Statement delivered by Rt. Hon. President Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari at the COP 24, Katowice, Poland

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Statement by the President of Nepal Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari

at the 24th Conference of Parties to

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)

Katowice, Poland, 3 December 2018

Mr. Chairperson,

Nepal is a least developed country, comprised of the Himalayas, mountains and the plains known as the Terai.

We have been bearing the brunt of disproportionate impacts of climate change despite being a low carbon-emitting country.

Himalayan glaciers are melting; snow-capped mountains are becoming dark and dull; the possibility of glacial lake outbursts is high; and the river- basin system is adversely affected.

Avalanches, floods and landslides, and droughts have become more erratic than ever before.

The rural drinking-water system has been disturbed because of the undesirable impacts on natural resources.

We are compelled to spend significant amount of our national income in addressing disasters-induced problems.

Main productive land of Terai, ‘the granary’ of Nepal, is frequently affected by floods and inundation. Even more severe is the impact on agriculture sector.

Such disasters and incidences have more direct bearing on women and indigent people. We know the hardship of rural women, who are compelled to spend hours to fetch water for household consumption.

We feel as if we have been penalized for the mistakes we never made.

I would like to reiterate that it is incumbent upon the international community to ensure that justice is done.

We believe that the commitment to maintain the threshold of 1.5 degree Celsius as outlined in the recent IPCC Special Report will further encourage the world community to traverse resolutely in the path of low carbon emission.

We are a country that has been immensely contributing to controlling global warming.

Himalayan Ranges and high mountains including the Mt. Everest contribute to keeping air and water cool, refreshing and pure.

In fact, mountains and oceans form organic linkages to influence climate and weather patterns.

These mountains melt slowly yet continuously to recharge and humidify the land.

This water recharging system has a prime importance in controlling the temperature of the earth.

Value of such natural phenomenon should be realized by the high carbon emitting countries as well as the developed ones and ensure that the environment of mountainous countries is not exacerbated.

We are effortful in minimizing the vulnerability of climate change through the design and implementation of model projects as well as through measures such as National and Local Adaptation and Mitigation Plans of Action.

With a view to effectively implement the Paris Agreement, we are planning to review the Policy and update Nationally Determined Contributions to make them more relevant in the present context. A long-term strategy is being formulated for their implementation.

We have already started the use of electric vehicles at the President’s Office and we have a policy to extend this to other areas as well.

The Government of Nepal has initiated the President Chure Conservation Program with a view to implementing, in an integrated way, the environment conservation and livelihood programs in the Chure area, popularly known as Shiwalik in Nepal. We believe that this project will contribute to the protection and conservation of the environment of not only the Chure area but also the neighboring countries.

We are confident that the support and cooperation of the international community will be there in mobilizing knowledge, skills, technology and climate finance in our efforts to promoting study of Himalayan hydrological sciences, supporting sustainable mountain economy, pursuing economic and social development for shifting into renewable energy, employment generation, and ensure access of all Nepal is to clean energy.

We also believe that climate finance is critical also for developing e-mobility, reducing vulnerability of women and the poor, improving public health, and promotion of forests and natural system in the form of carbon sink.

Nepal remains committed to make the project implementation climate friendly and development efforts compatible with the Sustainable Development Goals.

It is our collective responsibility to protect our own and that of the future generations’ right to live in clean and safe natural environment.

Nepal is confident that CoP 24 will find pathways for the effective and faithful implementation of the Paris Accord.

Finally, I hope that this Conference will be able to make significant contributions to the global campaign of environment protection and conservation. I would like to extend my best wishes for the success of this Conference.

I thank you all.