Amplifying GreenGrowth

Nepal is pioneer in implementing GRID framework.

the HRM
Moving ahead towards lowering the impact of climate change through various adaptation and mitigation measures, countries across the globe have been implementing national action plans on climate change. Consequently, regional and global cooperation and collaborations have amplified. Nepal has been making earnest efforts in line with this to achieve net zero emission by 2045. Nepal’s ambition to be a carbon neutral country by 2045 requires not only a huge investment but also the readiness from all stakeholders – government, private sector and also from the household level. The means and tools are being designed and implemented to achieve the target.

Implementation of GRID framework
So far, on September 23, 2021, development partners endorsed the landmark ‘Kathmandu Declaration’ under which, a strategic action plan for Nepal towards Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID) has been framed. Endorsed by the Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of Nepal, Asian Development Bank, Australia, European Union, Finland, France, Germany, International Monetary Fund, Norway, Republic of Korea, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United Nations, United States, and the World Bank, the GRID framework provided a roadmap for Nepal’s Transition to GRID for Sustainable Recovery, Growth, and Jobs.

Development partners have streamlined their cooperation based on the framework as they had identified up to $4.2 billion in potential future support, in addition to the $3.2 billion in previously committed resources to support GRID. The GRID Strategic Action Plan coordinates international and domestic financing for priority investments in Nepal’s recovery from the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Investments will support Nepal’s long-term plan, Nationally Determined Contribution to the Paris Climate Accords, and the Sustainable Development Goals in promoting green growth, jobs, and infrastructure, and building resilience to climate change and shocks from disasters, as well as equitable access to services for Nepalis, as mentioned in the declaration.

“The government and development partners intend to scale up support for such areas as sustainable tourism, renewable energy, cleaner transport and resilient roads, integrated solid waste management, sustainable forest management, watershed protection and water supply, biodiversity conservation, adaptive social protection, climate-smart agriculture, and sustainable cities.”

It has further said that partnerships and opportunities will be sought with the private sector to increase green investment and support job-creating small and medium enterprises and businesses in these and other areas.

Nepal’s GRID vision also emphasises inclusion to enable women, indigenous groups, and vulnerable and marginalised communities to realise the benefits of a green, resilient recovery, which includes skills training and education opportunities to help citizens prepare for an evolving job market in a new green economy with greater opportunities for all Nepalis.

Keiko Honda, Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), said that Nepal is a pioneer in implementing GRID aligning it with national development agenda.

Combating with climate change impacts
Despite negligible emissions, a dismal 0.06% of the global carbon emissions, Nepal is committed to accelerating climate action while adhering to the Paris Agreement’s common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities. Recently, the Government of Nepal has launched National Adaptation Plan (2021-2050).

Adaptation to the adverse impacts of climate change is the priority for Nepal, and NAP sets out a framework to integrate adaptation across sectors and levels of government. The plan sets out short-term priority actions to 2025, as well as medium-term priority programmes to 2030 and long-term adaptation strategic goals to 2050 that aims to assist Nepal to better integrate actions and strategies to address climate risk and vulnerability in development planning and implementation. The short-term and medium-term actions are designed to help the Government of Nepal achieve the adaptation actions set out in its 2020 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC). Reportedly, NAP also serves as Nepal’s instrument of Adaptation Communication, a requirement of the Paris Agreement under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The development agenda we are adopting advocates investment in planet and people to attain shared prosperity, according to Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, United Nations Resident Coordinator. “Saving the planet is the most crucial element for any investment and development works.”

Adaptation and mitigation are must to combat with climate change impacts as the increase in global surface temperature has been changing precipitation patterns and climate warming is associated with declines in snow and ice cover, and cryosphere changes in high mountain regions due to climate change which includes declines in low-elevation snow cover, glaciers and permafrost. The Himalayas will have no ice by the year 2300 or even sooner. The intense impact of climate change on glaciers in the Nepal Himalayas has resulted in retreat of glaciers, elimination of small glaciers and formation of new glacial lakes and enlarged existing glacial lakes and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs) that result from the breaching of natural dams that hold back the glacial lakes, as cited in the NAP.

