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Implementing Climate Change Adaptation in Nepal

Published: 1st October 2009 20:23Last Updated: 11th February 2014 16:25

Summary

Some of the poorest communities are vulnerable to climate change impacts as they are largely dependent on natural resources for food, water and livelihoods. 

Nepal has a varied topography resulting in a diverse climate. Consequently, adaptation responses must be tailored to meet the specific requirements of each location. 

This pilot project in Langtang National Park and Buffer Zone (LNPBZ) aims to combine local indigenous knowledge of natural resources with scientific evidence and new technologies to help local communities adapt to the detrimental effects of climate change.

Background

The poorest and most vulnerable communities are most reliant on climate sensitive sectors for agriculture, freshwater, forests and on natural resources that underpin their livelihoods and development prospects. Community and ecosystem based approaches are needed to collectively underpin good adaptation policy, planning and delivery, and are especially significant to communities and peoples directly dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods. 

Communities in the target area are facing the natural hazards such as landslides, earthquakes and forest fires. Serious drought, temperature increases, and flashflooding are causing serious detrimental impacts on community livelihoods – causing food insecurity; lack of access to freshwater for irrigation and household needs; soil erosion; damage to infrastructure (including irrigation systems, land, property and roads); increase in pests and diseases, and changes to ecosystems (including NTFPs). These hazards are in part as a result of non-climate drivers (such as land use changes, unsustainable use of natural resources, governance, tourism) but are exacerbated by climatic variability. 

Communities in the target area do not have adequate access to information on climate data and local planning structures (including Village Development Committee Plans, and Buffer Zone Management Plans) have not taken into account risks as a result of climate change. 

WWF will play a crucial role in working with communities to ensure risks to ecosystem integrity (and therefore ecosystem services) are minimized; thereby building on existing or developing new relationships with other NGOs, private sector organizations, government agencies or research institutions to ensure all vulnerabilities facing people and the natural environment are addressed.

Objectives

By 2012, ecosystem services and livelihood strategies in target communities of Langtang National Park Buffer Zone, Nepal, are better managed to reduce risks and increase resilience to climate change and other related drivers.

Methodology

The project was initiated based on rapid field assessments; hazard mapping analysis and vulnerability assessments in the buffer zones of Langtang National Park in the Sacred Himalayan Landscape. Based on different the different field assessments, the pilot project produced four local adaptation plans of actions in LNPBZ. The local adaptation plans identified five major issues as water, agriculture, energy  natural resources and natural climatic disaster pertaining to the impacts of climate change and creates insecurity in terms of water, food and energy. The pilot project focused to address the issues of water, food and energy security while also looking into ecosystem resilience through appropriate ground level solutions. The activities designed and implemented also helped build the capacity of the local communities of LNPBZ to adapt to the impact of climate change.

Mainstreaming climate change adaptation

Climate Change Adaptation process is not an isolated project and the process has to be mainstreamed in development planning. The WWF Nepal has organized a workshop and started to work towards climate smart conservation planning. The objective of the workshop was to make planner and senior program officers aware on potential impacts of climate change in their specific works.

WWF Nepal is diversifying the partnership of work, going beyond the realm of environment and forestry, and working with other development agencies to work on climate change adaptation. The diversification of the partnership will produce a consolidated effort to reduce the adverse impact of climate change. The Hariyo Ban Program of WWF Nepal is an example how we are working on partnership.

Desired outputs and main messages

1. By 2015, poor and marginalised communities and ecosystems in the Langtang National Park Buffer Zone have significantly increased resilience to climate change impacts and other related drivers of vulnerability. 

2. There is a need to pilot local level adaptation methodologies, which can then be refined and up-scaled. The methodology needs to be both bottom-up and top-down, collating local indigenous knowledge from communities about how they cope with climate hazards, reviewing the political and institutional environment and climate science and then introducing new activities, technologies and practices to improve their capacity to adapt into the future. 

3. Effective adaptation approaches need to be supported by a conducive financial, institutional and political enabling environment. 

4. An important part of the project process will be to develop an understanding of the range of stakeholders relevant to adaptation in the region, and nationally, and to map the policy and institutional environment as this will shape climate change recommendations for local, national and international responses.

Timescale

1 Apr 2009-30 June 2011

Contact

Anil Manandhar