In an increasingly globalised world and economy, regional blocs and alliances have become a useful and influential building block towards the appropriation of homogenized regional concerns to a bigger and more platform. This also helps countries with common concerns address these on a united platform with experts and specialists at hand for guidance and policy development. It is in this spirit that a South Asian specific climate change conference is currently underway in Nepal. The Government of Nepal – together with DFID, ADB, DANIDA, and the World Bank are hosting this and given Nepal’s cordial relations with all its South Asia neigbours and its geographical location, locating the event in Nepal is advantageous. Nepal itself also represents a manifest illustration of climate vulnerability with threats posed by the melting glaciers of the Himalayas whose impact transcends political boundaries into regional environmental concerns for all its neighbours. Indeed Nepal is endowed with hydrological resources that could well prove strategic and significant in addressing clean energy needs in the region should regional cooperation and a united vision be secured.
To quote Ajaya Dixit, Institute for social and environmental transition (ISET), Nepal, ““The climate change is not a local problem. It is a global problem. The disturbance of the climate system will spread across geographies. By coming together we will try to come to a common solution. We are not doing anything in isolation. We are bringing universities, agencies and civil societies in being responsive to the climate change. This conference was aimed to bring together all the stakeholders.”
Furthermore, Jim Drummand – Director, South Asia – Department For International Development asserts “…Climate change does not respect country boundries. It affects people across the region – and so we need a regional response to the problem. We must build on the leadership already shown by other countries; plans for a carbon neutrals in Maldives; community forestry in Nepal; solar power for the poor in India and in Bangladesh reducing impacts of floods and cyclones.
That is why this conference – hosted by Government of Nepal and attended by representatives from all South Asian countries – is vital. For the countries of this region to come together with one voice…”
The main view point is that checked climate change poses a serious long-term threat to the region’s economic prospects and could jeopardize or even reverse hard-won development gains. The melting Himalaya’s could affect Pakistan for instance in a manner where we could experience major and sudden reductions in (50% glacier-fed) Indus flows, intensified droughts and sea-level rise both of which will result in drastic livelihood transitions and economic transformation which if not planned for and addressed as a communal concern, could be environmentally, economically and thus socially disastrous for Pakistan itself.
At this conference, the government of Pakistan will be chairing the Government Representatives Panel Discussion on climate change challenges for development and growth and their vision on the way forward – its good to see the country taking an active role in environmental concerns and being a part of this conference.
Here’s to living in a better, cleaner and more sustainable country.