Climate change adaptation in Nepal

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Climate change (CC) refers "to the variation of earth’s global or regional climate over a long period of time, whether due to natural variability as normal changes or it is the result of human induced activities" IPCC, 2007d:30. By the impact of climate change, as systems become more vulnerable to natural hazards, there is a greater need to develop responses (that is, adjustments in existing practices, processes or structures) that are able to counter potential future disasters. Such a response is known as adaptation to climate change IPCC, 2001b; Smit et al., 1999. Community forest user group (CFUG)[1] is main areas to act climate change adaptation in Nepal.

Nepal's National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA)

In 2010, the Government of Nepal approved National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA). NAPA developed as a requirement under the UNFCCC to access funding for the most urgent and immediate adaptation needs from the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDCF).

In Nepal, NAPA developed with the three components:Preparation and dissemination of NAPA document, development and maintenance of Nepal Climate Change Knowledge Management Centre (NCCKMC) and development of Multi-Stakeholder Climate Change Initiative Coordination Committee (MCCICC)

In the NAPA of Nepal, nine integrated projects have been identified as the urgent and immediate national adaptation priority. They are:

  1. Promoting Community-based Adaptation through Integrated Management of Agriculture, Water, Forest and Biodiversity Sector
  2. Building and Enhancing Adaptive Capacity of Vulnerable Communities Through Improved System and Access to Services Related to Agriculture Development
  3. Community-Based Disaster Management for Facilitating Climate Adaptation
  4. GLOF Monitoring and Disaster Risk Reduction and forest and Ecosystem Management for Supporting Climate-Led Adaptation Innovations
  5. Adapting to Climate Challenges in Public Health and ecosystem Management for Climate Adaptation
  6. Empowering Vulnerable Communities through Sustainable Management of Water Resource and Clean Energy Support and promoting Climate Smart Urban Settlement

NAPA’s implementation framework envisages that the operating costs will be kept to a minimum and at least 80% of the available financial resources will reach the local level to fund activities on the ground. Stakeholders in Nepal has also started discussing National Adaptation Plans(NAPs), which is medium and long term adaptation plan for country as decided by UNFCCC.[2]

Effect of climate change in Nepal

The effects of green house gases (GHGs) on both drought and flooding events have been found, including severe winter drought[3] and excessive monsoon flooding.[4] CC has been alarming in the world by global warming which caused by increasing concentration of green house gases (GHGs) Physical impacts of climate change & Deforestation. In Nepal, 95% of GHGs emissions from agriculture and forestry sectors where 77% from forestry sector only.[5] The consequences of global warming have seemed globally to specifically in developing and in to mountainous countries like Nepal has high intensity rainfall during rainy season. It resulted heavy floods, landslides and soil erosion. It also common to find drought in many parts of Nepal that comes out the impacts of climate change are evidences on sectors like forests, water resources, agriculture, human health and biodiversity in Nepal.[6] Likewise, altogether 14 glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs)[7] have happened between 1935 & 1991 in Nepal. In total, 21 GLOFs[8] have been identified as being potentially dangerous at present. In this way, CC and livelihoods integral part and have vice versa relationship. The low income & subsistence users are about 38% of total population Nepal lies below the poverty line have hard time to afford for their livelihoods in Nepal. That is a great challenge to cope with climate change induced hazard & extreme events. The livelihoods of more than 80% local people of hilly region are heavily depending on climate sensitive area such as agriculture, forest and livestock and on other natural resources such as water & irrigation.

Potentiality of climate change adaptation

Response to climate change in Nepal has been growing in recent years with an effort to cope with the changing situation and build resilience capacity into adaptation to climate change. In climate induced vulnerability context, Nepal developed policy level provision regarding to adaptation policy called National Adaptation Programme of Action to climate change (NAPA).[9] The NAPA document opened the door to act adaptation activities into country. Under the provision of national level policy, Local Adaptation Plan of Action (LAPA) national framework [10] devised out by government. It only mentioned the provision of the implementation mechanism at district or village development committee level to act climate change adaptation. However, this document is still silent to provision of implementation mechanism at community level. Though there are still silent to act adaptation implementation mechanism at community level, some community level adaptive strategies are being implemented as community based adaptation plan for poor & vulnerable communities and who have less capacity to cope with disaster and are more dependent on natural resources for their livelihoods.

