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[KATHMANDU] Nepal, one of the least developed Himalayan countries battling climate change, has released a national adaptation plan for climate change.

Nepal's prime minister, Madhav Kumar, launched the plan this month (4 November). It was prepared by the country's ministry of environment and forests, following two years of extensive consultations with grassroots environmental organisations, farmers, donors and other stakeholders.

Nepal's adaptation plan was not ready in 2009, unlike most least developed countries that came with country-specific plans ahead of the international climate meeting in Copenhagen last December.

The Copenhagen summit witnessed a clash between developed and developing countries over the former's reluctance to set definite targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and commit themselves to a large adaptation fund for developing countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change.

Nepal's adaptation plan has six thematic working groups — agriculture and food security; forests and biodiversity; water resources and energy; climate-induced disasters; public health; and urban settlements and infrastructure. There are two cross-cutting themes: livelihoods and governance, and gender and social inclusion.

The plan identifies a total of 250 adaptation strategies and nine integrated projects of immediate national priority.

The projects include integrated management of agriculture, water, forests and biodiversity; community-based disaster management to facilitate adaptation; monitoring of glacial lake outburst floods and disaster risk reduction; sustainable management of water resources and clean energies; and promoting climate-smart urban settlements.

The implementation of the nine projects is estimated to cost US$350 million.

Keshab Thapa, a climate change specialist at the Kathmandu-based non-governmental organisation Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development, welcomed the plan as an innovative approach to put climate change adaptation on the development agenda. But he told SciDev.Net that the plan should be decentralised and needs more clarity about the assessment of local adaptation projects

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