ApEx round table: where are young Nepalese on climate issues?

The government has been working to finalize the agenda for the COP27 climate conference, which will be held in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, from November 6-18. He organized consultations with a wide range of stakeholders. In this context, ApEx organized a roundtable with young climate activists to solicit their views. Here is an excerpt from what they had to say:

The same group of people attend the climate conference

Saurav Dhakal, co-founder, Story Cycle

The issue of climate change must be analyzed at four levels: individual, community, national and international. The individual approach focuses on behavior change and sustainable practice. At the community level, local governments are expected to step in. The national level signifies government responsibilities and the international level relates to multinational programs and discussions. But our approach at all these levels is minimal.

Our government has no clear direction. For example, our Prime Minister has pledged to achieve net zero emissions by 2040, and at the same time the government is planning to extend the pipeline. These two planes clash.

At the international level too, our presence is hardly perceptible and we have hardly benefited from international facilities.

To make our voice heard at the COP climate summit and other international forums, our duties must be strong and for that, our institutions must be strong. We also need climate negotiations, but our issues and agendas must be bold and research-based. Bhutan does well in this regard.

It is impossible to have a diverse discussion as long as the same group of people represent Nepal at the climate conference. Members of civil society, young people, researchers and climate activists should also have the opportunity to attend the event.

There is also a lack of coordination at the ministry level. Government climate programs are often based in Kathmandu and never include broad stakeholders. We only learn about government climate programs through social media. This must change.

Indigenous peoples should join the international dialogue

Mega Maskey, Network Coordinator, Harin Nepal

The world has 1.8 billion young people. Nearly 40% of Nepal’s population is made up of young people. We therefore have great power, which we must use to implement climate action. And in many ways, we have already assumed our responsibility. The global climate strikes, for example, are mainly mobilized and led by young people. We have held the governments of the world accountable.

But despite all the contributions, young people barely have a chance in government and international climate forums. Our participation is minimal and sometimes we are invited just to fill the youth quota. There is youth participation in COP climate summits, but as audiences, not as negotiators. When it comes to negotiations and delegations, it’s still the same old politicians and bureaucrats. Essentially, young people have no meaningful participation.

At COP26, only 13 of the 75 Nepalese participants were women. There should be more inclusive participation. Those who have felt and lived with the impacts of climate change, such as indigenous peoples, should join international discussions. I think they could express the situation better. Their participation will also be a kind of symbolic protest against developed nations and major contributors to carbon emissions.

People working at the base are always ignored

Sagar Koirala, Youth Ambassador, Youth for Nature

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. While many young Nepalese have started working for climate advocacy, mainly on climate finance and loss and damage, they still lack government support. The government and other relevant authorities should team up with young people to tackle the climate crisis.

Nepal’s share of global carbon emissions is only 0.1%, but we are facing climate change. We should be focusing on climate and environment friendly policies, but the government has done the opposite. It studies the feasibility of oil extraction in Dailekh and Palpa districts and introduces counterproductive policies such as higher taxes on electric vehicles.

There are many people working on the grassroots to fight climate change, but they are not getting any support or recognition. They have more knowledge about climate adaptation, but they are rarely consulted or invited to national or international climate discussions.

At least the COP climate conference should be inclusive if we were to talk about the real agendas.

Knowledge transfer is lacking

Monica Neupane, President, Climate Nepal

This year, for the first time, I will participate in the COP27 climate summit, but I don’t know yet how things will go there. I have no idea about the trading process and anything else a participant needs to know. I have tried to understand these things without success. I believe this is due to the ignorance of our government bodies. They should have trained us, so that we too could make our voices heard. Participants from previous years failed to pass on their experience and knowledge to young people.

I worked for climate education with schools. A student from Sindhupalchok recently drowned in a river on his way to school. Water levels in the river have increased, which can be attributed to climate change. But the local population is unaware of this. They are daily confronted with the impacts of climate change.

If we could only educate them, it would help them prepare for future crises. This is especially true for the younger generation. There too, there is a lack of knowledge. It is not transmitted. The government needs to update the school curriculum. When it comes to climate change, there’s a lot to add.

What’s happening at COP27

  • COP27 will be an opportunity for countries to keep their promises and commitments to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to strengthen the implementation of the convention.
  • This year should see the implementation of the Glasgow Pact’s call to review ambition in the NDCs and create a work program for ambition on mitigation.
  • This summit is expected to witness strengthened global agendas for action on adaptation, confirming what was agreed in Paris and deepening the Glasgow Compact in terms of bringing adaptation to the forefront of the global action.
  • The summit will track progress in delivering the annual $100 billion to build trust between developed and developing countries, showing that real commitments are being met.
  • Improving and facilitating agreement in the negotiations is of the utmost importance for the COP27 Presidency in order to achieve tangible results in a balanced way.

Teresa H. Sadler