- Date submitted: 1 Nov 2011
- Stakeholder type: Member State
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SUBMISSION TO RIO+20 BY THE GOVERNMENT OF NEPAL
This document follows the guidance note of the Co-chairs of the UNCSD Bureau and is based on the outcome of discussions and deliberations with representatives from civil society, government and non-governmental organisations, communities and parliamentarians. A Steering Committee chaired by the Vice-Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC), Government of Nepal, with representation of 11 secretaries from line ministries, development partners, INGOs, NGOs, CBOs, experts and other stakeholders was formed for the preparation of Rio+20 Country Status Paper. The Steering Committee formed a Task Force Committee (TFC) under the Chairpersonship Secretary at the NPC, with seven Joint Secretaries of key ministries to facilitate and coordinate the process. An expert panel backed up the whole preparatory process in consultation with parliamentarians, government agencies, and technical partners, NGOs, CBOs, media and youth.
Twenty-five representatives from major stakeholder groups, government agencies and technical partner attended the first meeting of the TFC (23rd Sept 2011) and finalised the process, scope, methodology and timelines for document preparation. Based on the TFC guidelines, an expert group prepared the first draft during September and October 2011 that was reviewed by the TFC, Steering Committee members, and national experts. The second draft was shared at the national expert group meeting to ensure that all the three pillars of sustainable development ? economic, social and environmental were adequately addressed.
A National Multi-stakeholder Consultation workshop (20 October 2011) was attended by more than 100 representatives of different stakeholders groups which included parliamentarians, former ministers and high level policy makers, government secretaries, senior government officials, the resident representative of the UNDP, ICIMOD and representatives of media, youth, I/NGOs, CBOs, the business community, independent experts, and major groups. The workshop discussed the key questions in the "General Content" of the Guidance Note as well as the specific aspects of least developed and mountainous countries. It also dwelt on the issues and themes under the "Specific Elements" of Guidance Note. The following sections summarise key messages from Nepal to Rio+20 Conference.
II. General Content
1. What are the expectations for the outcome of Rio+20, and what are the concrete proposals in this regard, including views on a possible structure of the Outcome document?
Nepal?s main expectation from Rio+20 is a renewed commitment of Member States for preserving the Rio principles and fostering implementable consensus for fulfilling the implementation gaps in the Rio declaration and other associated commitments, and addressing new and emerging challenges in a fair and equitable manner based on the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities (CBDR). Nepal also expects a clear articulation of the objective of Rio+20 to ensure a balanced and integrated approach for addressing all the three pillars of sustainable development with poverty alleviation and inter-generational human wellbeing at the centre of the Rio+20 commitments. Nepal?s position on the two themes of Rio+20 and other components are elaborated below.
A. ON GREEN ECONOMY
i. The ?green economy? should be an instrument, or a means to an end for sustainable development, poverty reduction and inclusive and equitable economic growth. Economic growth must be sustainable supported by well-functioning markets, and preferential access to green products at prices that reflect the scarcity value of natural resources; and property rights must be clearly defined to enable and encourage true stakeholders to utilize natural resources sustainably - both individually and collectively.
ii. There must be a provision for technology adaptation and transfer, easy finance, capacity building and favorable terms of trade and transit facilities to LDCs for the economic transformation and ultimately contributing to sustainable development.
iii. The proven people-centred, sustainable, and green development interventions should consider the rights of indigenous people and local communities to land and other natural resources. This would also require national commitments to enacting appropriate legal and policy frameworks.
iv. Developing countries in general and mountainous LDCs in particular need support for adopting and customising policies and strategies that need to be provided through special provisions for meeting the additional financial resources, technology and capacity building requirements.
v. There is a need to radically change unsustainable consumption patterns, particularly in developed countries that is also gradually catching up in urban centres of developing countries.
vi. Green economy should encourage the formulation and implementation of policies and mechanisms that are conducive to engaging the government, private sector and the civil society to work together to support green enterprises. Training and targeted interventions including financing and credit facilities can help increase the participation and enable the poor, women and socially excluded groups so as to promote gender and social equity in education, skills and entrepreneurship development, health care, child welfare and social security.
vii. The LDCs and mountainous countries have very low capacity to control and manage expanding ecological footprints of economic globalisation. There is a need for special safeguard measures, and global commitment to ensure the protection of environmental resources of the environmentally vulnerable countries, and safeguard the livelihoods of these countries from the pressures of economic globalisation and global climate change.
