Do we listen and understand?

Climate talks – watch the video

With Dr. Deepak Kumal Rijal

Transcript and editing: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED

The transcription has some editorial adjustments to make the reading as straightforward as possible without changing the actual ‘tone’ of the interview.

As I know about what is the concept of forming this network, was to reach out to the people who are really in need and who are vulnerable to climate change… and are also socially vulnerable and excluded. That’s why I think this is a very good network to share their experiences, and knowledge and also leverage knowledge from the export from policies and also that they will have a very good package of practices that will help them to reduce their vulnerability at the community level. That’s why, this network is very, very important to reach out to the people who are in need.

But the problem is, do we really hear their language and listen to their voice and understand their language the way they explain climate change? Because they have a body of knowledge inherited from their ancestors. They have generated knowledge on their own by working on their own farm and their ecosystems, and also they are creating knowledge by interacting with one another in the community, especially those who have common interests and common threats.

So they are already, embedded in their knowledge base, which is quite rich but the problem is we are not being able to capture what they really know, because if you ask local people they have a knowledge that this crop variety works best in their place, their farm and this livestock work best in this management, and this is the decision we should make.

And the climate and precipitation will occur in this month so we have to seed, and raise the seat a bit at that right time. Like in Jumla (a mountainous district in Mid-West of Nepal, ed.), they have identified standard dates where they have to set the right sheet, and they will develop the seedling and transplant, so they have plenty of knowledge, but at the same time they are also, you know, leveraging knowledge from the scientists, from the climate specialists, through training and all, so they are the people holding a huge amount of knowledge but sometimes they are not able to make a right decision synthesizing all bodies of knowledge they have. So we need to help them to make the right decision putting the conditions that climate is uncertain and variability is there so we need to play with this, you know, the game, the climate game. So we need to help them to make the right decision.

Question: LAPA how does LAPA play into all this?

Yeah, LAPA when our coordinating team (of) the LAPA (Local Adaptation Plan for Action, ed.)in Nepal in 2011, we developed the LAPA framework, the national framework and Local Adaptation Plan for Actions then. How we can downscale that framework at the local level?

We were struggling with that, and we did pilot [studies] in 14 different places and engaged local people, and the [people living in] shelters, they are most vulnerable to climate change. And what are the people’s needs? What are the things that are there to make a living? So the conclusion of that study was that we need to really work on a small scale. We need to have a very clear target. Who in the area is most vulnerable to climate change? Who are the people, most vulnerable to climate change? Most vulnerable to climate change within that community? Because not everyone is equally vulnerable because it depends on the…. If there are richer people they have the capacity to adapt to the impact of climate change but the poor people they don’t have resources and knowledge and also, you know, the resources, support resources, so they are most vulnerable when it is about climate change….

And how can we make it, you know, in Nepal and in development planning processes and service delivery and budget allocation? There is always a capture of the elite group, the so-called elite group. It means they are the leaders of the community and they want those resources, they grab the resources for the benefit of the people in the name of the majority, but they don’t talk about the minority who are vulnerable poor, and socially excluded.

So our target in the LAPA target was to reach out to those most vulnerable people so that we can make them adapt to the changing context and then also make living based on the, you know, using that knowledge and also local practices. If there are no good, comparatively good local practices, we need to bring technologies to support them and make them more adaptable to the change.

I think we need to develop this 17 network group (The Everest Network members, ed.) as champion institutions. Champions, not only in climate adaptation but also in relation to social dimensions and also for advocacy. As I said earlier, we have to draw down resources for the benefit of the most vulnerable people. And who is making that happen? They are the people in the network. They should be advocating with the local government, provincial government or other projects and organizations working in their area.

So we should make them champions, advocates and also activists, so that they will influence the policy of the local government. They have a plan. They have a budget, and that budget should be appropriately implemented at the local level, targeting those people and those areas, which are much vulnerable to the impact of climate change. So I think that is quite an important champion, actually, for advocacy, and we have to make them advocate so that they can represent the voice of the voiceless people. That is the key!

