Nepal, no doubt, is on the front line of climate change. Already experiencing some significant effects of the phenomena-rapidly depleting glaciers, prolonged drought, threatened bio-diversity and at risk water sources, the country cannot afford to sit by and wait for foreign organizations and donors to help out. Nepal and its people have to make urgent climate change action a national priority.
COP15 Copenhagen was greeted with much enthusiasm in Nepal. Months before the conference, the country was buzzing with large scale preparation for the event. The government held cabinet meeting at Mount Everest base camp to highlight the dangers of melting glaciers and threatened water sources, the public was also engaged by various organizations-national and international who organized nation wide programs to share information on climate change. There was this environment of expectation and excitement surrounding COP 15.
Now that COP 16 Cancun is just around the corner, the enthusiasm is no where to be seen.At the government level, there isn’t much happening as the political parties and the leaders continue to struggle with on going crisis-the country has been functioning without a Prime Minister for more than three months.
Organizations and activist groups are also less enthusiastic about COP 16, and media attention for the conference is well below the mark. Nepal’s national newspapers have largely ignored the upcoming conference and the issue of climate change, as the only major paper to publish a story on the issue-My Republica(English daily), did so back in June. Since then, climate change and COP 16 have not made it to the national media spotlight.
The reason for this apparent apathy? Nepal’s political climate, at present, is not conducive to any discourse on issues of national and international importance. The stakeholders in Kathmandu are busy playing number games in the Constituent Assembly, today it was reported that the 13th round of voting to elect a Prime Minister has ended without producing a winner. For 13 times the Constituent Assembly members have failed to come up with an agreement to end the nation’s leadership crisis. It would be pure ignorance to expect this group to spare a moment to think and plan for climate change in Nepal.
Disappointing conclusion of COP 15 Copenhagen is also to blame. The much hyped conference ended without any concrete, binding agreement; and that was a major disappointment to the people of Nepal who were expecting great results from the meet. Blatant corruption and misuse of national fund by government officials and ministers attending COP 15 made the matters even worse.
In midst of this gloomy situation, initiative taken by youth of Nepal provides much needed hope.Nepalese Youth For Climate Action (NYCA) taking the lead in mobilizing and educating Nepal’s youth on climate change.Nepal’s leadership should learn from these young people.
Previously published at Think About It Climate Change