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Statement delivered by Mr. Tirtha Raj Wagle, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations, at the Informal Thematic Debate of the General Assembly on "Addressing climate change: The United Nations and the world at work"
New York, 13 February 2008
1. At the outset, allow me to begin by appreciating you, Mr. President, for convening this significant debate on addressing climate change. We also thank the Secretary General for his useful reports giving an overview of UN activities on climate change. My delegation is confident that this debate would help accelerate the constructive momentum generated by the Bali roadmap agreed last December.
2. Let me also associate myself with the statements made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and by Bangladesh on behalf of the Group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs).
3. It is an irony that the LDCs and Small Island States, which are least responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, are bearing the brunt of the effects of global climate change.
4. At a time when these countries are struggling in poverty trap, their scarce resources meant for development are drying up while unforeseen expenditures and climatic calamities are rising unabated along the way.
5. We cannot emphasize more on the importance of partnership and cooperation among government authorities, the UN and development agencies, non-government organizations, civil society and the business community in creating a sustainable climate future.
6. We need to galvanize common efforts under the UN frameworks – specifically the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), by sincerely fulfilling the obligations and commitments made in accordance with the principles of ‘common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities’.
7. Nepal is serious towards addressing climate change. We have promoted climate change perspective into our national development strategies and country specific priorities.
8. Expansion of alternate and renewable energy sources has been encouraged. We have successful examples from the community forestry development programmes as well as from the household biogas plants for cleaner domestic lighting and cooking being installed in cooperation of non-governmental organizations. These initiatives have brought social and environmental benefits to the rural areas. This has effectively contributed to environmental sustainability by showing cleaner energy path, ending deforestation, encouraging afforestation, and preserving bio-diversity. We need to foster such local environmental efforts by increased technical support.
9. As a country with snow-capped mountains and over 2,300 glacial lakes in the Himalayan region, Nepal is dangerously exposed to glacial lake outburst floods due to snow melting and unforeseen consequences to the people living downstream.
10. Depletion of Himalayan glaciers means reduced water resources for one fifth of the humanity. It will have detrimental effect on our hydropower potentials and agricultural production. And, it will fail efforts of sustainable mountain tourism.
11. Urgent adaptation needs of poor yet vulnerable countries like Nepal should be addressed before it would be too late to avert irreversible damages to human development potentials.
12. We underscore the importance of scientific information and public awareness to improve early warning capacity as well as to build resilience and preparedness of the vulnerable communities. And, in this regard, we urge the international community to support in establishing a research centre in Nepal with a view to facilitating scientific assessment of, and adaptation to climate change in the Himalayas.
13. Nepal appreciates the effective role of the United Nations for adaptation and mitigation efforts at the country level. We emphasize that greater attention should be given towards providing sustained, swift and substantial financial and technical assistance to the LDCs, poor mountainous countries and SIDS.
14. Equally imperative is that the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and its implementing agencies be more proactive in operationalising technical and funding resources, including the Least Developed Countries Fund (LDC Fund). Procedural aspects or any other technicalities should be simplified so as to ensure efficient implementation of National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA).
15. Similarly, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) under the Kyoto Protocol should be made more inclusive covering also small scale environmental conservation projects at the local level as they would bring social and environmental benefits to the poor people and promote low-carbon investments.
16. Thanks to the scientific evidence presented by the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and recent studies on the economics of climate change; and thanks to the efficient positioning of climate change as a top global agenda by the United Nations, we all are aware that we cannot afford the cost of inaction.
17. The international community should stay focused linking climate change issue to sustainable development agenda with special attention to creating overall human development opportunities for the poor countries and vulnerable communities.
18. In closing, Mr. President, let me reiterate that there can be no option but to draw up immediate and concrete multilateral action plan with binding targets on greenhouse gas emissions and built-in monitoring mechanism. The need for making technological solutions affordable and readily available from advanced world to the developing world is as pressing as never before. So is the need for generating new, additional and predictable financial and technical resources for immediate adaptation and investment for sustainable development infrastructure.
19. My delegation is committed to working together in concert to timely achieve an ambitious framework for a post-2012 Kyoto world.
I thank you Mr. President.