Nepal has been witnessing melting of Himalayas, avalanches, GLOFs, erratic monsoons, floods and inundation, and change in crop patterns. To avoid and minimise the impacts, the country needs to adapt an implementation plan and it also requires a broad regional and global cooperation to lower the global temperature rise and save the Himalayas in the Hindu-Kush region, which is source of water for 1.3 billion people. In a conversation with the HRM Nepal, former Ambassador of India to Nepal, Ranjit Rae, pointed out the need to form a regional forum for dialogue on climate change agenda.

Renewable energy catalyst for amplifying green growth
Countries have to invest in renewable energy, which is considered the major factor for amplifying green growth. The new energy policy of the Asian Development Bank is designed to support universal access to reliable and affordable energy services, while promoting low-carbon transition in Asia and the Pacific.
“This new policy locks in our strong commitment that ADB will not fund new coal power production,” he said (who?). “Together with our elevated ambition to deliver $100 billion in climate financing to our Development Member Countries in 2019–2030, it provides a clear path for ADB’s contribution to an environmentally sustainable energy future,” according to ADB.

“As the International Energy Agency scenarios suggest the region’s installed electricity-generating capacity could increase by about 7% per annum, from 3,386 gigawatts in 2019 to 6,113 gigawatts by 2030, investments in renewable energy generation in the region could reach $1.3 trillion per annum by 2030, doubling the amount from the previous decade.”

Similar to the regional scenario, Nepal’s Long-term Strategy for Net-zero Emissions underlined the magnitude of investment necessitates comprehensive investment planning in the power sector, as well as the review and formulation of fiscal and sectoral policies, rules and regulations to attract domestic and international investment. Hydro and solar power generation is a cleaner source of energy and is frequently used to replace fossil fuels, and it is also necessary to investigate the possibility of generating carbon revenue from downstream electrification and power trade to improve the competitiveness of climate change mitigation measures.
According to the Independent Power Producers’ Association, Nepal (IPPAN), the installed capacity has reached 2,520 MW. The country has a target of 6,700 MW of installed capacity by 2027. “The contribution of the private sector is expected to reach 80% of installed capacity from the present 55%. With sluggish peak demand at 1,900 MW, the current year’s wet season surplus is expected to exceed 1,000 MW,” according to Ashish Garg, Vice President of IPPAN.
Nepal Electricity Authority has said that so far peak load is recorded at 1,955 MW comprising of 1,438 MW national demand and 517 MW export to India. Nepal is already a power exporting country, however, the huge potential of renewable energy is yet to be exploited. Once exploited Nepal will be able to supply clean and renewable energy to the South Asia region, which is expected to be instrumental in minimising carbon emissions. Nepal anticipates being a net exporter of clean and renewable source of energy or hydroelectricity by 2025 and there will be no need for imports even during the dry season, according to Kul Man Ghising, Managing Director of Nepal Electricity Authority. On the other hand, Nepal will be able to increase domestic consumption in clean transport, clean cooking solutions, electricity intensive service-based industries like data centres and low-emitting technology-based industry as well as irrigation and other sectors that propel inclusive economic growth.

Reduce, reuse, recycle for environmental sustainability
One critical aspect of reducing emission and promoting a green economy is reducing the use of products/services emitting carbon and lower the carbon footprint. Similarly, households can reuse many commodities/products to the extent they can be reused or recycled. Promoting circular economy is another way to minimise the carbon footprint at the personal and household level. The circular economy is a model of production and consumption, which involves sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible. Rather than using plastic plates, the use of betel leaf plates and bowls can be environmentally friendly and offers opportunities of employment and income generation through use of local raw materials. Such leaf plates are recyclable, however, the plastics are non-biodegradable and pollute the environment.

