap. To combat the impacts of climate change, there is a need to exert pressure on the government to seek financial assistance in the form of grants from donors and other means of financing.
- AAIN urges the government to establish a dedicated mechanism for climate diplomacy within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Such a mechanism would facilitate more effective collaboration with the international community in addressing climate change issues.
- Despite Nepal being highly vulnerable to climate change, there is a lack of effective utilization and tracking of foreign aid to tackle this problem. Nepal currently lacks precise data on the funds received under the banner of climate finance. This information gap poses a risk of missing out on potential opportunities for international climate financing. To address this concern, AAIN suggests the formation of a parliamentary working group or committee that can consult with both governmental and non-governmental agencies, as well as experts active in the field, to gather accurate data and improve transparency.
- Recognizing that climate-related disasters disproportionately affect impoverished, marginalized individuals, women, and small-holders farmers, AAIN emphasizes the importance of parliamentary advocacy for climate justice. This involves understanding the challenges faced by these vulnerable groups and taking measures to enhance their capacity to cope with climate change. Additionally, AAIN recommends the creation of a dedicated fund to manage compensation for loss and damage resulting from climate induced disasters.
- AAIN expresses concerns that climate change might not receive sufficient attention in the 16th five-year plan developed by the National Planning Commission. To rectify this, there's a call to initiate the development of a national plan specifically focused on climate change. This plan should prioritize areas directly impacted by climate change, including green energy, environmental preservation, agriculture, urbanization management, and the oversight of emissions from waste disposal.
ActionAid’s climate justice campaign is spearheaded by those who suffer the most from climate change, namely poor and vulnerable women and young people. The campaign seeks to advance climate justice by adopting effective organizing, mobilizing, and communication strategies to demand social and political transformation. ActionAid acknowledges the importance of youth and women in addressing climate change and simultaneously launched the campaign nationwide with some initiatives at the same time from 11 districts of Nepal, including Tehrathum, Siraha, Mahottari, Parsa, Chitwan, Makwanpur, Palpa, Kapilvastu, Bardiya, Dhading and Doti. Collaborating with local organizations and national solidarity, ActionAid aims to maximize the campaign's impact and create a collective response to climate change by pursuing various activities and mobilization efforts to compel communities, families, students, and activists to agitate for climate justice.
What AAIN do:
- Mobilize vulnerable and poor women and young people to advocate for climate justice and demand social and political change.
- Increase awareness on climate change and its impact, particularly on marginalized communities.
- Empower local organizations and communities to participate actively and make their voices heard in the campaign.
- Develop a collective response to the climate crisis and foster solidarity across different groups and communities.
- Put pressure on policymakers and decision-makers to act on climate change and prioritize the needs of vulnerable and marginalized communities.
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