Govt investment in climate change paying off, say reports

Kathmandu, August 6

Investment made by the government to help Nepali farmers adapt to climate change is having a positive impact on the income level of farmers, according to recent studies by the Ministry of Agriculture Development, National Disaster Risk Reduction Centre, Freedom Forum and UNDP.

Two study reports – ‘Collaborative Research on Impact of Climate Change Finance on the Climate vulnerable poor population’ and ‘Public Expenditure Tracking Survey of Cooperative Farming, Small Irrigation and Transportation of Seeds and fertilizers’ – were released amid a function in Kathmandu today.

The reports highlighted that climate related programmes in the agricultural sector had generally had positive outcomes in terms of increasing the income level of farmers. It is expected that the findings from these research pieces will be used by climate related ministries in decision-making.

The collaborative research covers the impact of climate related government expenditure on the agriculture sector in Nepal. The analysis reviewed programmes in the districts of Bardiya and Myagdi and identified their socio-economic benefits with a particular focus on impacts relating to gender and poverty.

Through focus group discussions, reviews of existing government research and findings from the National Climate Change Impact Survey, the study found the impact of existing programmes to be impressive, yet noted that there is a lack of gender and climate specific projects at the local level.

The research found positive outcomes for the socio-economic status of farmers from climate finance investments. With increases in climate finance investment, household incomes increased by 20 per cent, especially among the poorest. The investments also saw crop diversification which improved food security and livelihood options for farmers. Some of the farmers, who received support from a climate finance related programme, reported a five-fold increase in income over a three-year period.

“The government cannot do everything on its own. It needs support of other partners. Undertaking research that helps to improve policies and improve investment decisions is one way in which we can better understand what investments have worked, and where improvements are needed,” said Joint Secretary Kewal Prasad Bhandari at the Ministry of Finance.

“Agriculture is very climate sensitive and it is important to understand the impact that government spending has on addressing climate related challenges to the sector. Getting this right is essential for Nepal as agriculture accounts for nearly 70 per cent of total employment and contributes nearly one-third of Nepal’s gross domestic product. Government spending, therefore, needs to be tested and proven to have positive impacts,” said Madhu Sudan Gautam of NDRC.

The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey carried out by Freedom Forum reveals that the government-funded climate related small irrigation projects in Bardiya and Udayapur showed an excellent delivery record, which went above 90 per cent in the surveyed two districts. Public Expenditure Survey aims to improve climate finance transparency by monitoring climate finance from its source directly to recipients in Nepal.