Responding to the impacts of climate change effectively at national policy and local planning level requires robust and comprehensive information and a strong knowledge base. The potential for this information to provide crucial knowledge in the designing and implementation of climate-resilient policies, plans and programmes is enormous.
In 2010, the Government of Nepal established the Nepal Climate Change Knowledge Management Center (NCCKMC) to facilitate the generation, management and dissemination of climate-related knowledge. The Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) has established a climate carbon unit to manage knowledge of climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) has established Reduced Emission from Forest Degradation and Deforestation (REDD) Implementation Centre to manage knowledge related to mitigation and REDD. Similarly, the Ministry of Agriculture and Development (MoAD) has established Agriculture Information Management System (AIMS) to consolidate climate information and develop these into practical agro advisories.
Issues have, however, arisen within the climate change knowledge management community about the effective functioning of the knowledge management centres (see "Barriers" below).
The broader objectives of this study were to:
- assess the demand side of knowledge management in Nepal, with specific focus on the way knowledge and information is currently generated, applied and demanded at local and national level; and
- assess the supply side of knowledge management, with specific focus on the way knowledge and information on climate change is available, processed, packaged and made accessible to those involved in local government planning at sub- national (district) and national level.
An overview of the methods used, key barriers and recommendations are provided below. See the full text (download from right-hand column) for much more detail.
Methods and Tools
The study used a mix of methods to generate information.
It carried out a desk review to analyse the policy, programmes and projects on managing knowledge of climate change in Nepal. The desk review also analysed the institutional strategy and action plans, particularly of development partners, international and national non-government organisations (I/NGOs) and research institutions related to demand for, and generation and sharing of, knowledge of climate change.
Field work was carried out in Rukum and Dang Districts in mid- western region of Nepal. The aim of field work was to assess the demand for and supply of climate change knowledge at district and community level. The study interviewed 64 persons at district and national level to obtain an overview and suggestions on climate change knowledge management at these level. A Google-based online survey tool was used to map the perceptions of stakeholders, particularly to assess the effectiveness of the NCCKMC.
Finally, two district- and one national-level stakeholder workshops were organised to draw stakeholders’ feedback on ways to strengthen knowledge management work on climate change in Nepal.
Barriers (in brief)
Initial interactions with key stakeholders in Nepal show that knowledge gaps exist within the climate change sector because:
- information and knowledge generation is weak, as research being undertaken at local and national level is inadequate;
- ownership of the knowledge management centres is low as knowledge is centralised and not accessible to the public;
- the knowledge management centres are not functioning satisfactorily due to lack of internal capacity and financial resources, and as their relationships with knowledge partners have not been maintained and strengthened;
- the existing knowledge management system has not been able to effectively guide decision-making at policy, planning and implementation level due to its inability to process and package knowledge according to the demand and requirements of the various institutions in the country.
Following are the key recommendations of the study, mostly targeted at the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), NCCKMC and the national agencies to strengthen the climate information services in Nepal:
NCCKMC should capitalise on the favourable policy environment for climate change to improve climate change-related knowledge management practices. Nepal has significantly progressed in crafting national policies and a framework on climate change. Several national-level institutional mechanisms and financial flow systems provide mechanisms for partly strengthening the implementation of the climate change agenda in Nepal. Policy is, therefore, not a barrier to operationalising a climate change knowledge management system in Nepal. The country, however, lacks a clear vision, strategy and institutional commitment to knowledge generation and management. This is the reason the available knowledge has contributed little to operationalising a knowledge management policy and practices on climate change.
There is genuine and strong need for an overarching national strategy and roadmap on knowledge management to streamline ongoing initiatives and responses to climate change. There are opportunities for climate change knowledge management in Nepal. This and other research support the assertion that knowledge management could be streamlined and harmonised if government has clear national and local-level strategies on knowledge, and strong leadership and commitment. Policy, institutions and human resources are not an issue in climate change knowledge management in Nepal. Knowledge management centres have already been established in Nepal. What is needed are joint proactive actions and a harmonised approach to climate change knowledge management among different agencies and stakeholders which can feed into policy making, planning and budgeting.
Climate change knowledge management should be mainstreamed within the policy and institutional mandate and work. There is need for state ownership and dedicated institutions to drive climate change knowledge management forward. A multi-stakeholder mechanism should be created for information and knowledge sharing and for learning at different level to allow innovations, ideas and learning to expand and flourish. It is also necessary to mainstream knowledge management within the government and non-government institutions to create a sustainable mechanism for learning and sharing.
Research and academic institutions should take the lead role in knowledge generation. Unless existing research institutions take the lead in knowledge generation, there will continue to be a mismatch
in demand for and supply of climate change knowledge. Since many grey areas and knowledge gaps have been identified, the government and development agencies should invest in research and knowledge management.