20 - 26 September 2013 #674

Nepali climate activist at int'l meet

Nepali climate activist at int’l meet

From 20-23 September a powerful cohort of women leaders from around the world will come together in New York to draft the Women’s Climate Action Agenda at the first International Women’s Earth and Climate Summit.

Pasang Dolma Sherpa from Nepal will join the conference that includes a compelling mix of policymakers, business leaders, former head of states, scientists, indigenous leaders and activists. Summit delegates will gather on the eve of Climate Week and the United Nations General Assembly session, as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) prepares to release its much anticipated Assessment Report.

Pasang Dolma Sherpa is the national coordinator of the Climate Change Program at the Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) and used to teach Environmental Education and Sustainable Development at Kathmandu University. Sherpa spoke to Nepali Times before leaving for New York on Wednesday. Excerpts:

Nepali Times: What are you looking forward to in the Women’s Earth and Climate Summit?

Pasang Dolma Sherpa: I have closely followed climate negotiations for many years now. It has only been a few years since gender entered the discourse. Women are at the frontlines of climate change impact. They are the ones who have to travel longer to fetch water as nearby sources start drying up, spend more time collecting fodder. This is the first time so many women from diverse backgrounds have come together to raise a collective voice for implementation of gender responsive climate change policy and programs. I will raise environmental concerns that continue to affect women in our communities and their roles in natural resource management and knowledge transfer.

Where does Nepal stand in the global climate negotiations?

Nepal is the chair of the least developed countries bloc at the UN. So it needs to strongly lobby for proper mechanisms including financial support to ensure technology transfer to vulnerable countries like Nepal which, despite its negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emission, continues to bear the brunt of the changing climate.

How do you assess activities in Nepal to adapt to climate change?

Most of the programs here have a top-down approach. Men sitting in Kathmandu decide what problems farmers in Dang or Morang might have, and propose solutions accordingly. People facing problems at the ground level need to be engaged because they will have local solutions to their problems. In fact many communities rely on their indigenous farming practices to cope with unpredictable weather events.

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