Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change impacts. Climate change impacts have manifested in the country in the form of impacts to agriculture, biodiversity, water and energy resources as well as hydrometeorological disasters such as floods, landslides, droughts and other extreme weather events as well as slow weather events.
These impacts have resulted in huge amounts of loss and damage in various sectors.
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are considered robust and alternative measures to restore the degraded ecosystem, slope and riverbank protection. Nature-based Solutions hold immense potential to prove sustainable and effective solutions for climate change mitigation and adaptation and ultimately to reduce climate-induced loss and damage.
The discourse around Nature-based Solutions is not new in Nepal; there have been many initiatives that have integrated Nature-based Solutions.
However, these integrations are fragmented and a one-off approach.
The policy review looks at various challenges and opportunities to promote and mainstream Nature-based Solutions as a potential strategy to reduce climate-induced loss and damage.
The policy brief makes the following recommendations:
- Conduct adequate study, research, and generate evidence on the sustainability and cost-eff ectiveness of NbS as climate solution for climate impact mitigation and adaptation which is ultimately a potential strategy to reduce climate-induced loss and damages. The benefi ts of NbS to reduce economic and non-economic loss and damage associated with a climate-induced hazard should be documented. Apart from reducing loss and damage, NbS can play a pivotal role in addressing loss and damage, e.g., addressing biodiversity loss and supporting communities with resilient recovery options. This scope of addressing loss and damage also needs to be explored and documented.
- Improve common understanding of NbS, and its benefits and facilitate the technical capacity of
government stakeholders across three government levels with a clear strategy of mainstreaming across key focal institutions. NbS interventions are often conceptualised and implemented in a fragmented way. This could be improved by adopting a holistic and harmonised approach to integrate/mainstream NbS as a climate solution across sectoral policies, including infrastructure and economic development, at all government levels and to ensure ownership of NbS by all sectoral agencies. A set standard, such as the IUCN Gold Standard for NbS (IUCN, 2020), can be followed to standardise NbS practices in Nepal to enable common understanding.
- Allocate dedicated financing at the provincial and local government level for prioritisation of NbS as a climate solution. Dedicated financing is essential to mainstream NbS in their sectoral plans and programmes. The provincial governments and local governments should dedicate required resources to pilot and implement NbS in their development plans and programmes.
- Improve collaboration with stakeholders, particularly development stakeholders, civil society organisations, community-based grassroots organisations, right activists, and researchers through Community of Practice (CoP) formation that will carry forward NbS-related policy discourse, studies, and advocacy at federal, provincial, and local government levels to identify and fulfi l policy and practice gaps.
- Initiate monitoring and documentation process for NbS related interventions at local and provincial
government level with its investments and co-benefi ts through clear indicators and monitoring framework. A knowledge hub dedicated for NbS solutions can be instrumental. The CoP can facilitate the knowledge hub formation and operationalisation.
- Invite private sector collaboration in NbS that will help to generate more resources and investment for NbS prioritisation and implementation. The private sector may not directly see NbS benefits at once and maybe hesitant to invest. For this, the NbS design can include a portfolio of resourcing options such as market-based, public sector, voluntary commitments, and actions to support regulatory compliance.