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Highland communities are often exposed to devasting landslides
Nepal represents a challenge to adaptation planning. From the tropical south to the mountainous north, the country requires an inclusive adaptation process to achieve success.
 
With over a 1/3 of Nepal’s population living below the poverty line, without tailored adaptation many will lose access to their food and livelihoods as climate change becomes more extreme.
 
To deal with these challenges, Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) have mobilised youth and academia to raise awareness, gain support and promote multi-stakeholder planning. 
 
Allies in adaptation
To do this, CEN began by targeting Nepal’s Tribhuvan University. It has over 600,000 student enrolments – making it the 9th largest university in the world. “We felt Nepal’s biggest university could benefit from our input", stated Mr. Rajan Thapa, Progam Manager at Clean Energy Nepal.
 
Following meetings with various professors and university dignitaries, CEN collaborated with Tribhuvan University to develop a new syllabus on climate change. “We met with the Dean, heads of departments and various professors”, he detailed, “we shared what we had been doing and how our approach works”.
 
The Joint Principles for Adaptation were also introduced as an educational tool. “We are now working to develop a course book for students”, he elaborated, “it was more than the university expected.”
 
 
CEN complemented this approach through orientation workshops and capacity-building sessions with relevant professors. “These exchanges created a strong relationship between us and the university staff”, he said. It also gave CEN greater legitimacy to support its National Adaptation Plan advocacy efforts, "having a partnership with the university is really valuable".
 
This lends CEN legitimacy in their advocacy throughout the NAP process, who can now point to the university as a supporter of its approach. It has also paved the way for greater involvement through student activism, which has proved important in much of CEN’s awareness-raising activities. 
 
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Credit: NYCA
Over 2017, the Nepalese Youth for Climate Action (NYCA) and Climate Change Network Nepal were mobilised by CEN to support their advocacy. The groups are made up of students, indigenous representatives and working professionals.
 

“CEN offers students a space for engagement and learning”, detailed Mr. Thapa, explaining how CEN attracts youth activists, “we give them opportunities for development and we have a long history of campaigning”.

This, he argues, is very important to gain youth supporters, who often become government consultants or environmentalist professionals later on in their careers.

Public activism built on CEN’s success with Tribhuvan University over the last year in the build-up to COP23. Using youth activists, CEN hosted documentary screenings, negotiation simulations, and discussion events pre- and post-COP.
 
“These events created a crucial bridge between what the government is doing and ordinary people”, explained Mr. Thapa.
 
Public activism has also cemented CEN’s role as an awareness-raising organisation on climate issues across Nepal, giving them license to promote pro-poor and inclusive adaptation policy in various forums.
 
One way this has continued is through NYCA’s national and regional events. Through youth conferences throughout 2017, CEN were able to stay in dialogue with government and keep momentum behind their advocacy for inclusive adaptation.
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Credit: NYCA

Concrete Outcomes
CEN’s recent efforts have maintained focus on the ‘leave no one behind approach’ - inspired by the Sustainable Development Goals. Campaigning began in 2012, but activities throughout 2017 have ensured CEN’s multi-stakeholder approach has remained relevant in government planning and in outreach to the international community. 

Nepal is now moving into the second phase of the National Adaptation Plan process. This means there is a lot more work to do. "We have set a great example to the international community, now is the time to turn our commitments into action," summarised Mr. Thapa.

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High 5 @ Asia & Pacific

Regional Facilitator, Asia & Pacific

profile vosithaVositha Wijenayake

Vositha joined Climate Action Network (CAN) South Asia in early 2013 as Advocay and Outreach Officer.

Vositha is a CAN Leadership Development Program Fellow (2012-) and former Executive Coordinator of the Sri Lankan Youth Climate Action Network (SLYCAN).

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