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Climate Change and Indigenous Peoples of Nepal

Lucky Sherpa
Member of Constituent Assembly, Nepal
Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on “Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change and Rural Poverty: Promoting Innovative Approaches and Solutions" 25-26 March 2010, Manila, Philippines

Nepal's Specialties……
 Country of Mount Everest „Sagarmatha Chyomolongma‟, the highest

peak in the world  Diversity
    

Diverse geography and climate Language Religion Culture Peoples

 storehouse of biodiversity and constitutes an important component of

the global ecosystem  Himalayan region has more than 2,300 glacial lakes and more than 3,200 glacial rivers originate in the Himalayas  20% of the world‟s population depend directly on the use of Himalayan resources for their livelihood and well-being  the mountain range is called the „water tower of Asia‟, often with regionally and locally-specific variations


 In Nepal Indigenous peoples are known as “Adivasi

Janajati” and “Indigenous Nationalities”  National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities Act 2001 defines Adivasi Janajati as those: “tribes or communities as mentioned in the schedule who have their own mother tongue and traditional customs, distinct cultural identity, distinct social structure and written or oral history of their own”.

Indigenous Peoples of Nepal
 According to CBS 2001, Indigenous Nationalities in Nepal

Consists 37.2 Percent of the Total Nepal Population That is 8.46 nationalities recognized by Gov‟t but there are still some groups to be enlisted.  There are 59 indigenous Nationalities and more are yet to be recognized.  Indigenous Nationalities are found in 70 out of 75 Districts in Nepal.  Indigenous Nationalities make up more than 50 percent in nearly all the hill districts of eastern and Central Nepal.

Nepal‟s Share in Climate Change

 Share of Nepal in the global emission of

greenhouse gases is negligible

 Per Capita CO 2 emissions in the country is

estimated at 0.13

 Average temperature in Nepal is rising by 0.5

degrees Celsius per decade

Impacts of Climate Change in the Himalayas

 Serious Impacts on the Livelihoods of poor People of Nepal  Risk of Catastrophic Glacial Lake Outburst Floods Events.

Loss of Lives , property and displacement of local people.

 Less snow fall in the winter
 Increased rain and snow fall after the winter  Increased Frequency of avalanches, Flash floods and


Effects on Lives and Livelihoods of the Indigenous Communities

 Adverse Impact on Farming  Low Productivity and crop failures affecting many

Himalayan Indigenous farming communities, who are increasingly facing food insecurity  Adverse Impacts on the Himalayan Ecosystems  Forcing Mountain Peoples to Seek Grazing  Danger of Disappearing cultural, religious and ancestral memories along with the Glaciers.

Melting Glaciers and its Effects on the Himalayan Communities

 Occasional Bursting of Glacial Lakes- Seriously Damaged the lives

and livelihoods of Mountain Communities.  It was reported that if it burst, the Tsho Rolpa could affect life and property as far away as 100 kilometers downstream  According to Appa Sherpa A Veteran Nepali Climber who holds the world record for climbing mount Everest for 19th times said

Snow trail along the route to the peak was now just a stretch of bare rocks, as climate change pushed up snowlines and shrank glaciers subsequently making it even harder to scale the world‟s tallest peak. This makes climbing the mountain difficult because walking on the naked rocks wearing crampons is hard. Sherpa said after his expedition.

Biodiversity and Climate Change

 Himalayan Plant and animal species are being

seriously affected  Species are already disappearing and at risk of extinction  IPs deprived of traditional resources and biodiversity  Risk of Infectious diseases at rise

Nepal‟s International Commitments
 Nepal is a signatory of the United Nations Framework

Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio De Janeiro in 1992
 ILO C. 169


Parliamentarian and Gov‟t Engagenment with Indigenous Peoples in Relation to Climate change
 REDD has been declared as a Ministerial priority by

the Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation in Nepal  National Adaptation Programme of Action -NAPA
 National Level Interaction with Indigenous MPs with

the Ministry of environment

Way Forward
 Set up Indigenous Parliamentarians Network to dealt with issues

related with Climate Change. Recognize the specific vulnerability of indigenous peoples to the effects of climate change and to the impacts of actions to address climate change State parties ensure that the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples is required and gained prior to any climate change adaptation or mitigation action impacting on the traditional lands and resources of indigenous peoples, including impacts on the carbon stores on their lands. The World Bank Operational Policy 4.10 on indigenous peoples should be used from the inception to the implementation of FCPF- supported projects. The United Nations declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples should serve as a key framework in the formulation of plans for development and should be considered in all processes related to climate change at national, regional and global levels The safeguard policies of the multilateral banks and the existing and future policies on indigenous peoples of United Nations bodies and other multilateral bodies should be implemented in all climate change

 The Social Dimension of climate change needs to be

considered so that the social and cultural impacts on indigenous peoples including indigenous women are more visible.  State parties and UN policies and programmes provide indigenous peoples with access to funds, technical advice and support for the self-development of adaptation actions for climate change.  Effective participation of Indigenous Peoples should be ensured in the formulation and implementation of national policies on climate change.

Last but not the Least…………………..
 ”I am convinced that climate change, and what we

do about it, will define us, our era, and ultimately the global legacy we leave for future generations. Today, the time for doubt has passed.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, 24 September 2007
 Thank You