Goods and services from community forest

After 3 decades of CF in Nepal, more than 1.652 million forest lands handed over to 1.45 million households of 17685 community forest user group (CFUG)[11] to conserve, manage and utilization . CFUG as a common property resource management program in Nepal have resulted in improving forest cover and condition.By institutionally, Community forest user group is autonomous, independent and accountable institution for conserving, managing and utilizing of natural resources in Nepal legitimized by Forest Act 1992 and Forest Regulation 1995 of Nepal. The additional advantages are as effective protection, wise use of resources, plantation, forest fire control, and more effective contribution to local development and economic generation. It enhanced biodiversity, water flow and soil stability. More than 90% of villagers report that their forests are in better condition than a decade ago. Furthermore, CFs are able to meet poor & vulnerable household's daily subsistence needs for forest products such as firewood, fodder, & timbers. Apart from this, growing forests capture and store carbon that are contributing to both mitigation and adaptation to CC. Because of, user groups have institutionally developed after CF handed over. Furthermore, the landscape of hills of Nepal drastically transformed into greenery.[12] Such types of changes have positive impact on carbon sequestration which has contributed in reducing effects of climate change.

It is not only the CF contributing in climate change adaptation by providing goods and services, the CFUGs have also been used as local institutions for adaptation planning.[13]


Traditional top-down decision-making processes have become inadequate, due to their inability to create appropriate solutions for local communities. Nepal's forest cover, condition and quality are being improved. This is the success of only through three way partnership such as communities from bottom-up function, government & donor from top-down function and NGOs, civil society network from outside-in. In this situation, CFUGs have to be involved in mainstreaming to implement climate change adaptation. It is due to they are playing the key role in proactive in investing their funds, climate change knowledge transfer and policy feedback to adopt to the impact of climate change. Policy shall be emphasized the establishing groups around the resources that are indispensable for the livelihoods of poor and vulnerable groups to access diversification opportunity. It is necessary to bridge this gap; bottom-up approaches may produce the best results by building on local experiences and knowledge. For this, building-up the capacity of groups and their poor and vulnerable communities on climate change mitigation and adaptation is pertinent. In addition to this, focus needs to be given on institutional development, capacity building and awarding CFUGs for their good work on forest development and bio-diversity protection which ultimately contributes to ecological and environment balance.


  1. Department of Forest/GoN from
  2. Clean Energy Nepal from
  3. Wang et al. 2014
  4. Cho et al. 2015
  5. MoST 2004 Initial National Communication Report on Climate Change.: Ministry of Science and Technology, Government of Nepal, submitted to UNFCCC.
  6. Hibiba, Gitay, et al. 2002 Climate Change and Biodiversity. IPCC Technical Paper IV. ICIMOD
  7. Mool, PK; Bajracharya, SR; Joshi, SP (2001)Inventory of Glaciers, glacial lakes, glacial lake outburst floods monitoring and early warning system in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, Nepal. Kathmandu, Nepal:ICIMOD
  8. Mool, PK; Bajracharya, SR; Joshi, SP (2001)Inventory of Glaciers, glacial lakes, glacial lake outburst floods monitoring and early warning system in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region, Nepal. Kathmandu, Nepal:ICIMOD
  9. NAPA 2010 National Adaptation Programmes of Actions: Ministry of Environment/GoN,
  10. LAPA Nov 2011 Local Adaptation Plan of Action National Framework: Ministry of Science, Technology & Environment, Government of Nepal
  11. Department of Forest/GoN from
  12. Community based Conservation Is It make effective, efficient and sustainable? from
  13. "Integrating Climate Change Adaptation with Local Development: Exploring Institutional Options". Retrieved 2016-03-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>