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Learning from Panel Discussion on Climate Change and Youth in COP26

By:  Shreyashi Bista

Recently, I joined YPARD which is an international movement by young professionals working effectively to build up young awareness about agricultural development and connecting and empowering youths in food systems. Meanwhile, I got information about the workshop "Panel Discussion on Climate Change and Youth, with How was COP26" which was jointly organized by Green Rangers Earth and YPARD Nepal, aiming to discuss about the major highlights, goals and outcomes of the 2021Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26). In this webinar, Mr. Lalmani Wagle and Ms. Prakriti Koirala (both climate activist and participants of COP26) and Mr. Kamal Dev Bhattarai(Journalist) were invited as speakers.

I attended this webinar where Mr. Wagle and Ms. Koirala gave us the highlights of COP26, Nepal's commitments, weaknesses, youth participation and way forward and Mr. Bhattarai gave his perception about the event. The COP26 majorly focused on decreasing the global temperature to 1.5o C and achieving net zero emission till mid century as per the target set by the Paris Agreement. It prioritized and ensured proper adaptation measures for different vulnerable ecosystems and communities and the effects from already accumulated greenhouse gases. The COP26, undoubtedly provided a better outlook to the parties by fulfilling the climate pact of providing subsidies to various fossil fuels, and similarly, COP document, for the first time had spoken about the phase down of the dirtiest fossil fuels (coal). However, the extent to which these commitments should be accomplished has not yet been done and the urgency for action was not still seen among the parties.

Youths from a wide range of networks and organizations mostly raised their voices in support of urgent climate justice and net-zero emissions with time constraints. Their engagement was more than average, and youths were being more aware of climate change adversities. However, it is not only participation that matters; it is the meaningful and quality engagement, as well as a commitment to work in the climate change sector that defines the success of their participation in COP26. Youth should examine and follow up on the progress of Nepal's Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) implementation, such as the amount of development of electricity-based systems and the adaptation system to climate induced disasters.

At the COP26 meeting, Nepal has committed to achieving net zero emissions by 2045 and to increase the total forest cover to 45%. It has also committed to decrease the risk and vulnerability from climate change completely till 2030. Other countries who participated in COP26 highly praised Nepal's involvement since it was structured, with a focus person for each crucial subject and as youths were being taken for substantial discussion. Alongside, there were also several weaknesses that Nepal displayed as they have talked about the natural extremities, losses, and damages, but they could not present evidence-based arguments for it, for example, the extremities of Melamchi Disaster, 2021 in Nepal. Furthermore, political turmoil is a significant impediment to putting climate change mitigation measures in place. The country leaders are constantly changing and the older issues remain as they are, when the leaders are changed.

Nepal has proposed a number of determined changes it would bring, but each of them relies on donations provided from developed countries, in absence of which there lies no basis. Developed countries are seen to be in no position to reduce emissions and meet their targets, putting developing countries at a disadvantage. Yet, the developed countries hold no accountability for their actions.Political leaders and concerned authorities must sensitively realize the problem of climate change rather than only displaying their insignificant attendance at . Similarly, Nepal must need scientific evidence to support all of the climate change catastrophes it claims to have witnessed.

In a nutshell, this webinar reflected the present status, commitments, efforts that need to be put forward, youth engagement in decreasing the impacts of climate change, urgency of emission reduction and Nepal's participation and contribution to COP26. It was a very fruitful session for the ones who wanted to know meticulously about COP26. I am grateful towards the organizing committee, especially Mr. Sagar Koirala & Mr. Abhishek Khadka, for providing us the opportunity to learn. 

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Friday, 12 April 2024

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