Nepal commits to green, resilient development; US$ 4.2 billion pledged in future support

ByLaxman Datt Pant

Nepal commits to green, resilient development; US$ 4.2 billion pledged in future support

Aiming to develop a strategic action plan for Nepal towards Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID), the Government of Nepal (GoN) and its development partners (DPs) endorsed the landmark ‘Kathmandu Declaration’ on September 23 for which DPs have offered up to US$4.2 billion in potential future support in addition to the US$3.2 billion in previously committed resources to support GRID.

“The GoN and DPs intend to scale up support for such areas as sustainable tourism, renewable energy, cleaner transport, and resilient roads, integrated solid waste management, sustainable forest management, watershed protection and water supply, biodiversity conservation, adaptive social protection, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable cities,” the statement issued by the World Bank reads.

The Declaration, endorsed by the Ministry of Finance of Nepal and DPs including Asian Development Bank (ADB), Australia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, the International Monetary Fund, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, the United Nations, the United States and the World Bank during the high-level roundtable event entitled Nepal’s Transition to GRID for Sustainable Recovery, Growth, and Jobs aims to coordinate international and domestic financing for priority investments in Nepal’s recovery from the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the event, Janardan Sharma, Finance Minister of Nepal, said that the GoN was looking forward to working together with DPs, the private sector, and key stakeholders to build back Nepal better and stronger.

“GoN is committed to the GRID vision to support Nepal’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and help address the challenges of climate change and rising inequality,” he added.

Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Vice President for South Asia, highlighted that the World Bank has committed globally to align all its financing with the Paris Agreement on climate change by July 1, 2023.

“We are happy to support Nepal’s GRID agenda to guide investment and policy directions in line with its NDCs and SDGs targets.”

Underscoring that the GRID approach being adopted in Nepal is a world-class example of how countries can mobilize resources for sustainable development and ambitious climate action, Ken O’Flaherty, UK Regional Ambassador for Asia Pacific and South Asia at COP26 Climate Summit, remarked:

“Nepal can showcase this approach at COP26 and encourage others to do likewise.”

Shixin Chen, ADB Vice-President, South Asia Department, and Central and West Asia Department, stated that ADB has committed to ensuring that 75% of the total number of ADB’s operations and a US$80 billion investment would support climate change adaptation and mitigation by 2030. Jean-Louis Ville, Acting Director for Asia, Central Asia, Middle East/Gulf, and the Pacific for the European Commission, said that Team Europe contributed US$25 billion per year in climate finance.

For her part, Dr. Anne-Marie Gulde-Wolf, IMF Deputy Director, Asia, and Pacific Department, remarked:

“We will continue to support Nepal’s recovery from the pandemic and its focus on macroeconomic stability, building resilience, promoting sustainable and inclusive growth, and addressing the challenges of climate change.”

Neil Buhne, Regional Director, United Nations Development Coordination Office, Asia-Pacific, said that because of the disproportionate impacts of climate change on women and socially vulnerable groups, Nepal’s NDC prioritized developing a gender and social inclusion and climate action strategy and action plan.

GRID vision

  • Nepal’s GRID vision focuses on inclusion to enable women, indigenous groups, and vulnerable and marginalized communities to realize the benefits of a green, resilient recovery.
  • It includes skills training and education opportunities to help citizens to prepare for an evolving job market in a new green economy with greater opportunities for all.
  • The investments aim to support Nepal’s 15th development plan, Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) in alignment with the Paris Climate Accords and the Sustainable Development Goals in promoting green growth, jobs, and infrastructure.
  • It also aims to build resilience to climate change and shocks from disasters, as well as equitable access to services.

To address climate change, disaster vulnerability, and risks and prioritize adaptation and disaster risk reduction and management measures focusing on women, children, youth and deprived communities and people residing in climate-vulnerable geographical areas, Nepal’s 753 local governments aim to prepare and implement climate-resilient and gender-responsive adaptation plans by 2030. The Kathmandu Declaration aims to seek partnerships and opportunities with the private sector to increase green investment and support job creation.