Global

  • Climate-resilient Nepal survives the earthquake

    Paola Di Bella

    25/06/15
On 25 April, Nepal was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake. But as well as quakes, the country is also vulnerable to climate change, a combination that makes it harder to build resilience and risk preparedness.
 
As mean temperatures rise in South Asia, the monsoon season has changed, leading to more-erratic rainfall and increasing the risk of floods and landslides that can claim lives and wreck food production.
 
One way of adapting to climate change and protecting local economies is to help people become ‘climate smart’. People in ‘climate smart villages’ are trained to adopt organic farming and integrate low-tech and modern technologies.
 
The smart villages have been developed as part of the Himalayan Climate Change Adaptation Programme, a partnership between the Nepal-based International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development and two Norwegian organisations: CICERO (the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research — Oslo) and GRID-Arendal, a foundation that collaborates with the UN Environment Programme. The pilot projects are being rolled out in partnership with the Center for Environmental and Agricultural Policy Research, Extension and Development in Nepal.

This photo gallery, shot before the earthquake, shows some of the innovations local people are introducing as part of a broader effort to adapt to climate change before its worst impacts become irreparable.
 
No one in the pilot villages in the Kathmandu Valley — an area badly affected by the earthquake — was injured or killed. But almost half the households were harmed in some way: houses, cattle sheds and equipment were damaged, and farm plots and water collection ponds were destroyed. But the disaster has not drastically affected the project, and the effort to build a climate-resilient Nepal will continue.