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Adverse impacts of climate change on development of Nepal: integrating adaptation into policies and activities

Nepal is landlocked and highly mountainous with a diverse environment resulting from extreme spatial climate variation; climate varies from tropical to arctic over a span of approximately 200 km. Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world with over 82% of the population being below the poverty line and a reliance on tourism and agriculture making the economy highly sensitive to climate variability.

The priority of the Nepalese government is to alleviate poverty and several challenges must be dealt with including high population growth, high levels of unemployment, low level education, dependency on natural resources, lack of institutional capability and proneness to natural disasters. Impacts of climate change are an additional burden to combat these problems.

It is identified that higher temperatures are likely to lead to more droughts with severe consequences for agriculture. Retreating glaciers and subsequent increases in glacier lake outbursts may result in higher prevalence of water related disasters such as flood, erosion and landslide. The Tenth Development Plan identifies measures to address such adverse impacts of climate change, including:

  • construction of emergency shelters
  • provision of housing for disaster affected families
  • disaster preparedness for rural households
  • improved management of agriculture

The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) is the country’s first attempt to integrate different stakeholders into the development planning process but, according to the authors, the key stakeholders of donor organisations are absent.