B. ON INSTITUTIONAL FRAMEWORK FOR SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
i. There is an emerging consensus to build coherence, coordination and improved service delivery systems into multilateral environmental agreements (MEAs), intergovernmental bodies, the UN system and other international organisations. There is a realisation that the environmental pillar is relatively weaker among the three pillars of sustainable development, because of its fragmented governance structure. In this regard, Nepal considers the importance and relevance of creating a specialised agency, a World Environment Organisation, as global technical arm of the UN system. This agency could focus its attention on the implementation of multi-lateral environmental agreements, building in-country capacity for addressing existing and emerging threats of environmental degradation, and promote sustainable means for poverty reduction. The proposed global agency should have presence at both the regional and country levels. Nepal also believes on ?one UN approach? and calls for a coordinated and efficient working systems and mechanism at all levels.
ii. Most of the green technologies in developed countries are in the private domain and come under the Intellectual Property Right (IPR) regime generally making the technologies costs prohibitive. In this regard, an appropriate mechanism is urgently required for ensuing affordable access to appropriate technologies to developing countries, and for providing necessary technical and financial support for establishing technology research and development centres in LDCs for developing, adapting and transferring technologies suitable to their contexts, priorities and needs.
C. ON ADDRESSING NEW AND EMERGING CHALLENGES
For addressing new and emerging challenges, there is a need to agree on a framework of action by Rio+20 participants which could include, among others, a timeline for implementing more robust and sustainable development commitments and a set of action oriented goals. Some of the actions recommended are as follows:
i. The poor and mountainous countries, although contribute least to global warming, are the most vulnerable to climate change and erratic weather patterns, and have least capacity to address the problems. Therefore, the global communities should specially support most vulnerable countries to effectively address the adverse impacts of climate change and utilize the opportunities created from it to improve livelihoods and achieve climate-resilient physical, social and economic development.
ii. The ability to address financial, food and energy crises in a least developed and mountainous, countries are limited; there should be a mechanism to help these countries to come out of the crises and improve their future resilience. In this regard, Nepal calls for proper and effective integration of Istanbul Program of Action for the LDCs into the global sustainable agenda.
iii. While utilizing natural resources (such as hydropower generation and biodiversity conservation) for economic benefits, the fair and equitable benefit sharing should be ensured for the local communities and indigenous people, whose life and livelihoods are directly or indirectly dependent on these resources or ecosystem services.
iv. For addressing income inequality and poverty reduction in a sustainable manner, it is crucial to democratize ownership, control and decision making over productive resources and assets which are mostly in the domain of natural resources. We should move towards an appropriate mix of more community-based, democratic and inclusive modes such as cooperative, collective and community‐based and driven approaches, public?private joint venture types of ownership to ensure that economic activities generated provides sustainable livelihoods and meets the developmental goals of the community and society.
v. LDCs such as Nepal should be supported to strengthen national innovation capacity to generate appropriate technologies, enhance extension services and improve market infrastructure to increase the productivity of agriculture and natural resources. It is also necessary to develop the adaptive and resilient agricultural technologies that meet the need of poor, women and excluded groups and communities in less-favored regions such as wet and dry hills and mountains.
vi. Recognizing the role of formal and informal sector, the farm and non-farm linkages should be strengthened by improving connectivity, creating post-harvest infrastructures and facilities, promoting value adding small and micro enterprises (SMEs) and increasing marketing and distribution efficiency.
vii. Despite many constraints, Nepal has made progress in the implementation of programs related to natural resources management, renewable energy, health and education and poverty reduction. Nepal has comparative advantage in developing sustainable agriculture, tourism, water resources, renewable energy, non-timber forest products, community forestry and biodiversity conservation. For sustaining the achievements and scaling up successful interventions in these and other potential areas, the country needs additional support in terms of financing, technology transfer and capacity building.