Promoting creative green economy
‘Green economy’ is like a buzz word in modern-day society. To translate it into action, it requires awareness as well as means and tools to adapt climate-friendly production and consumption techniques at the grassroots level.

Taking this initiative forward, StoryCycle is working together with entrepreneurs in different regions of the country with the support of the British Council in Nepal. “We are implementing the concept of creative green economy,” said Saurav Dhakal, Founder/Curator of StoryCycle, “We are mulling over to taking this initiative as a movement for promoting nature-based business and enhancing sustainable production and consumption practices at the grassroots level.”
While calling and receiving proposals from aspiring entrepreneurs, StoryCycle has been providing mentoring, incubation and grants with the support of British Council to promote such nature-based business. Further, entrepreneurs are provided product-marketing support and supply chain linkages, according to Dhakal, “These entrepreneurs are mostly startups, and a few are scaleup companies.”

Joining hands in this initiative, Kathmandu University has also been gearing up to provide academic accreditation to the craft-toolkits developed for entrepreneurs during the implementation of this initiative.

‘Nepal may not be able to sustain green economy’

Prof. Achyut Wagle

‘Green economy’ sounds well. But if we become pragmatic, we require a grand planning to accelerate economic activities and keep macroeconomic stability. Till today, the major source of our revenue are petrol/diesel-engine vehicles and petroleum. Considering this fact, we need to plan in a big way. If we fully adapt clean transportation and clean cooking, how much revenue will the government generate. The government might not have thought about alternative revenue sources, or I do not know, they might have been preparing to tax electric vehicles and clean cooking solutions. In the present context, I do not see any prospect that Nepal is in a position to promote green economy. It may not sustain long in Nepal until and unless we have a robust production base.

‘Promoting nature-based businesses is need of the hour’

Saurav Dhakal, Founder / Curator, Story Cycle

Story Cycle jointly with British Council in Nepal is promoting nature-based businesses. We are promoting local products that have backward and forward linkages, will have a greater impact in developing inclusive economy and ownership of people towards the environment. By providing effective handholding like mentoring, incubating and providing grant support, we connect entrepreneurs with the market, offer them product-marketing techniques and establish supply chain linkages. We are preparing for an exhibition of such products of nature-based businesses in the near future.

Global IME Bank pledges to reduce consumption of plastic under ‘Planet vs Plastic’ campaign

Global IME Bank Ltd has expressed solidarity with the ‘Planet vs Plastic’ campaign and taken the initiative to reduce the use of plastic as an environment-friendly and sustainable practice in the bank. The bank has pledged to significantly reduce the use of plastic in the next three years.

This environment-friendly initiative will begin from the corporate office of the bank and expand to all branches across the country through the provincial offices. The bank has been conducting various activities since its establishment to minimise the use of plastic and raise awareness against plastic pollution.

‘A regional forum required to discuss climate issues ’

Ranjit Rae, Former Ambassador of India to Nepal

People of the Himalayas (Hindu-Kush region) are most vulnerable due to climate change impacts caused by global temperature rise. There are discussions at the regional and global level to enhance cooperation and collaboration to combat with climate crisis. I think a regional forum is required to frame a strategy and develop an agenda to ensure special protection of vulnerable people as well as to disseminate our experience and efforts of combating with climate change and the possible crisis we are facing. For instance, there is an issue of water scarcity in Ladakh, whereas Sikkim has experience of shifting to organic farming. Nepal has many other relevant issues to be taken to the forum.

USD 5 billion Asian Development Fund Replenishment Agreed to Support Most Vulnerable in Asia and Pacific

Donors and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have agreed to a replenishment of $5 billion for ADB’s Asian Development Fund (ADF) 14 and Technical Assistance Special Fund (TASF) 8. The commitment was made during ADB’s 57th annual meeting held in Tbilisi, Georgia.

Nepal is also listed in the list of primary grant recipients to minimise the impacts of climate change and protect people exposed to vulnerability.

