The magnitude, extent and consequences of climate change impacts on the ecosystems and economic development sectors at the global level and South Asia in particular. We understand that the cost of climate change to mankind and maintenance of development is clear. It is also clear that people are dying from malnutrition and poverty on the one hand and there is a need for diverting our huge human and economic resources to address the impact of climate change for which developing and least developed countries (LDC) are not responsible.
The gravity of the problems is great and it requires more integrated and connected efforts to least impact on natural, social and economic sectors at different levels as a matter of high priority.
Global warming is a natural process but anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases have accelerated it. The fourth Assessment Report of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate System (IPCC) has stressed that warming of the climate system is unequivocal. The impacts of increased temperature are already being felt and are visible in melting glaciers, rising sea levels, more frequent storms and extreme weather events. The impacts are not distributed evenly; those worst affected are the developing countries who have contributed least greenhouse gas emissions, Industrialized countries have greater historical responsibility for global warming.
The South Asia region-characterized by dense population and diversity in ecology, geography-sea coast to Himalayas- and natural resources is likely to be greatly impacted from climate change phenomenon people, resources and development of this region are especially vulnerable to climate change impacts. The South Asian Himalayas are the sources of the mightily rivers of the region that supply the world's most densely populated flood plains, settled by over 700 million people. Living with the natural disaster has been a part of life of least developed countries people in the last two decades. The frequency and incidence of such natural disasters has increased due to unwanted accelerated climate change. Sea level rise poses an existential threat to the Maldives, and could disrupt economic activity for millions of people living along the coastal belt and mountains of South Asia. More frequent extreme weather events such as storm surge, cyclones, floods and droughts are affecting agricultural production across the region and will cause further economic damage. In sum, unchecked climate change poses a serious long-term threat to the region's economic prosperity and could jeopardize and make development futile.
|Climate change in Mt. Everest|
Nepal is bestowed with number of Himalayas including "roof of the world"- The Mount Everest. Nepal has over 3250 glaciers covering a total area of 5310 sq. Km. About 20 lakes in Nepal Himalaya or considered most threatened. The Glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating faster than any glaciers in the world. Glacier melt in Himalayas is projected to increased flooding, rock avalanches, and affect water resources within the two to three decades. These have been more than 13 reported cases of glacier lake outburst flood events in the Nepal Himalayas since 1964 causing substantial damage to people's lives, livestock, land, environmental resources and infrastructures for example, Dig Tsho GLOF in Nepal completely washed away a Namche Hydropower plant 14 bridges, many houses and trekking trials and cost many lives. At the present rate of average annual temperature increased by 0.06 Degree Celsius. Along with this alarming threat in water resources sectors, impact of climate change has been noticed in health, agriculture and forestry sector, impact of climate change has been notices in health, agriculture and forestry sectors as well.
Economic development, urbanization, industrialization and population growth are fueled by arising energy demands. Although per capita Green House Gases (GHG) emission of the regions are still extremely low – less than one-tenth of the developed countries, increased use of fossil fuel might accelerate GHG emissions more rapidly in process of enhancing economic prosperity and reducing porverty.
In order to address the emerging threats of climate change and ensure the protection of global human and natural resources, international community adopted the UNFCCC as a global framework for managing the climate change. The parties of the convention adopted Kyoto protocol to meet the conventions ultimate objective of achieving stabilization of GHGs concentration in the atmosphere with the guiding principles of common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capacities of the developed and developing countries parties to the convention and the Kyoto protocol. It is expected that developed country parties will meet their commitment of reducing GHGs emissions, as stipulated in the Kyoto Protocol.
The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report has clearly urged the international community to take urgent actions for reducing GHG emissions and keep the temperature rise well below 2 Degree Celsius. Also in response to this, conference to the parties to the UNFCCC, at its thirteenth session in Bali in December 2007 adopted the Bali Action Plan. The Bali action plan also called for making necessary decisions on enhanced national international actions mitigation, adaptation, technology development and transfer, and financial resources and investment to, inter alliance.
As we all know, scientific research studies are lacking or inadequate to understand the impacts of climate change in the different ecosystem in South Asia - the lowland to mountains- and upland-lowland interrelationships and inter-dependencies. We have to concentrate on sharing information and experiences to enhance our understanding on the impact of climate change right from the Himalayas to the sea-coast and develop common approach on adaptation, technology and financing and long-term cooperative goals. We have to also discussed on development needs along with poverty reduction and aspiration of the peoples of this region and develop guiding principles for climate change negotiations. Issued related to human survival and need for atmospheric space for sustainable development and poverty reduction are the overriding principle for collaborative efforts.
(Reference: This article base on compile of International Forum Speech of H.E. Madhav Kumar Nepal -Former Prime Minister of Nepal)