2. What are the comments, if any, on existing proposals: e.g., a green economy roadmap, framework for action, sustainable development goals, a revitalized global partnership for sustainable development, or others?
i. A green economy should offer new trade opportunities to all countries, and not become a pretext for ?green protectionism?. This should be used as an opportunity to promote and enhance the technical and institutional capacity in LDCs to pursue a green-growth-based development agenda.
ii. The transition process to a greener economy has to be gradual and inclusive of all stakeholders, and that the unavoidable employment and social costs of the transition should be shared by all in the spirit of "just transition".
iii. National accounting systems need to measure the significant human welfare benefits, or true value of ecosystem services that benefits national, regional and global economy and environment. Valuation of environmental services though difficult, is a precondition for establishing payment for environmental services.
iv. Considering the increasing importance of mountain ecosystems for downstream communities, the high incidence of poverty and unequal access to resources in mountain areas, the growing vulnerability of both upstream and downstream populations, and the threats to the availability of mountain ecosystem services, all global stakeholders should agree on updating the mountain agenda in Chapter 13 of the Agenda 21.
v. The international community is called upon to support enhanced policies, institutional structures, funding mechanisms and support systems that recognise upstream- downstream interdependency, and promote multi-stakeholder involvement in the management of trans-boundary resources for the benefits of both upland and low-land communities.
vi. The contribution of mountain ecosystems needs better recognition in terms of ecosystem services they provide, and this would require greater attention on the livelihood issues of mountain communities and on maintaining/enhancing the ecosystem services. The concerns of the mountain regions, particularly those of the developing and LDCs, remain to be addressed by the existing framework of the green economy. This omission needs to be corrected by,
a. Recognising the direct and indirect benefits derived from the Himalayan mountains by national and regional plans and policies;
b. Incorporating the value of ecosystem services in national development planning, GDP accounting and decision making;
c. Establishing global, regional, national, and local mechanisms to compensate and reward Himalayan mountain communities for the services they provide;
d. Establishing favourable conditions for improving markets for mountain ecosystem goods and services; and for inclusion of equity concerns in the green economy in hills and mountains; and
e. Ensuring access to resources and property rights for mountain communities especially women, indigenous communities, and marginalised groups.
vii. The efforts of mountain communities needs to be complemented to ensure a continued availability of the fresh water, biodiversity (including agro biodiversity), cultural diversity, and space for tourism, recreation, and spiritual renewal, as well as for coping with the consequences of climate and environmental changes.
viii. Nepal?s experience in promoting community-based resources management approaches and instruments, such as community forestry, are considered to be appropriate models for improving both the livelihoods of mountain communities and mitigating and adapting to the adverse impacts of climate change. These can be further enhanced to promote low-carbon socio-economic development by creating green jobs and environmental services related businesses such as REDD+ and Payment for Ecosystem Services.
3. What are the views on implementation and on how to close the implementation gap, which relevant actors are envisaged as being involved (Governments, specific Major Groups, UN system, IFIs, etc.);
i. The LDCs are lagging behind in sustainable development as the international support measures are not fully effective and adequate in terms of scale, scope and quality. The progress of these countries has slowed down due to the lack of the proper and timely implementation of the commitments made by the international community in the earlier summits, including in Stockholm (1972), Rio de Janeiro (1992) and Johannesburg (2002). The LDCs have been experiencing high difficulty in their development mainly due to capacity constraints, inadequate as well as poor access to financial support, partial fulfillment of ODA commitment, constant marginalization in the international trading system, lack of substantial debt relief measures, negligible FDI inflows, and lack of holistic approach to development. Commitments from the North in the form of adequate financing (according to common but differentiated responsibility), appropriate technology cooperation, and need-based capacity building are of utmost importance to support developing countries to make a just transition to sustainable development pathways.
ii. There is a critical need to fulfill all the previous commitments made by the developed countries, particularly the ODA commitment of providing the 0.15-0.20 per cent of their Gross National Income (GNI) to the LDCs. The LDCs need to be given due priority in allocating necessary funds as well as devising innovative programs.
iii. It is necessary to promote community-driven green enterprises such as organic farming, bio-gas and solar energy; and seed-banking, watershed management and on-farm improvement of crop varieties and animal breeds through collective and GESI sensitive value chain approaches.
iv. We support the call on the renewed commitment and political will of the international community to support financing for development and national capacity-building efforts, in particular for least developed countries (LDCs) and predominantly mountain countries. All the stakeholders should be made accountable towards fulfilling their commitments. Partnerships and collaboration with all Major Groups and financial institutions should be strengthened.
