Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has said Nepal has 45 percent forest coverage out of total land, thereby providing a clean breath of oxygen for human.
Addressing the 7th assembly of Global Environment Facility in Canada, Minister Dr Mahat reminded the international community that Nepal is the source of water for over one billion people in South Asia.
Nepal has been making honest efforts on biodiversity and environment conservation, he said, adding that the wild animals facing extinction were conserved well, resulting into rise in number of tigers and rhinos of late.
The Minister viewed the forest and wildlife is a significant heritage not only for Nepal but also for the world community. Despite these endeavours, Nepal is one among 10 countries most vulnerable to climate change.
The erratic weather events as drought, scan rainfall, landslides were on rise in Nepal.
The Minister further drew the attention that it Nepal was estimated to have its temperature rise from 0.5 to 2 degree Celsius by 2030 compared to the pre-industrial period, while the country needs some 50 billion US dollars to face the loss and damages to be caused by the temperature rise by 2050.
He underscored the need for effective enforcement of the programmes run under the climate finance. The Minister also requested that the resources from the New Global Biodiversity Framework Fund (GBFF) passed by the assembly should be mobilized in the most vulnerable countries. Only the implementation of integrated and holistic programme would be meaningful, he emphasized.
Meanwhile, Minister Mahat held discussions on bilateral issues with the Chiefs and representatives of various international organizations. During the bilateral meeting with CEO of the Global Environment Facility, Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO appreciated the conservation efforts made by the government of Nepal in the field of biodiversity, environment and wildlife.
Rodriguez lauded Nepal for arranging 79 per cent of total investment in these fields through internal resources. On the occasion, he pledged support from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) to handover new technologies for development of green infrastructures and for replacement of plastic and effective garbage management.
Minister Mahat requested the WEF to consider increasing grant assistance to Nepal for climate actions.
Likewise, in the meetings with Chief Conservation Officer of the World Wildlife Fund, the Nik Sekhran, Administrator of the UNDP, Achim Steiner, and Acting Director General of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Dr Grethel Aguilar, he deliberated on the global impact of climate change and the challenges facing Nepal as well as the ways to mitigate the risks.
During the bilateral meetings, Minister Mahat shed light on the environment conservation efforts of Nepal and the strides made towards it. He shared that forest coverage in Nepal at present stood at around 45 per cent, thanks to the successful implementation of community forest concept. Sharing the success stories of Nepal’s wildlife and environment conservation efforts, he informed that the number of tiger had nearly tripled and the number of rhinos had nearly doubled in Nepal in the last decade.
On a different note, he emphasized operation the UN’s Environment Fund and GEF through the national system so as to achieve concrete results and such programmes should bring about positive changes in the living standards of the local communities.
The Minister brought to fore the increasing cases of human-wildlife conflict in Nepal resulting in huge loss of lives and properties every year. For the protection of wildlife, he urged with the international organizations for their assistance in construction of roads and other infrastructures that are friendly to wildlife movements, risk insurance for those communities affected by human-wildlife conflict and self-employment programmes among others.
He mentioned that Nepal needed additional financial resources for development of green infrastructures and for skills development and capacity enhancement of the human resources involved in environment and wildlife conservation efforts.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a special address in the closing ceremony of the GEF Assembly where participants included ministers from 83 countries and stakeholders and representatives from 185 countries.