September Analysis: National Security and Climate Change

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The government has been slow and there is no progress in the country’s health system. Despite, the lessons over the years health security are still considered a prime concern for the country. Similarly, Climate Change mitigation for Nepal, as Nepal is one of the vulnerable countries to impacts of climate change cannot be ignored. Since Nepal will be attending the upcoming COP 27, the country has to be prepared on the matters of agendas it would like to promote. Hence, conclaves have been held to determine the climate change agenda for Nepal.

Timeline of Major Events

DateEvent
September 7The first assembly Climate Action Campaign was held.  
September 8In an event organised by the WHO Southeast Asia Region, including Nepal, other countries have committed to preventing and controlling non -communicable diseases.
September 21
Nepal, France collaborate for green financing in the country
September 23Foreign Secretary of Nepal Mr. Bharat Raj Paudyal participated in an Annual Ministerial Meeting of the Group of 77 (plus China) in New York.

Health security: a prime concern for the nation

According to Department of Health Services, Epidemiology and Disease Control Division, the current update in dengue cases totaled 28,109 in the year 2022. It has seen a significant rise in the month of September where in total 23514 cases were reported, which is a significant rise from the month of August and July, the reported cases were 3708 and 702 respectively. The substantial rise in cases from the past few months have towered over other diseases, for the reason, Ministry of Health and Population is on preparations to announce a dengue epidemic in the country. The alarming rate of spread and severity in the cases, hence, declared epidemic would necessitate the higher severity of the threat posed by the disease. Government, health institutions, and concerned authorities would be more alert to deliver in the times of crisis, and coordinate to minimize further spread of the disease.

Within a month’s time period, the dengue spread has raised concerns of blood shortage in the blood banks, paracetamol shortages and inadequacy of hospital beds. These are the basic health facilities that are fundamental to every citizen in their time of need, which the government is at the failure to provide in the current circumstances. This shows the severity of the disease spread and Nepal’s lack of health preparedness.

Over the years, dengue fever is shown to be a chronic problem in Nepal arising in the interval of 2-3 years, since the first case was seen in 2004. It has been highly predicted during the monsoon season. As a result, in 2019, the government announced the National Guidelines on Prevention, Management and Control of Dengue in Nepal which was first developed in 2008. Likewise, the rise in dengue cases was visible since from the past several months, the prevention campaigning was seen only to be increased this month. 38 deaths have been reported already. Even, the COVID-19 pandemic had recently pushed the health system of the country to a complete breakdown in preventing the deaths of many at the time. A series of immediate measures had to be taken to address the issues as the lack of health personnel, health facilities, health infrastructure and shortage of medical supplies which proved to be inadequate and people’s access to health care was unequal. The crisis at the hand shows the disappointment in implementing the guidelines and hesitancy on the part of the government to improve its health system over the years. Delay in improving the health systems of Nepal is a costly approach -risking many lives in the future.

Nepal’s way toward addressing the Climate Change issue

Melamchi Flood. Photo: RSS.

On September 11, an event held by the Ministry of Environment and Forest, half day round table discussion on Nepal’s strategic engagement in the 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussed the agenda faced by mountainous countries like Nepal due to rising temperature. To play a role in a global consensus on the issue of climate change which may lead to catastrophic consequences in the future, “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 ◦C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 ◦C above pre-industrial levels, recognizing that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”, Nepal requires to follow through on its promises. COP26 which was highlighted as the “make or break” opportunity for the countries to address climate change impacts. Nepal pledged to deliver on various environmental concerns: climate change mitigation through net zero carbon emission by 2045, electric vehicles; protecting vulnerable people from climate change by 2030; and maintaining 45% of the country under forest coverage. Many applauded Nepal’s visionary pledges but have doubts about its implementation efficacy towards the goals. The lack of coordination among the three tiers of the government has experts and stakeholders concerned about implementing the commitments.

In the event CoP 27, many experts have suggested holding on to the current commitments. Recommendations to Nepal declaring in a ‘state of the climate crisis, but was sidelined due to a lack of research studies to establish the truth. Nepal is also prioritising on ‘loss and damage’ agenda for the upcoming CoP27. A generic term used in UN climate negotiations, “loss and damage,” refers to the effects of climate change that people cannot adapt to or when there are solutions available but a community lacks the resources to access or take advantage of them. Loss and destruction affect vulnerable populations the most and will continue to do so, making a solution a matter of climate justice. A study by IIED, shows how Nepal is already facing loss and damage from climate change. It has been estimated that a developing country will face economic losses USD 1 – 1.8 trillion by 2050. Hence, a loss and damage agenda for Nepal might help Nepal receives finances to help mitigate the climate change issues in the country.

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