आमालाई के हेक्का त्यहाँ लेखिएका तिथीमितीका कुरा !!
It has been forty-seven years since the inception of the categorization of countries as Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and only five countries have graduated so far. Four countries, Bhutan, Sao Tome and Principe, Kiribati and Solomon Islands are recommended for graduation this year while Nepal’s graduation recommendation is terminated upon its request. According to the Committee for Development Policy (CDP), the subsidiary body of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) who recommends a country for graduation, Nepal as well as Timor-Leste was not recommended for graduation this time even if they met the required criteria because of economic and political challenges. These will be reviewed and considered for graduation again in the next triennial review i.e. in 2021 AD if they still meet the criteria. And for Nepal, the criteria are likely to be met again provided the government’s announcements.
Access to climate funds
The LDCs, Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and the African States are the countries that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and Nepal is also one of them. That is why these countries are getting special focus on climate change adaptation measures. The Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC Fund) was established in 2001 AD under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and is being managed by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) with an aim to help the LDCs to prepare and implement their National Adaptation Program of Actions (NAPA) to climate change. The officials of Nepal working in the area of climate change never forget to mention this LDC fund when talked about the issues regarding climate change. So the graduation proposal should obviously have shocked, at least once, those officials from the then Ministry of Population and Environment (MOPE) and Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation (MOFSC) (now Ministry of Forests and Environment) as these are the concerned ministries mostly dealing with climate change issues in Nepal. So, when Nepal graduates from the category of the LDC in the next review, i.e. in 2021 AD, will it be able to cope with the climatic changes without access to the LDC fund after that?
Will Nepal be able to fulfil its Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement when the financial supports it is getting now are also cut?
Some months ago, after the withdrawal of the USA from the Paris Agreement, chief of the Climate Change Management Division of Nepal and Nepal’s focal person for the UNFCCC (Dr. Ram Prasad Lamsal) was saying that the USA’s withdrawal was not a problem for Nepal. One of his logic behind this was that Nepal would get money from the LDC fund and it was not only the USA that would provide money to this fund. This also shows that government officials were quite relaxed because of the money that Nepal is likely to receive from the LDC fund.
It is not only the LDC fund Nepal will lose access to after the graduation. The Green Climate Fund (GCF), a part of financial mechanism of the UNFCCC, also pays particular attention to the needs of the LDCs, SIDS and the African States. The fifty per cent of the ‘adaptation budget’, which in turn is fifty per cent of the total 100$ billion annual disbursement post 2020 AD, is targeted towards these countries, which Nepal will not receive after graduation from the LDC status.
Are we ready?
Change in climate is an ongoing process and so is adaptation. Only graduating a country from the list of the LDCs does not significantly reduce the vulnerability to climate change unless sufficient mitigation measures are also carried out. The thing now is – will we be able to adapt to the changes in the future climate without access to those funds which are meant for adaptation programs in the LDCs? We should have already been able for that now because Nepal is already liable for graduation but is postponed only upon our special request.
Normally, we will have three years grace period for the LDC graduation to come into effect. So, within coming six to seven years, will we be able to fully adapt to the climatic changes without major help from the adaptation mechanisms that are particularly aimed at countries like Nepal? Because Nepal will not get special attention after that, as it is getting now as a member of the LDCs. We must be able on our own, at least for that time period until another mechanism is formulated to facilitate ‘graduated yet vulnerable to climate change’ countries. And we should start raising this issue in the climate negotiations now if such mechanism is necessary for us.
Also, Nepal states in its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) paper to the Paris Agreement that it needs bilateral and multilateral support in eleven priority areas to meet the targets it has mentioned, the first being formulation and implementation of National Adaptation Plans (NAP) and implementation of already formulated NAPA. Will it be able to fulfil its NDC when the financial supports it is getting now are also cut?
In Nature Khabar online. This link – http://naturekhabar.com/en/archives/9601
April 27, 2018
A mobile application ‘safa hawa’ was launched in Kathmandu some days ago. The app is said to provide hourly updates of the pollution level from two air quality monitoring stations currently. And the app is said to be available for both android and ios platforms.
Forget about an Iphone, I don’t even have an android phone. So, my question is, don’t I have the right to breathe ‘safa hawa’? What about them who don’t even have a mobile phone? Don’t they have the right to breathe ‘safa hawa’? If I were to make a very, very bad comment on the question, it would be – “Why are you breathing till date if you cannot even buy an android phone?”
I have no acrimony towards the developers or launchers. My only concern is – why are only a particular group of people focused? And why are we thinking of running away and avoiding pollution rather than trying to resolve the root of the problem? If the policy makers really want to push for policy changes, they don’t need a mobile app to collect pollution information; they can simply get the data from the monitoring stations itself.
We already removed a lot of pollutant particles from the atmosphere by inhaling and depositing it in our lungs but such pollutants never seem to have decreased there in the atmosphere. Same as the Bagmati cleanup program!
