Due to the sudden onset of chilly weather and fog, the budding process was delayed since the first week of February.
This year’s UN climate summit, COP28, is on the horizon, marking the 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). This assembly serves as an annual congregation for the 198 nations that are signatories to the convention, united in their commitment to addressing climate change challenges and devising strategies for mitigation and adaptation. Notably, South Asian Himalayan countries are actively preparing for their participation in this crucial event.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal of Nepal, addressing the national conference on climate change in Kathmandu, sounded a cautionary note. He forewarned about the potential surge in climate change-induced disasters, looming food security crises, and the growing scarcity of potable water. These concerns are set to be highlighted by Nepal in the upcoming COP28. The Prime Minister expressed his determination to advocate fervently during the summit, urging affluent and developed nations to honor their commitments to curb the rise in global temperatures.
Nepal, during COP28, intends to assert its claims on climate action while emphasizing the urgent and complete implementation of agreements to secure climate financing as grants for adaptation and resilience. PM Dahal underscored the climate-related challenges confronting Nepal, citing the melting and exploding glaciers, the escalating occurrences of landslides and dry droughts in hilly areas, and the pervasive flood incidents in the Terai region. Global warming, he noted, is responsible for the substantial melting of two-thirds of the region’s mountain glaciers.
The Prime Minister pointed out that the adverse impacts of climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable groups, including impoverished families, small-scale farmers, marginalized ethnic communities, women, children, the elderly, and people with physical challenges. He emphasized the extensive repercussions of climate change on critical sectors such as agriculture, hydro resources, and tourism, as well as on national economy-contributing domains like food security, health, water supply, livelihoods, and security.
Echoing these concerns, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, during his visit to Nepal, highlighted the alarming rate at which glaciers in the country were melting. He described the situation as “dire and accelerating,” drawing attention to the urgency of addressing climate-related challenges. The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), based in Kathmandu, further underscored the severity of the situation. According to ICIMOD’s assessment, glaciers in the Hindu Kush Himalaya, a region that encompasses Asia, could witness a staggering loss of up to 75% of their volume by the end of the century due to global warming. This alarming projection raises concerns about the potential consequences, including hazardous flooding and water shortages for the 240 million people inhabiting the mountainous region.
As COP28 approaches, Nepal is poised to articulate its concerns and advocate for global cooperation to address the pressing issues exacerbated by climate change. The urgency of the matter, as underscored by both national and international leaders, underscores the critical importance of concerted efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change on vulnerable communities and the environment.