The ADF is ADB’s largest source of grants for operations in its poorest and most vulnerable developing member countries and is replenished every four years. ADF 14 – marking the 13th replenishment since the fund’s establishment – will support grant operations during 2025-2028. The ADF 14 replenishment is about 22% higher than the $4.1 billion available in ADF 13, and will provide eligible ADB members with the largest-ever volume of ADF grants. TASF 8 will provide grants that help prepare projects, build capacity and provide technical or policy advice.

“Grants are more important than ever as our poorest and most vulnerable members seek to reverse recent development setbacks and take urgent action to combat the climate crisis,” said ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa. “This remarkable replenishment demonstrates ADF donors’ continued partnership with ADB to address the pressing development challenges of those most in need.”

ADF 14 prioritises dedicated assistance to small island developing states that are particularly vulnerable – especially to climate change – and to countries in fragile and conflict-affected situations.

ADF 14 will continue to play a critical role in supporting climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction. It will enable expanded assistance for regional cooperation and regional public goods, and for transformative gender action. It will also provide agile assistance in the event of emergencies through its crisis response window.

More than $2.5 billion, or 51%, of the replenishment will be funded by contributions from donors including two new countries: Armenia and Georgia. ADB will significantly increase its net income transfers to ADF, from just under $1.2 billion in ADF 13 to almost $1.6 billion in ADF 14, an increase of 35%. The remaining $0.9 billion will comprise transfers from earlier ADF cycles and income from liquidity investments. In parallel, ADB intends to provide $16.7 billion in concessional loans, which have very low interest rates over long repayment periods, during the ADF 14 period. Overall, ADB will be able to provide more than $8 in grants and concessional loans for every $1 in donor contributions.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region.

‘The European Union is with Nepal at all critical junctures’

Veronique Lorenzo is the EU Ambassador to Nepal. She was previously the Head of the Division for South America in the European External Action Service. An economist by training, Lorenzo has over 30 years of international experience, mostly in development cooperation and has lived and worked in a number of fragile and conflict-affected countries including Mozambique, Afghanistan, Uganda, Myanmar and Somalia where she was the EU Ambassador from 2006 to 2008. At the EU Headquarters, Lorenzo has been Head of the Environment and Biodiversity and the Health, Education, Culture and Research units at the European Commission (Development Cooperation Directorate). She has represented the European Commission at the Board of a number of global initiatives, notably the Global Fund for Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the Global Partnership for Education. She is a French and Spanish national and holds a BSc in Economics from the London School of Economics and an MSc in Agricultural Economics from Wye College. Ambassador Lorenzo has been serving in Nepal since the last seven months. The HRM Nepal had a conversation with her on a wide range of issues. Excerpts:

Though it has been only a short while, how would you like to describe your experience in Nepal?
I have been in Nepal for almost seven months now. It is fascinating and I am very happy to be here. But I would say it is a diverse and very complex country. The biggest asset the country has is its people. The country is lovely, welcoming, interesting and diverse. In a way that is the most attractive. I was in Nepal earlier and it was 23 years back, and when I left at that time I remembered the people and friends I met here the most. I am sure that is going to happen in the future as well.

Nepal and EU are marking the semi-centennial of diplomatic relations under the theme of ‘growing stronger together’. How can Nepal and EU elevate this cooperation to a new height in the coming days?
Yes, it has been 50 years of diplomatic ties between Nepal and the EU. The last time I was here it was probably halfway through that; I was here 23 years ago. We were already established partners back then too. We are mainly a development partner. We have been here at all the critical junctures of Nepal – during the peace process, we responded after the massive earthquake of April 2015, we have supported to strengthen the health system during the Covid-19 pandemic and minimise the impact on the economy. The most important thing to see is the development of these relations, which have expanded and deepened. I think today, the relation between Nepal and the European Union is a partnership. We partner together in a multilateral forum. We also appreciate what Nepal brings to the table. Nepal is the biggest contributor to peace keeping forces of the United Nations. It is a fundamental contribution. With Nepal’s graduation to middle income status, what becomes more important is trade and investment. The relationship has grown to encompass other dimensions.

