“NAP On NAPA And LAPA Experiences”

As Nepal has shown how community mobilization can make a difference in local adaptation programs, Naresh Sharma, head of Climate Finance Management Section in the Ministry of Population and Environment, is leading the NCCSP as the National Program Manager, and the NAP process as the NAP Coordinator. He spoke to New Spotlight on various issues. Excerpts:

Issue Name : Vol 10, No 4, September 16,2016 (Bhadra 31, 2073)
“NAP On NAPA And LAPA Experiences”

How is Nepal focusing on climate change adaptation as a Party to the Climate Change Convention?

We are developing our adapting capacity to every 'shock' and event. We are also adapting to last year's earthquake. However, adaptation here is related to climate change. As you know, Nepal is a Party to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) since 1994. As a Party, Nepal should implement the relevant provisions of the Convention. As a least developed country (LDC) Party, Nepal has no global commitment for greenhouse gas emissions reduction but Nepalese people and ecosystems are adversely affected from climate change impacts. This has been realized at different levels.

As per the commitments in the Convention, developed countries should support the LDCs to adapt to climate change impacts. This resulted in the decision, popularly known as Marrakech Accord in 2001, which supported the LDCs in preparing National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA), using the NAPA preparation guidelines and in accessing climate finance from the LDC Fund for the implementation of NAPA prioritized most urgent and immediate adaptation actions. The NAPA also opened multiple windows for multilateral and bilateral supports.

How do you see the NAPA process?

In Nepal, the Ministry of Population and Environment (MoPE), UNFCCC focal point, prepared NAPA in September 2010 and implementation of NAPA prioritized adaptation options was started immediately. The Nepal Climate Change Support Programme (NCCSP) under implementation, with support from DFID and EU, follows the LAPA (Local Adaptation Plan for Action) framework in most climate vulnerable 14 districts of mid- and far west Nepal. LAPAs have been implemented in 87 Village Development Committees and 9 municipalities in these 14 districts. In this context, NAPA is an entry point for adaptation action in Nepal and LAPA is a 'flagship initiative' of the Government of Nepal in localizing climate change adaptation actions. Several organizations are now implementing adaptation actions in different parts of the country and are helping the people to build their adaptive capacity.

How is the NCCSP being implemented in most climate vulnerable districts of mid-and far west Nepal?

The NCCSP is focusing on addressing climate change vulnerabilities in 14 districts. Adaptation actions are identified, prioritized and implemented by the local people themselves, who were also engaged in LAPA preparation. In fact, LAPA is 'for the people, by the people, and to the people' and LAPA benefits are coming to fruition over the years.

At the local level, DDCs are taking the lead role in LAPA implementation by engaging line agencies (LAs), users committees (UCs) and NGOs based on their expertise and experience. Basically, infrastructures are being implemented through UCs. These local bodies are playing significant role in delivering adaptation actions at community level. Several LDCs have also asked us on ways to localize adaptation actions and help people to adapt to climate change by building their adaptive capacity. I recall, Nepal has been given in number of events an opportunity to share experiences and lessons learned from LAPAs.

After successfully implementing NCCSP in various districts, how do you see the future of Local Adaptation Plan for Action (LAPA)?

In fact, LAPA is Nepal's 'flagship' initiative. We are documenting experiences and lessons learned from poor and climate vulnerable people of mid- and far west Nepal on how local adaptation actions could be designed and implemented to improve their livelihood as well. Several studies and mid-term evaluation also recommended for scaling up LAPAs. LAPAs remained effective to build the adaptive capacity of poor and vulnerable people living in remote and isolated villages of 14 districts of far and mid-western region.  Several local bodies have approached us for LAPA project in their areas. The spotlight has also communicated in its previous issues how LAPA is providing adaptation services to the poor people.

How do you see the response of the local bodies and local people in the first phase of LAPA implementation?

Local people are fully engaged in LAPA preparation and implementation. I consider, local body in the respective district functions as the 'medium' to facilitate and assist LAPAs preparation and implementation. Local bodies are providing additional support to advance adaptation actions in the field. In case of LAPA implementation in Nepal, local people are not only beneficiaries but they are also planner, implementer and evaluator. At the same time, they are also playing significant role in integrating adaptation action into local development planning.

How do you see NCCSP?

The NCCSP, in addition to LAPA delivery, convened several awareness raising and capacity building activities for the local stakeholders and community people. As a result of which community people are now able to articulate their adaptation needs and to integrate them into local planning process, which is the great achievement in internalizing the climate change adaption into development planning. In this way the NCCSP is also supporting the local bodies and local people in identifying, designing and implementing adaptation actions. In fact, local bodies and local people are the designer and implementer of LAPAs.

During the climate change summit in Paris, global community has also acknowledged the successful implementation of NCCSP. What do you suggest to make it more effective?

The NCCSP approach of integrating adaptation into planning process was recognized within 5 out of 170 submissions from several countries, under the Nairobi Work Programme on impacts, vulnerability and adaptation to climate change, in Paris in 2015. In July 2016, NCCSP received 'people's champion' award from Adaptation Funds' 2016 global photo contest, and its 3 other photos received 'honourable mentions'. These recognitions indicate that our activities are closely watched by the relevant international organizations and they urge Nepal to scale up and widen LAPA activities.

I think, future climate change adaptation actions should fully recognize the experiences, skills developed and lessons learned from LAPAs. They are the 'building blocks' and it is necessary to build future projects from what NCCSP has implemented in the field.

How many people from how many villages benefited from the NCCSP?

