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Combating Climate Change in Nepal!

National Youth Conference on Climate ChangeNepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) in support of Clean Energy NepalPlan NepalUNICEFWorld Vision and Save the Children organized the 4th National Youth Climate Summit "National Youth Conference on Climate Change" as a side event of the 8th Conference on Community Based Adaption to Climate Change (CBA-8)  between 27-29 April, 2014. 

The conference was organized in Kathmandu, Nepal, with the objective of broaching up the hottest issues of recent years like climate change in order to boost the 100 children and youths that assisted to the summit to take action. Besides, one of the event’s goals was to push up collectively local as well as international authorities to plan and develop strategies towards reducing the climate change impact.

Measures to combat Climate Change

NYCA was established in 2008 under the slogan "Caring for Climate, Caring for ourselves" with the scope of promoting an economically prosperous and sustainable Nepal where youth could play an active role in leading the society towards a cleaner future. Ever since, this organization has been conducting many national youth summits, campaigns, and programs at regular basis, as this 3-day National Youth Climate Summit.

The first day of the conference was inaugurated by the Program director of Clean Energy Nepal, Sunil Acharya, together with the Former environment minister, Ganesh Thapa, as well as many other representatives from World Vision, Save the Children, Plan International Nepal and NYCA. After the introductory speech, the participants had the opportunity to visit the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) knowledge park, Godwari, which is an illustrious site due to the implementation of different adaptive measures to mitigate the devastating impacts of climate change like: fog and rain water harvesting, Sloppy Agriculture Land Technology (SALT), Solar parabolic cooker, 3D farming, vermicomposting, etc.

During the visit, the attendees got to know that the Government of Nepal has initiated several activities to carry out into effect mitigation and adaption measures to combat climate change problems. Moreover, along with national and international commitments, various governmental and non-profit organizations have included within their priorities initiatives like the Sustainable development agenda, Millennium Development Goals, National capacity self assessment goals, National adaption program for action, or Local adaption plan of action.

Raising awareness on Natural Risks

The second day turned out to be even more interesting and motivating as its areas of focus were the introduction to the CBA-8, telling a story and an action plan preparation. This day was dignified by the presence of Dr. Saleemul Huq, one of the lead authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 3rd report; Mrs. Caroline, Regional Climate Coordinator from Plan International and other representatives from the CBA-8. While Dr. Huq vouched to address the issue of Kathmandu Declaration in Kathmandu Action Plan, most of the representatives focused on the youths ‘performance and their capacities to ensure climate justice to upcoming generations.

After that, two youngsters called Ganesh Thapa and Niraj Sijapati told a really brain hammering story titled "Mahkali to Bagmati Jalabyau Yatra,” in which they raised awareness on the natural risks of deforestation, land pollution, or fuel scarcity, among other topics. Besides this, the participants organized an energizing session on preparing a competitive action plan. Here, participants were grouped according to their developing regions so that each one had to present afterwards an action plan to address climate change.

Big responsibility in the hands of youth

The third day was the most important and most awaited day of the conference. It counted with the presence of Christiania Figueres, Executive Secretary of the United Nation's Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Recalling her childhood and source of inspiration, Figueres stressed about the necessity to develop sense of responsibility within the youth in order to motivate the rest of the society.

And then one of the most important events of the conference arrived: the preparation and launch of "Kathmandu Youth Declaration, 2014" which reckoned the agendas of youths empowerment and mobilization from ground level to policy making level; focused on mitigation and adaption measures at local level; encouraged research and long term monitoring as well as the youth inclusion in the new constituent assembly.

All in all, even if the initiatives that Nepal is trying to implement are not enough to combat the soaring impacts of climate change this three day-summit was really energizing, motivating and fruitful for the young generations, who have learned the big responsibility they have to accomplish what discussed.

Picture credit: Group photo with Christiania Figueres, by NYCA.