EU has said that the support through MIP (multi-annual indicative programme) will be continued even after the graduation of Nepal to the league of developing nations till 2027. What will be the major areas of cooperation from the EU to help sustain graduation?
If I go back a little bit to the previous question, we have been partnering to support Nepal in three big areas – renewable energy, human capital development (we have been present for a long time in education, mainly in basic education), and implementation of federal constitution (by providing capacity building at local level). If we look forward, what is needed for the country to graduate to the league of developing nation is more investment. Investment is the foundation of economic growth. Nepal needs to grow further; it needs to provide more business opportunities, job opportunities and also to attract back all the youth who have migrated out of the country because of lack of opportunities. The dimension we still need to develop and amplify is to help Nepal to attract further investments. We are stepping in a direction of EU-Nepal Business Forum. We are organising this forum, where 50 European companies are coming either from Europe or from the region, mostly from New Delhi to showcase the sectors of most potential in Nepal. There is amazing potential in a number of sectors. Nepal’s renewable energy has a huge market with India to be realised. One other sector that is less well-known but that has progressed a lot in terms of employment and exports is the IT sector. If we look at renewable energy and the IT sector together, there are opportunities to create synergies because AI for instance or data centres are incredibly energy intensive. At the same time, Nepal has the potential to supply energy and also the potential to develop the aforementioned sectors. Altogether, the potential is phenomenal. Also, in agriculture and tourism, these are big sectors currently for the Nepali economy. But perhaps there are other areas that have not done very well in current years. Therefore, it is a question of exploring opportunities in the industry, for example, we want to attract high-end tourists; there are several niches that make sense for Nepal to explore. In agriculture, it is extremely difficult for a country like Nepal to compete against highly commercial agriculture countries but there are unique products in Nepal. There is a low volume, high value product that could make sense to develop more like timur, ginger, cardamom, coffee, pashmina and medicinal herbs that we have been supporting since the last few years. These are the four sectors we are focusing to showcase the potential of Nepal’s economy during the EU-Nepal Business Forum.

During the recent Joint Commission meeting, Nepal and the EU discussed the criteria for Nepal to join the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+). What are the key differences between GSP+ and the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme Nepal currently enjoys? Will Nepal be eligible to apply for GSP+ after graduating from Least Developed Country status? If Nepal qualifies for GSP+, is there a specific timeframe for how long the country can benefit from the scheme?
The EBA (Everything But Arms) is provided to least developed countries (LDCs), so when Nepal graduates it will lose access. I should stress, unfortunately, Nepal is not very good in taking advantage of EBA. If Nepal graduates in 2026, it will still have transition period of three years before it loses the access. However, there is another preferential access the GSP+, to which Nepal can accede. But it needs better homework. This GSP+ is very interesting; it will provide tariff advantages also in a number of sectors. Many of them are comparable to EBA. However, as I said Nepal has to do a little bit of homework and ensure ratification of two conventions of ILO on labour inspection and freedom of association and also biosafety protocol – Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety.

To avail GSP+ facilities for exports in the EU, Nepal’s production sector should offer decent job opportunities and fair-trade standards including biosafety protocol?
It is important that Nepal respect labour standards and demonstrate that. At the moment, just ratifying is not enough. Nepal needs to demonstrate that she will implement it by recruiting labour inspectors.

Another critical factor for Nepal to utilise GSP+ effectively is international accreditation of Nepali laboratories. Currently, certifications issued by Nepali labs are not recognised during exports. How can the EU assist Nepal in expediting the accreditation of its labs? This accreditation seems even more pressing to fully benefit from GSP+.

We are taking it forward under our trade and investment programme that supports the implementation of Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS). Very often, it is simply a question of not understanding the rules, not knowing what steps to be taken in the procedure. An objective of this programme is to support producers and associations to put together guidelines that explain clearly what are the steps that need to be followed.