The NCCSP is designed to address the poor and climate vulnerable communities. Some activities have also contributed to conserve terrestrial or aquatic ecosystems or restore the functioning of such systems thus contributing to ecosystem-based adaptation.

How many people benefited from NCCSP?

The NCCSP has effectively delivered 2,303 adaptation actions against a target of 2,680 actions. The Programme has directly and indirectly benefitted a total of 590,760 community people of which 341,377 (50% women) have been directly benefited. A total of 358,727 people have participated and were directly engaged in Programme implementation. Local people have reported the NCCSP as a gender-friendly adaptation programme, as it is, through LAPA implementation has helped to address both practical and strategic adaptation needs of women. In fact, people living in 87 VDCs and 9 municipalities are directly benefitted from LAPA activities in terms of developing their 'adaptive capacity and improving the livelihoods or conserving the water sources.

As the government is designing its second phase, how will it be different than the first phase?

Yes, it is likely that NCCSP second phase will be supported to expand LAPAs implementation. I consider that programme design team is engaged in understanding both from project review and field visit on what was planned, what has been implemented and which of the activities are effective to address the local needs and build climate resilience. I hope the team will design its second phase to replicate the good practices, refine modality for people's participation,  and fund mobilisation, monitoring and communication, and provide 'strategic interventions' to improve the living condition of the poor people while assisting to develop and use capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. Future interventions may require updates on vulnerability of people and natural resources, and revisiting of LAPA framework to build design capacity. Rather accommodative nature of future LAPAs have to be more CCA focused and include bigger projects having greater impacts.

Why do you think, is NCCSP successful?

This question should be asked to others as I am engaged in implementing the NCCSP from the very beginning. However, I am proud to be associated with this Programme, in particular supporting the poor and climate vulnerable communities of the NCCSP target districts, VDCs and municipalities. Some of the reasons behind its success are effective coordination at various levels, ownership taken by the government and local people, and predefined target groups that are climate vulnerable communities.

Another important aspect of the NCCSP is that it has been able to translate the policy statement into reality by flowing more than 80% of its total financial resources at the local level. The Climate Change Policy states that 80% of the programme resources should be allocated to the local level activities.

I consider that its success is evaluated by the international communities. As I mentioned above, delegates from developed or developing countries or LDCs attending the UNFCCC meetings ask us about LAPA implementation. In my understanding, our local adaptation actions are now being 'internationalised' as LAPAs. I think, this is a great achievement and this should be scaled-up.

As government is engaged in preparing the National Adaptation Plan (NAP), how NAPA and LAPA and other adaptation projects will contribute to address medium- and long-term adaptation needs of the country?

Yes, Nepal as a Party to the UNFCCC is now engaged in formulating the NAP. The MoPE in its capacity as the focal point for UNFCCC has launched the NAP formulation process in September 2015 and has mobilized experts from May 2016. The NAP team is now engaged in advancing the NAP process under the MoPE leadership.

Parties to the UNFCCC in 2010 in Cancun, Mexico established a process to enable LDC Parties to formulate and implement NAP, building upon their experience in preparing and implementing NAPAs, as a means of identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs and developing and implementing strategies and programmes to address those needs. This decision is very clear and urges LDCs to build on NAPA experiences. The Paris Agreement also calls for engaging in adaptation planning process by formulating and implementing NAPs.

How is the state of NAPA?

In Nepal, we are implementing NAPA prioritized adaptation options through LAPA framework. Hence, our approach is to maximize the experiences and lessons learned from implementation of NAPA through LAPAs, including other climate adaptation and resilience programmes and activities during the NAP formulation process, and in broader sense, in identifying medium- and long-term adaptation needs. In a nutshell, our adaptation approach is an interface of NAPA-LAPA and NAP.

Can you briefly explain, how do you formulate the NAP for Nepal?

The objective of NAP is clear. It aims to reduce vulnerability to the impacts of climate change, by building adaptive capacity and resilience; and to facilitate the integration of CCA into relevant new and existing policies, programmes and activities, in particular development planning processes and strategies, within all relevant sectors and at different levels, as appropriate.

In order to meet these objectives, Nepal is formulating the NAP through working group approach. Seven thematic working groups (TWGs) and two cross-cutting working groups (CWGs) will be engaged to advance the NAP process. The TWGs are on agriculture and food security, climate-induced disasters, forests and biodiversity, health and WASH, tourism natural and cultural heritage, urban settlement and infrastructure, and water resources and energy. The CWGs are on gender and social inclusion, and livelihood and governance.

How is the state of NAP?

Each TWG/CWG will be coordinated by the concerned ministry. It means nine ministries will be directly engaged in coordinating the TWGs/CWGs and MoPE has the responsibility of overall coordination, communication, back-up support and making the NAP comprehensive for medium- and long-term adaptation needs of the country. It is expected that over 200 institutions and individuals will be directly engaged in TWGs and CWGs.

The MoPE has adopted 'no one leaving behind' approach in NAP formulation process. This process will also help, inter alia, in building 'country capacity', engaging multi-stakeholders, generating knowledge, linking with disaster risk reduction and sustainable development goals (SDGs), and synergizing ecosystem-based and community-based adaptations. Taking into consideration the 2030 SDGs and national policies and programs, we have initially considered 2018-2030 period as medium-term and up to 2050 as long-term for the NAP purpose. Let us hope that NAP process will enhance ownership and ensure implementation of adaptation options to help Nepalese poor and climate vulnerable communities, and ecosystems to adapt and build resilience to climate change impacts.

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