The invisible must be seen and heard

By: Rita Tisdall, p.t. Nepal 

The Everest Network, a CICED partner, consists of seventeen CBOs (community based organizations) from the highest mountains of Mustang to the flatlands of the Terai along the border with India.

Each area is affected by climate change, but in very different ways. What local associations have in common, however, is that – unlike national and international NGOs – they are all locally rooted.

People in the associations work and live in the area, which is typically where they grew up. When a crisis hits, they are affected just like the rest of the community. That’s why they are also on the spot when it comes to shopping.

In the UNClimate Change Adaptation Summit 2021, governments committed to support locally-led climate adaptation. It was recognized that “the climate crisis threatens to push 130 million people into extreme poverty by 2030, but people living in poverty rarely have the power or money to build resilience to these crises. Local people are simply left out of the decisions”.

Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate and disaster risks. Rising temperatures, melting glaciers and more intense precipitation are expected to increase climate-related hazards, especially flooding and landslides.

Women, indigenous peoples and other marginalized groups are often excluded from decision-making and suffer from the fact that misfortune rarely comes alone. They never make it through one disaster before the next one hits, and each crisis increases their vulnerability.

Nepal’s federal government pledged 80% of its climate-sensitive budget to community-led adaptation. However, most of this budget is captured by large national city-based organizations that rarely know the needs of marginalized groups.

Although the members of the Everest network all have first-hand knowledge of the consequences of climate change, most of them have not had a specific focus on the climate change that is a forced agenda for all of us. Members work in a wide range of areas: education, disability rehabilitation, child trafficking, cultural preservation and organic food production. Only a few focus exclusively on climate change. Seven of the organizations have Danish partners supported by CISU.

CBOs want to build knowledge about the complexity of climate change. They want to bridge the gap between local communities and national decision-makers so that better informed action can be taken against the effects of climate change in the future.

Last week, The Everest Network hosted a workshop where inspiring speakers talked about climate change, adaptation, mitigation and resilience. Each network member developed a 3-year plan for their CBOs, focusing on how they want to integrate climate-related actions into all their operations.

The group also formulated a vision for their joint efforts over the next five years, which was summarized in a collective slogan. In five years, we can show:

“We are a strong, resourced and visible network,
ensuring that
the most invisible communities
seen and heard “

The network has planned three more online seminars to be held over the next few months.
Women together for climate justice in Nepal

In the previous issue of CICED NYT, we wrote about how women, along with indigenous peoples and Dalits, have traditionally been excluded from decision-making in Nepal. But we also wrote that there is hope:

Lord Major of Helambu, JNF and CICED were last week invited to the national seminar – Uniting Women for Climate Justice in Nepal. JNF represented Everest Network. The seminar was attended by major development partners, diplomatic missions and the climate minister.

Nima Gyajen Sherpa, Helambu’s Lord Major, gave a speech about the daily effects of climate change in his area. Helambu is one of the areas in Nepal with the highest vulnerability to climate change. He was the only local government representative present.

Photo from the international seminar – from right to left: Rita Tisdall, CICED; Nima Gytjen Sherpa, Helambu Lord Mayor and Gopal Lama, Head of Just Nepal Foundation.

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