What will be the major focus and objectives of the EU-Nepal Business Forum that is taking place in mid-May?
EU-Nepal Business Forum essentially attracts our European firms to invest in Nepal. Some of them come from Europe, but most of them are already in the region. The forum will delve into where the restrictions and difficulties of investing in Nepal are. What I think is important for them is to witness progress in areas like how the government is trying to attract investments and creating a more conducive environment. There has been some progress but that is not enough. This will be an opportunity for investors to be here to see what the Government of Nepal has done. Recently, an ordinance was passed amending various provisions of a number of laws. Further, investors will have a platform to understand what the plans are to make an easier environment for the private sector to invest in. It is of course an opportunity for businesses to meet each other, establish networks and match-make between them. As I have mentioned that ICT sector is not well known, that is why information needs to be disseminated to foreign investors.

The Nepali government recently passed an ordinance amending investment laws. While this is a positive step, what obstacles might still discourage potential investors in Nepal?
There is an issue of repatriation of profit. All foreign investors investing in Nepal should be assured that they can take profits back home. Further, Nepal has some agreements on dual taxation avoidance, however, there is issue prevailing in dual taxation. It remains a concern that foreign companies are unfairly taxed, when they try to take their profit out. There is another issue of interest rate caps. You cannot ask investors or equity funds or banks to lend at a rate that will not cover their costs. These are the typical problems where regulations need to be changed. There are also cases where laws and regulations are fine, but they are not being implemented. I have heard lots of issues on obtaining business visas and all the difficulties. Normally, you have a one-stop service (OSS) centre but paper works are extremely lengthy and complicated and that slows down all the processes, increasing cost and time; for investors time is money. There should be acknowledgement of problems and real political will to improve those issues. We can bring investors to witness and explore opportunities, however, we cannot force them to invest. It is their decision on whether it is worthwhile to invest in Nepal.

The EU-Nepal Business Forum serves as a platform for connecting EU investors with the Nepali private sector, fostering networking with policymakers and stakeholders. With the first edition completed and the second one upcoming, how effective has the EU-Nepal Business Forum been in achieving its objectives?
One event isn’t enough to attract major investments. It is a long-term process, like building a string of pearls. This event is a good start, and we hope it will give us ideas on how to move forward in specific sectors. We will keep supporting Nepali businesses and European investors who want to work together.

The growth of Nepal’s tourism industry relies heavily on direct air connections to Europe. However, the EU’s decision to blacklist Nepali airlines prevents such connections. One factor the EU has mentioned for the ban is that the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) fulfills both regulatory and service provider roles. Do you believe splitting the CAAN into separate entities, as a regulator and service provider, would be a significant step towards the EU lifting the ban on Nepali airlines?
Let me go little bit back in time. Nepal has been in the air safety list of European Union since 2013. There was an assessment in September last year. We had four experts came to look into the different aspects of air safety in Nepal and they had submitted the report to a committee of European member states. Based on the report European member states decided that they could not lift Nepal out of the air safety list as there was lack of sufficient basis to do so. The issue is not just about splitting of CAAN. It is incorrect to focus attention on the splitting of regulator and service provider. There are a number of safety aspects that need to be abided by CAAN. Not during this assessment mission, but one of the comments that was made some time ago was the importance of having a firewall between the service provider and the regulatory body. Independence of decision and of action is important and whether this is done by a function of separation or legislative act that enforces a split is Nepal’s internal decision. The recommendations that were made are requirement of firewall between service provider and regulatory body and as far as we are aware functional separation has been implemented.

Nepal has huge potential of renewable energy, particularly hydroelectricity. How can we attract more investment from European countries to develop the energy sector and associated infrastructure and services so that Nepal can accelerate growth, create more jobs and promote inclusive economy?
Our investment in the energy sector is already sizable. We have four ongoing projects in transmission and distribution. We have a pipeline of projects to invest in the future, particularly in the generation of hydroelectricity. This is a sector, where we are most invested in. And this will continue to be the case in the next few years.

