Climate change poses risks for Nepal: UN

Kathmandu, November 27:

Avalanches and floods pose special risks to densely populated mountain regions, such as Nepal, where glaciers are retreating at a rate of several metres every years, states the United Nation’s Human Development Report, released today, which is focussed on climate change this year.

“Lakes formed by melting glacier waters are expanding at an alarming rate. The Tsho Rolpa Lake being a case in point, having increased more than seven-fold in the past 50 years,” the report, ‘Fighting Climate Change: Human Solidarity in a Divided World’, says.

It also stresses that the time and energy being spent for fuel wood collection is also affecting Nepal’s productivity. “In Guatemala and Nepal, wood expenditure represents 10-15 per cent of total household expenditure in the poorest quintile. Collection time for fuel wood has significant opportunity costs, limiting opportunities for women to engage in income generating activities. More broadly, inadequate access to modern energy services restricts productivity and helps keep people poor,” the report says. The report also appreciates the attempts being made in Nepal. “In Nepal, communities in flood-prone areas are building early warning systems — such as raised watchtowers — and providing labour and material to shore up embankments to prevent glacial lakes from bursting their banks,” it says, adding that farmers across the developing world are responding to emerging climate threats by drawing on traditional cultivation technology.

If climate change is not properly addressed in South and East Asia, changes in rainfall, temperatures and the availability of water would cause great loses in productivity of food staples, thereby thwarting efforts to cut rural poverty, it states, adding,”Central Asia, Northern China and the northern part of the South Asia are particularly vulnerable to retreating glaciers”.

The report makes a case for the urgency with which climate change needs to be addressed. “Time matters for all of us. Today we are living with what we did yesterday/ tomorrow we will all live with what we do today. We need to take action now,” it says.

Nepal ranks 142nd in HDI

• Nepal has gained 0.007 in HDI value but dropped 4 places in rank from the

last year’s.

• Nepal ranks 142 out of 177 countries with the HDI value of 0.534. In 2006, Nepal ranked 138 with an HDI value of 0.527.

• Iceland stands at the top and Sierra Leone at the bottom in the HDI.

• Nepal ranks last in South Asia; Pakistan (rank 136 and HDI 0.551) and Bangladesh (rank 140 and HDI 0.547) being nearest in the HDI. The regional average HDI value for South Asia is 0.661. Nepal’s HDI value is also below the average for all developing countries (0.691).

• Life expectancy at birth in Nepal is 62.6 years, adult literacy rate is 48.6 per cent, and combined gross enrolment ratio for primary, secondary and tertiary education is 58.1 per cent.