Let’s return back to ‘safa hawa’. For e.g., I have to go to Thamel. But my ‘safa hawa’ app shows that the level of pollution is very high there. How can I avoid going there when I have to go there at any cost? Maybe you can say that I could go there with some safety measures. Is there any place in this capital city where people could go without sufficient safety measures against air pollution?
Why is this discrimination even in the air we breathe? If you can afford to install air purifiers at your home, you can breathe safe; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. If you can afford to buy effective, surgical masks every day, you can inhale hygienic air; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. And now, if you can afford to buy an android phone, you can avoid the pollution; otherwise you have to breathe toxic air. This is when being poor really hurts.
Another thing I fear now-a-days is – one day people might start selling the portable oxygen bottles, which we have not seen till date only because somebody has not discovered it yet, and that will be a new business in this city. Like the water bottle business, as is going on in the second richest country in the world in terms of water resources.
Aditya Acharya and Mahesh Poudel
Published in The Kathmandu Post. This link – http://kathmandupost.ekantipur.com/news/2018-03-27/redd-signals.html
Mar 27, 2018
It was discovered that deforestation and forest land degradation contribute to 17 percent of the worldwide carbon emissions which is a major factor of the current global warming phenomenon. So, reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation was seen as one of the major issues to address this phenomenon. Conceived initially as RED (reducing emissions from deforestation in developing countries), the current state of REDD+ was formalized during the 13th Conference of Parties (COP) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Bali, Indonesia in 2007. The concept is to allow the developed countries (Annex 1 countries of the UNFCCC) to offset their emissions by providing financial incentives for the projects in developing countries (non-Annex 1 countries of the UNFCCC) that reduce emissions by preventing deforestation and degradation.
The formal term now is REDD+ which is an extension of REDD (reducing emissions from deforestation and forest land degradation); an addition of three other components, forest conservation, sustainable management of forests and enhancement of forest carbon stocks in the later. REDD is the mechanism to curb emissions and UN-REDD is the program of the United Nations (UN) that assists the participating countries for the REDD readiness. And the UN_REDD program has 64 partner countries; 28 in Africa, 19 in Asia Pacific and 17 in Latin America and the Carribean.
Corruption in the partners
The Transparency International (TI) last month (February) published the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) Report for 2017 which shows the perceived level of public sector corruptions in 180 countries around the world. Of the 64 partner countries of the UN REDD program, 57 (89%) of them have the CPI score of less than 50 out of 100, zero score being the most corrupt and 100 the cleanest. Fifty five out of those 64 (86%) have the CPI score of less than the global average score of 43.07. Only 5 (7.8%) of them have the CPI score of more than 43.07 and 4 of them are not scored. Bhutan and Chile are the least corrupt countries among those 64 countries with an equal score of 67 and Costa Rica is the second one with a score of 59. Can we really be optimistic about the success of the mechanism that works among the most corrupt countries of the world? Is carbon finance fair and effective? The TI writes – “Sadly, many of the world’s most densely forested countries have a poor track record for corruption. In the current global economy, trees are worth a lot more cut down than they are in the ground, and politicians have been known to accept bribes – sometimes huge – to grant companies access to forest zones that should be protected.“
There are seven safeguards which were adopted at COP 16 in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico (hence called Cancun safeguards) keeping in mind the potential risks that might arise during the REDD implementation, which also includes ‘Transparent and effective national forest governance structures, taking into account national legislation and sovereignty’. Just to remind, these countries are corrupt not because they don’t have good laws and policies but because the corrupt bureaucracy, the politicians as well as people there easily outsmart them. If the safeguards would really work, those countries should never be so corrupt. Yes, if the countries fail to meet the safeguards, they will not be paid. That is fine. But what about the billions of dollars already invested in REDD readiness then? Will that all be ‘water poured in the sand’?
There are so many complex, technical aspects included that even a well-educated person cannot completely understand. And the indigenous people of those countries, where the literacy percentage is also very low, are expected to fully trust the corrupt bureaucracy in their countries to deliver them the benefits of keeping the forests safe!
What should be done?
It is not that no works should be done in those countries fearing corruption but alternative ways of reducing the emissions should be sought. One confusing thing is – how the REDD benefits the environment when the developed countries can emit the same amount of GHGs as sequestered by the developing countries under REDD mechanism, just by paying them money!? This is not to mean that the developing countries should be allowed to deforest or degrade the forest land but that the developed countries should not be allowed to emit as much carbon as they want just by paying money. Is it the money or the reduction in GHG emissions that actually matters for developing countries? Why can’t the developing countries pressurize the developed ones to reduce as much carbon emissions as they sequester rather than asking for the payments? That way, the changing climate will have double benefits.
Either money that is going to the developing countries should be invested in the developed countries itself reducing emissions to an amount that developing ones are likely to sequester or corruption in the developing countries should be highly reduced. Otherwise, there are no green signals for REDD.