4. What specific cooperation mechanisms, partnership arrangements or other implementation tools are envisaged and what is the relevant time frame for the proposed decisions to be reached and actions to be implemented?
i. In order to fill the implementation gaps and meet the new and emerging challenges, there is a need for more coordinated, integrated, and results-oriented efforts at both national and international levels for arranging adequate finances, ensuring appropriate technology generation and transfer, supporting capacity building, promoting sustainable consumption and production patterns ? where the developed countries should take the lead.
ii. It is necessary to promote sharing of good practices, information and knowledge and experiences for replicating and scaling up of successful models; for empowering women; and enhancing scientific and technological cooperation with participation of scientists from LDCs for collaborative research and studies.
iii. The developed countries must take concrete steps to reduce and cancel debt, remove trade barriers and open up their markets, and build capacity in the LDCs.
iv. A global mechanism needs to be developed to assess the impacts of new technologies on health, biodiversity and environment. Such mechanism should provide resources for building capacity of countries and communities, especially LDCs, for assessing and monitoring the impacts of new technologies.
v. Climate-smart policies need to be adopted for promoting economic development, reducing the vulnerability, and financing the transition to low-carbon growth paths.
vi. Sizeable investment will need to flow into the green sectors as well as for ?greening? of all possible sectors in LDCs. While domestic resource mobilisation will play a key role, enhanced access to international finance as well as to new and additional resources, will be crucial. There is also an urgent need for greater synergy and complementarities between financing for climate change and sustainable development.
vii. There has been an increased remittance inflow in developing countries such as Nepal, which can be mobilised through improved investment policies and rural enterprise development programmes that provide incentives to migrants and attract investment in the productive sectors. This requires more political commitment at the national level and capacity building, training and infrastructure and basic services at the local level. Nepal?s new development vision incorporates these elements and can complement the anticipated international support for attaining the sustainable development goals.
III. Specific Elements
Objective of the Conference: To secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assessing the progress to date and remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development and addressing new and emerging challenges, Nepal?s sectoral priorities based on good practices and lesson learned are:, hydro and renewable energy, food security and sustainable agriculture, community-based forest resources management, sustainable tourism, water resources management, sustainable urbanization including greening of transportation and urban waste management sectors, disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation and value chains that contribute to integrate the three pillars of sustainable development.
? In green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, we propose that concrete mechanisms, tailor-made for LDCs must be promoted at the global, national, and local levels to reward and compensate communities for conservation and provision of ecosystem services.
? It is necessary to create incentive mechanism and provide support for market-driven investments and flow of financial resources (including remittances) for sustainable development.
? International organisations, intergovernmental organisations, and the private sector should contribute to the promotion of niche products and services of LDCs through mechanisms such as value chains, branding, labeling, and standards.
? Traditional knowledge and practices need to be documented, evaluated, and built upon to solve local problems and conserve and develop ecosystem services.
1. Institutional framework for sustainable development: Priorities and proposals for strengthening individual pillars of sustainable development, as well as those for strengthening integration of the three pillars, at multiple levels local, national, regional and international.
Nepal strongly feels that the three pillars of sustainable development should be further strengthened as well as fully integrated and a proper balance among them is properly maintained. IFSD in the context of the LDCs should aim to identify the actors at national, regional and global levels and set out the functions of institutions for achieving better coherence and coordination among agencies implementing sustainable development programs, especially in vulnerable and low-capacity regions.
A. Economic pillar
i. Nepal's experience is somewhat similar to the global experience. Whereas it has made good progress in terms of poverty reduction and achieving most of the time-bound MDGs, there is a long way to make the development sustainable as the economic pillar is facing new and emerging challenges.
ii. The focus of Nepal during the last 20 years remained on economic development and poverty reduction. For the first 15 years, the policy and legislations attempted to create environment for the free market economy with some shallow social protection measures for disadvantaged groups. During these years, private sector investments came in hydropower, transportation, education, health, telecommunication, civil aviation, banking and financial institutions, telecommunication and mass communication. However, social conflict, growing inflation, food shortages, and high transportation and energy costs have depressed the national economic growth rate as well as increased income inequality.
iii. Multi-dimensionality of poverty and its complexities should be taken into account for initiating future poverty alleviation measures. Reinvigorating rural agriculture and financial sectors, universal access to safe and nutritious food, water, health and energy services, education, and sanitation in urban areas are necessary for improving the quality of life of the poor and marginalized groups. Hence, there is a need of focused approach in these sectors by creating more investment friendly environment and promotion of public-private partnership.
