News and Declaration
News and Declaration
Civil society network hails Guterres' visit to Nepal

Urge to prioritize mountain agenda in global climate negotiations

KATHMANDU, Oct 31: Civil Society organizations have hailed UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres’ visit to Nepal saying that it marked a significant step in fortifying global cooperation in addressing the pressing issues faced by the world's most vulnerable nations.

In a letter addressed to the general secretary, they urged the UN top official to prioritize the mountain agenda in the global climate change policy framework. "We urge all the stakeholders to prioritize the urgent and comprehensive integration of mountain-specific concerns and solutions into the international climate policy framework," Climate and Development Dialogue, a joint platform of 11 civil society organizations and Climate Action Network South Asia (CANSA) said on Monday.

Stating that the mountains are at the forefront of the climate crisis, they wrote to the UN secretary-general, "Your visit to the mountains of Nepal and interaction with affected communities reaffirm your commitment to understanding their challenges firsthand."

Nepal is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change due to its specific topography and geography. Based on extreme weather events in the last 20 years, Nepal is among the 10 most vulnerable countries in the world. "Nepal, like many other developing countries, is grappling with the profound impacts of climate change alongside economic and social adversities," reads the letter.

Various studies have shown that the Hindkush Himalayan Cryosphere, a vital water resource for over 2 billion people in the South Asian region, faces an alarming decline of one-third of its glacier volume by the century's end. "The loss of 80 percent of the current glacier volume by the end of the century looms as an unprecedented threat to the region, accelerating species extinction and intensifying hazards like floods, landslides, and droughts," the civil society networks said.

They expressed displeasure over the lack of attention to the mountain agenda in global climate dialogue. "It is disheartening that despite mounting evidence, global acknowledgment of the pivotal role played by mountains in sustaining global resources and serving as lifelines for over 2 billion inhabitants remains insufficient," they said.

They urged for the integration of the mountain agenda into discussions regarding the Global Goal on adaptation, the doubling of adaptation finance, the Sharm-el-Sheikh work program on mitigation, L&D financing, the New Quantified Goal on Climate Finance, and the standing committee on climate finance. Furthermore, they warned that the failure to prioritize the mountain agenda in climate negotiations and international processes leaves mountain populations vulnerable to the perilous impacts of climate change. 

These civil society organizations emphasized on the immediate need to implement and scale up locally led adaptation measures, including ecosystem-based adaptation, nature-based solutions and disaster risk reduction tailored to address the specific vulnerabilities of mountain regions. "We emphasize the promotion of indigenous and local knowledge and practices to conserve bio-cultural heritage and foster sustainable mountain development," they said.