The Everest Network

Conversations about climate – watch the video

Med Dr. Deepak Kumal Rijal

Translation and editing: Johnny Baltzersen, CICED

Transcription and translation have been lightly edited to make the reading as straightforward as possible, without significantly changing the ‘tone’ of the interview.

As I know, the concept behind the formation of this network was to reach out to the people who really need it and who are vulnerable to climate change… and who are also socially vulnerable and excluded. Therefore, I think this is a very good network to share their experiences and knowledge and also leverage knowledge from exporting policies and they will get a very good package of practices that will help them reduce their vulnerability at the community level. That’s why this network is very, very important to reach the people who need it.

But the problem is whether we really hear their language and listen to their voice and understand their language as they explain climate change. Because they have knowledge that they have inherited from their ancestors. They have created knowledge by working with their own farm and ecosystems, and they also create knowledge by interacting with each other in the community, especially those who share common interests and common threats.

So they’re already embedded in their knowledge base, which is quite rich, but the problem is that we’re not able to capture what they really know, because if you ask local people, they have a knowledge that this crop variety works best in their place, their farm and this livestock works best in this management, and that’s the decision we should make.

And the climate and rainfall will occur this month, so we need to sow and raise the seed a little at the right time. Like in Jumla (a mountainous area in mid-western Nepal), they have identified standard dates when they are going to put the right sheet and they are going to develop the seedling and transplant, so they have a lot of knowledge, but at the same time they are also utilizing knowledge from scientists, from climate experts, through education and everything, so they are the people who have a huge amount of knowledge, but sometimes they are not able to make the right decision by summarizing all the knowledge that they have. So we have to help them make the right decision in the circumstances where the climate is uncertain and the variability is there, so we have to play with this game, you know, the game, the climate game. So we need to help them make the right decision.

Question: How does LAPA play into all of this?

Yes, LAPA, as our coordinating team (for) LAPA (Local Adaptation Plan for Action) in Nepal in 2011 developed the LAPA framework, the national framework and the Local Adaptation Plan for Action back then. How can we scale down this framework at a local level?

We struggled with that and we did pilot studies in 14 different places and engaged local people, and those [people living in] shelters are the most vulnerable to climate change. And what are people’s needs? What are the things that are necessary to make a living? So the conclusion of this study was that we really need to work on a small scale. We need to have a very clear goal. Who in the area is most vulnerable to climate change? Who are the people most vulnerable to climate change? Who is most vulnerable to climate change in that community? Because not everyone is equally vulnerable, because it depends on…. If there are richer people, they have the capacity to adapt to the effects of climate change, but the poor people don’t have the resources and the knowledge, nor the resources, you know, the resources, the means of support, so they are the most vulnerable when it comes to climate change….

And how can we do that, you know, in Nepal and in development planning processes and service delivery and budget allocation? There is always a catch of the elite group, the so-called elite group. This means that they are the leaders of society and they want these resources, they grab the resources for the benefit of the population in the name of the majority, but they don’t talk about the minority who are vulnerable poor and socially excluded.

So our goal in the LAPA objective was to reach the most vulnerable people so that we can make them adapt to the changed context and then also live on the basis of it, you know, using this knowledge and also local practices. If there are no good, relatively good local practices, we need to introduce technologies to support them and make them more adaptable to change.

I believe we need to develop this 17 network group (Everest Network members) as master institutions. Champions not only in climate adaptation, but also in social dimensions and also in advocacy. As I said earlier, we need to pull resources in favor of the most vulnerable people. And who makes sure that happens? It’s the people who are in the network. They should be advocates to the local government, provincial government or other projects and organizations working in their area.

So we should make them champions, advocates and also activists so that they can influence local government policy. They have a plan. They have a budget, and this budget should be appropriately implemented at the local level and targeted at those people and areas that are highly vulnerable to the impact of climate change. So I think it’s actually a pretty important champion for advocacy and we need to make them advocates so they can represent the voice of the voiceless. That’s the key!

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