By NP Upadhyaya
Kathmandu:It was unquestionably a national seminar with a distinction in that the topic being discussed was kept at a distance from what the Kathmandu seminarians conduct such colloquium which at best remains limited to the periphery of the stale and redundant themes, for example, stable peace, sustainable peace and development, media's role in state building, civil society and good governance and the likes. Though these topics have some weight as yet but for a multiplicity of reasons, these subjects have lost its real connotation because the powers-that-be never listened to the wise counsels being provided by the round table participants in the past. Those were summarily ignored unfortunately which perhaps have resulted in the overly stretched chaos and anarchy in this country even after the promised "grand societal change”.
The Telegraph Weekly/telegraphnepal.com thus considered it to be the best opening to take up a new subject matter for larger dissemination across the globe for its annual seminar this year which perennially enjoys the kind assistance of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, the FES-this time once again. The seminar topic, December 23, 2011, was Climate Change and Its Impact on Security-a significant subject for this country and beyond as well. A galaxy of Nepal's former career diplomats, widely acclaimed scholars, noted media men, senior and juniors both, and recognized Nepali intellectuals had their active involvement in the seminar. The seminar was a grand success as the world renowned paper presenters, Professor Upendra Gautam and Engineer Ajay Dixit, made the audience to remain spell bound during their more than an hour long lucid presentation on the said topic-veterans as they are. The severity of the seminar theme was such that the attending participants have had to listen and understand to the very internal dynamics of the Climate Change and its impact on various aspects of Nepali livelihood because climatic changes have already begun affecting their lives both within and without as climate changes never recognize the open borders. The fact is that Nepal is not the single country which has been hard hit by these changes instead the world population too have begun feeling the substance of such a change. Welcoming the attending discussion group participants, the Chief Editor of the Telegraph Weekly modestly clarified that since the topic of the seminar was a new one for the paper itself thus he preferred to take up this seminar as to have been organized to educate those who wish to learn the impact of climate changes in Nepal and beyond. "We at this paper preferred this time through organizing this seminar on Climate Change to educate ourselves first and later to publicize the gained knowledge for the benefit of the larger audience both domestic and international", said Narendra Prasad Upadhyaya-the Chief Editor of the Weekly and its sister online edition.
Said Upadhyaya, "We are just the beginners in this topic and that this seminar is expected to educate all those who wish to understand the weight contained in this topic that it carries because the hazards of climatic changes have already approached this nation and thus we at this paper demand that the State devise such a formula urgently which at least minimized its callous impact eventually". He lauded the Nepal office of the FES for its continued seventeen years long support provided to this weekly for organizing meaning loaded seminars annually. Thanks FES.
Later the Head of the FES, Nepal office, Mr. Dev Raj Dahal, at the opening session of the seminar, said that "Since environmental challenges do not care human made borders what requires for its solution was what he preferred to call a "holistic approach". He further said that "governing the common requires the set of effective institutions to provide early warning and monitor the international climate regime regulated by environmental treaties and impose graduated sanctions for violating its standards mutually agreed upon by the leaders across the globe".
"Future conflicts would go beyond state-centric security limits if we refuse to acknowledge our systemic nexus with the society wherein we live and environment and future generations", Mr. Dahal continued. The Honored guest of the seminar inaugural session, Mr. Hansen Henning-the Deputy Chief of Mission at the German Embassy, Nepal, made his thought provoking remarks and stated that the matter of Climate Change had already become a political issue which needs to be worked out by the countries which exceed Carbon emission limit together with those countries which emit less or even zero emission".
"Since Climate Change issue has already begun to have its negative impact on the world climate and thus it had become all the more urgent to find out agreeable to all logical and viable solutions to lessen the impact of such a change which will only be possible when the countries scattered around the globe cooperate with each other", Mr. Henning observed. (We at this paper appreciate Mr. Henning for having spared some minutes for the inaugural session and for making some candid remarks though not requested in advance that he would be told to present his views. Yet he made it. Thanks Mr. Henning). Now it was the turn of Professor Upendra Gautam to present his working paper on " Impact of Climate Change: Strategic Perspective". Dr. Gautam, a veteran Water management Consultant, clearly stated that "Science and technology do improve the geo-political constraints in terms of transport, communication, trade and tourism but geo-political significance as expressed by the location of a country would have critical impact on climate change consequences". Dr. Gautam states further, "The Himalayas and the rivers originating from them are the life line of Nepal and for this reason, cooperating with China and the Republic of India for ecological conservation and environment friendly utilization of the Himalayan resources is a must and thus in this sense the last November Climate Summit held in Bhutan does not augur well to Nepal's interests. As China was not in the Summit, the summit cared more for partisan regional climate politics than integrating climate politics with geography". Thus, Dr. Gautam claims that "for Nepal therefore institutional framework of cooperation patterned after International center for Integrated Mountain Development, ICIMOD, is perhaps more rationale, realistic and relevant than the one seen under the SAARC aegis. Session Chair professor Soorya Lal Amatya more or less viewed that China's exclusion from the Bhutan Summit may not augur well for combating the approaching climatic hazards.
Environment journalist, Mr. Saurav Dhakal made his seven minutes video clip presentation on Climate Change wherein he had talked to different people across the country and asked as to how they were being affected by the sudden trend seen in Climate Change in Nepal. The video presentation was up to the mark and the attending participants lauded the efforts of Mr. Dhakal.
The second session began with the lucid presentation of the comprehensive paper by Engineer Ajay Dixit. Through his slide/power point presentation, Mr. Dixit dwelt at length about the would be impact of climatic changes in Nepal and across the globe. Claimed Mr. Dixit, "Climate Change is a double whammy for Nepal: an additional burden further exacerbating the country's development deficit". He further says, "as climate change makes precipitation more uncertain and when even the risks are not known, we thus need to capture the essence of such practices: many strategies, not just one, must be in place for us to successfully adapt to climate change. Dixit then concludes his paper by quoting Tim Hartford who in his book, " Adapt: Always Starts with Failures" says, " the ability to adapt requires (a) sense of security an inner confidence that the cost of failure is a cost we will be able to bear". He then summed up by saying, "the more options we devise, there is less chance that all will fail at the same time and at once. The cost will indeed be bearable". Session Chair Mr. Adarsha Pokharel spoke on various aspects of climate change which this veteran had gained while serving as a government bureaucrat long time back. Mr. Pokharel opined that a concerted effort of the State actors and various stake holders engaged in this domain could minimize the climatic hazards that may have its impact on this country and beyond. Thus the seminar proceedings ended.
A separate paper on Impact of Climate Change with the sub-title “Bridging policy gaps for sustainable livestock production and climate-change adaptation in the mixed-farming system of Nepal” was distributed (in absentia) among the seminar participants.
The paper had been authored by Dr. Durga Poudel, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, Louisiana, USA.Mr. Upadhyaya thanked all those who attentively participated in the thought provoking seminar that finally proved it to be. COURTESY- Telegraph Nepal