Kathmandu, July 10
Nepal faces serious threat of climate change, according to Pushpa Raj Kadel, vice-chairperson of the National Planning Commission.
Speaking at a programme titled ‘Impacts of Climate Change on the Mountains,’ on the sidelines of the 2019 High-Level Political Forum at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York today, he said the Government of Nepal had decided to convene a Sagarmatha Dialogue, a global platform to exchange views on areas, including climate change. He is in New York, leading a Nepali delegation to the event.
The event was organised by the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the UN in New York and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development, to share key findings of the Hindu Kush Himalaya Report released by ICIMOD, to draw lessons from the recommendations for inclusive mountain development. Ambassador Amrit Bahadur Rai, permanent representative of Nepal to the UN, said the discussions will contribute to the ongoing exercise for the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit, to be held in September, this year.
The ambassador said the discussions will contribute to the ongoing exercise of the UN Secretary-General’s Climate Action Summit to be held in September 2019. David Molden, director general of ICIMOD cautioned that even if global warming was limited to 1.5 degree Celsius by 2100, there would be a 1.8 degree Celsius rise in temperature in other parts of the world and up to 2.2 degrees Celsius in the mountains due to elevation dependent warming, a phenomenon where mountains experience rapid changes with rise in temperature. Molden said if the rising trend of global warming were unchecked, this would adversely impact the lives of not just 240 million mountain dwellers but also 1.6 billion people downstream.
Molden warned that the melting of ice and loss of glaciers on the mountains would have impacts on agricultural productivity, hunger and poverty, migration, ecosystem and biodiversity.
He also proposed six urgent actions: cooperating at all levels, limiting global temperature, enhancing ecosystem resilience, recognising and prioritising uniqueness of mountain issues, achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals and sharing information and knowledge.
Following the presentation, a discussion took place for further deliberation on the serious message and implications of the report, as well as for way forward to address the issue of global warming. Ambassadors/representatives of Austria, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh and Bhutan shared their views, according to a press release issued by the Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations.
Delivering his closing remarks, Ambassador Luis Alfonso de Alba, Secretary-General’s special envoy for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, thanked Nepal and ICIMOD for organising the timely event.
He expressed hope that the event would raise awareness in the region and across the globe, and contribute to the drive against climate change, through a greaterfocus on ‘nature based solutions’ for achieving ‘carbon neutrality’ by 2030.
A version of this article appears in print on July 11, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.