Nepal has been recognised as a pioneer in implementing Green, Resilient, Inclusive Development (GRID) framework. Nepal has made a commitment to achieving net zero target by 2045. How do you assess Nepal’s target to be a carbon neutral country? What means and tools does Nepal require to achieve that target?
Plans are good but they need to be implemented. Nepal’s ambition to be a climate neutral by 2045 is great. We have been supporting Nepal in this green transition. And investments in the green energy are a fundamental part of the equation because hydropower is renewable energy. When Nepal has a lot more production or reach for 4,000-5,000 megawatts, Nepal will be able to convert a lot of the internal demand to electricity. We talk a lot about electric vehicles but also cooking is a huge part of the demand and having this internal conversion would be a huge factor in achieving net zero target. Nepal also has to stop the fires that we are seeing in the last few weeks. That is absolutely dreadful. It is bad for the environment, tourism, bad for our health. This is a very serious problem.

Nepal, like many countries, faces rising costs for infrastructure projects due to stricter climate risk mitigation requirements. However, Nepal also has a roadmap for transitioning to a green economy. Given these factors, how can Nepal access subsidised green financing and assistance to implement its green economic goals?
What I am hearing is the increasing interest in carbon finance. That will probably play a major role when the parameters are right. The price of carbon is set at the sufficiently interesting level for Nepal to sign agreements. That will be the green part of it. The European Union has been the biggest supporter and contributor to the loss and damage of funds. The European Union is the biggest supporter of that and that is an area where Nepal can also benefit because it suffered disproportionately considering the insignificant carbon she emits globally.

Climate change is a pressing global issue, and countries in the Hindu-Kush region face similar challenges. How can the European Union facilitate the formation of a regional forum to enable collaboration among these countries to address these shared challenges?
Regional coordination is absolutely fundamental for effective advocacy. For instance, we have seen small island developing nations have had a very strong and effective voice. The mountain issue has to be better articulated and articulated collectively with the countries that share the Hindu-Kush Himalaya. To bring the problem forward, I am not sure that there is sufficient awareness. The Secretary General of the United Nations came here a few months ago and made a pitch for saving the Himalayas but that effort needs to be sustained and repeated because of terrible consequences. Over a 1.3 billion people are depending on downstream water from the Himalayas and rivers are on the risk of getting dry due to fast melting of Himalayas beyond 2050. And 2050 is not so far from today.

The European Union supports Nepal’s efforts to benefit from multilateral cooperation. However, concerns exist about the effectiveness of the United Nations and the slowdown of globalisation. Do you believe that international institutions, including the UN, require significant reforms to better address global challenges and ensure the preservation of global commons for future generations?
Beyond protecting our shared global resources, the world faces the grim reality of ongoing wars. I think the first thing we have to insist is that multilateralism is necessary. It is fundamental to channel our collective action. There have been various attempts to form other groups, we stand by with the fundamental values of United Nations Charter. When the question comes, does it need reform? Yes, absolutely. The European Union has always been at the forefront of proposing a greater role for emerging economies. The world has changed since 1945. It is only natural the body representing all our countries should evolve accordingly. But I repeat that it remains a strong pillar that symbolises all the fundamental values we stand for. If you look at UN resolutions on Ukraine it is about upholding the rule of law. It is about respecting territorial integrity and having a rules-based order, where the countries respect certain rules. Otherwise, we will have a rule of the strongest and weakest and we will suffer. We spent decades, perhaps centuries, setting these rules. It is absolutely fundamental that we stand by with these rules/values. EU is the biggest supporter of the United Nations. Nepal has been a valuable partner who shares our commitment to the UN and its principles. Their voting record at the UN often aligns with ours. Upholding the UN Charter is not just the right thing to do, it benefits all countries, especially smaller nations.

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