B. Social pillar
i. An integrated and GESI sensitive value chain approaches promoting in collaboration with the government, private sector, NGOs and CBOs with adequate resources, targeted activities, well trained and oriented human resources on both technical and social aspects, enhancing coordination and collaboration with all relevant actors can help increase their participation and improve benefits accrued from the natural resources.
ii. Social inclusion was considered as one of the pillars of Poverty Reduction Strategy and Program since Nepal?s Tenth Plan (2002-07). After the second ??People?s Movement? in 2006, issues of social and geographical inclusion and gender equality have gained further prominence in public discourse and state policies of Nepal. Various social movements gained momentum, giving rise to interests of excluded and marginalized groups. The political commitment has gained momentum and systematic attempts were made to inject gender equality and social inclusion into economic and environmental policies and plans.
iii. We call for promotion of good governance and decentralization with concrete policies, plans and programs that can benefit and reach women, socially and geographically excluded groups and indigenous people.
iv. Potential small green enterprises where Nepal has the comparative advantages are: promotion of collective organic farming ? vegetables, vegetable seeds, spices, cash crops etc. through contract/ leasehold and cooperative farming; production of organic essential oils such as chamomile, grass and natural fibers; tourism ? rural/home-based/eco-tourism with training and investments on diversifying the tourism products; in the urban areas ? recycling of urban wastes.
C. Environment pillar
i. The Tenth Plan (2002-2007) internalized the SDAN strategies for sustainable development. Adhering to the SDAN commitment, Government of Nepal adopted people-centric Forest Act. (1993) and forest regulations (1995), Buffer Zone Regulation (1996), which led to Community and Leasehold Forestry Policy Guidelines, 2003; Collaborative Forest Management Guidelines, 2003 - 2004; and revised the Water Resource Policy, 2003. Government established Climate Change Council 2009; announced Climate Change Policy 2010, approved National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) 2010 and also incorporated climate resilient planning in current Three Year Plan (2010/11-2012/13), which are policy commitments for sustainable dvelopment. All of these policies and guidelines focus on community participation, resource sharing, sustainable use of resource and privatization of services, good governance and transparency. The Environment Protection Act (1997) and Environment Protection Rules (1997) were adopted for incorporating environmental concerns in development and the sustainable management of natural resources.
ii. Nepal has some proven environmental conservation models such as community forestry, conservation and Buffer Zone area management; farmer managed irrigation and integrated watershed management.
iii. High dependency of majority of people on natural resources in a developing country like Nepal has been creating a vicious cycle of poverty and destruction of environmental resources such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, land degradation and scarcity of water etc. In order to pursue green economic path, global communities specially developed countries must help developing countries in developing alternative livelihood opportunities and appropriate technologies which help reduce dependency of poor people on natural resources. The programme like climate resilient planning, poverty-environment initiative and disaster risk reduction should be strengthened so that developing countries like Nepal can shift towards green development path by breaking the vicious cycle of poverty-environmental degradation and maximizing social benefits to the majority of the people. Global communities can invest in creating `green infrastructures? including forest conservation and watershed management and water storage development that can create alternative livelihood opportunities and help reduce dependency of poor people on natural resources.
2. Any proposals for refinement of the two themes. Recall that Resolution 64/236 describes the focus of the Conference: "The focus of the Conference will include the following themes to be discussed and refined during the preparatory process: a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and the institutional framework for sustainable development".
i. In the advent of global commercialization of environmental goods and services, resource management policies should take into consideration of controlling unsustainable commercial exploitation of ecosystems services in the name of promoting green economy.
ii. Sound environmental and climate resilient policies should be formulated by coordinating and harmonizing the provisions of various Conventions. It should facilitate to develop environmental standards and mainstream environmental issues to various developmental activities, monitor environmental compliance, and conduct research, training and awareness raising programs.
iii. Topography and climatic regime make the mountainous country like Nepal particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climatic change, such as glacial lake outburst, ﬂoods and landslides. Similarly, LDCs have also least internal capacity to cope with these vulnerabilities. The new sustainable development paradigms should take into account of these situations and devise policies which help vulnerable countries and regions to access required funding mechanism, technology, skills and promote south-south and north-south collaboration in managing such risks.