€12.35 million project launched to foster climate resilient, green economic growth in Nepal

ByLaxman Datt Pant

€12.35 million project launched to foster climate resilient, green economic growth in Nepal

At a time when Nepal remains at high risk to the effects of climate change, the European Union (EU), the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland (MFA), and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) have launched a new €12.35 million development cooperation project titled Green Resilient Agricultural Productive Ecosystems (GRAPE) in Nepal.

Announced on June 5 on the occasion of World Environment Day, the project aims to support Nepal’s capacity to adapt agricultural practices to climate change. In addition to strengthening the income generation of marginalized households, GRAPE aims to reach out to socially disadvantaged groups and women in 20 municipalities of Karnali and Sudurpashchim Provinces of Nepal.

Magali Mander, Head of the Project at GIZ Nepal, told DevelopmentAid that the project supports the roll-out of best-adapted solutions to thousands of farmers and builds a dialogue with all levels of government.

She explained the need for a more resilient agriculture from calculations showing that the climate in Nepal will be significantly warmer and wetter in the future.

“The combination of increased temperatures and extreme weather events will impact agriculture and thus local economic development in many ways. The production patterns of Nepal’s agriculture are highly climate-sensitive and vulnerable to climate change. Yield may decrease, and certain species may not flourish where they used to.”

Millions of Nepalese are estimated to be at risk from the impacts of climate change including reductions in agricultural production, food insecurity, strained water resources, loss of forests and biodiversity, as well as damaged infrastructure, Dr. Suman Kumar Karna, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Reduction Expert told DevelopmentAid.

“Due to its tough geography, Nepal is exposed to a range of climate risks and water-related hazards triggered by rapid snow and ice-melt in the mountains and torrential rainfall episodes in the foothills during the monsoon season,” he specified.

Nepal ranks at the top of the most vulnerable countries when it comes to climate change. Its economic development is closely linked to its capacity to adapt to climate change impacts. Agriculture provides a livelihood to 68 % of Nepal’s population, which accounts for 34% of the GDP. According to the National Planning Commission, approximately 60% of the total population is engaged in agriculture. Hence, being the main employment sector, the transformation of the country’s agriculture sector is key to achieving development goals.

Given this background, GRAPE aims to support the identification and piloting of innovative approaches for climate-resilient and water-efficient agricultural products and to enable the target beneficiaries to integrate the same into their own practices. The project will be carried out by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH as an integral part of the EU and its member states’ efforts to implement the EU Green Deal, including the Farm-to-Fork strategy, in Nepal.