Women's Tribunal:  Gender and Climate Justice:  NEPAL

Date:  October 16, 2011
Location:  DOLAKHA District
Organizers:  Jagaran Nepal Women's Organization and FTF
Contact:  Sharmila Karki, Executive Director,, 
Manisha Subedi, 

Tribunal Report: Nepal

Since the 1960s, Nepal has seen 17 glacial lakes breach their boundaries, causing death and destruction. Studies had forecast that Tsho Rolpa would also cause a GLOF – glacial lake outburst flood - in 1997. If the dam gets breached, a flood of nearly 80 cu m of water could put the lives of over 6,000 people at risk and destroy a 60 megawatt hydropower project.

Women in developing countries like Nepal are primarily responsible for the production of foods .Women are particularly affected by climate change because they generally do not have secure, affordable access and control over land, water, livestock and natural resources. Jagaran Nepal on behalf of GCAP National   Coalition with support from Feminist Task Force (FTF) of GCAP Foundation organized a hearing on climate justice and its impact on rural women in Dolakha district on 30th October 2011; with the support of local host Mahila Uthhan Kendra, Charikot Dolakha. 

Suntali Shrestha, a resident of Naagdaha -4, is a victim who expressed that women and girls now have to travel far distances to obtain water, fuel and fodder. Less production, floods and fear of Tsho-Rolpa Snow Lake outburst  like problems are in Naagdaha. Foods and fruits have no origin taste as well. The streams are going too dry. These above mentioned problems are common but six thousands people around Naagdaha are living by the fear of Snow Lake outburst. Government has established an alarm bell but how can we (women and children) escape if bell rings at Night?  Though Nepal’s government installed 17 stations to issue early flood warnings – through air horns backed by sirens – villagers say some of them were disabled during the 10-year civil war fought by the Maoist insurgents. Also, while people from the at-risk zone moved to safer areas in 1997, they returned to their villages when nothing happened.

The people especially women and children of Naagdaha – 6 have been suffering from the problems of Lake glaciers, floods and not enough production. Easily accessible water sources are dried and problems in irrigation because of floods and landslides. Farming lands are covered by sand due to floods and women are suffering by various diseases. Children feel difficult to go school because they may lose the life by heavy rain and floods. So, we are in fear of displaced by natural disaster and human-made hydro projects as well. The Government has planned to establish a hydro project in Naagdaha Government declared to us any time we have to displace from this place. We are always in trauma  and worried for being displaced from our own land.   

The Way Forward:
·      Women should not only be viewed as victims of climate change, but also as effective agents of change in relation to both mitigation and adaptation.
·      Actions should be taken to increase women’s participation include advocacy and awareness raising initiatives, provision of information and  training for women, efforts to increase attention to gender perspectives in policy formulation and evaluation.
·      Women’s participation should be most in the process of climate finance, adaptation and mitigation process.
·      Rich countries must take primary responsibilities for current climate change and poor countries must implement sustainable development plans to achieve the MDGs.
·      The capacity of rural women has to be further strengthened to include equal access to negotiating, developing, managing and implementing adaptation and program process.
·      Female students should not discontinue going school.
·      Food security should be ensured.
·      Special provision should be done to displaced person for rehabilitation according to their interest.
·      Women’s reproductive health facilities should be fully equipped.
·      The national policies and programs should be formulate to stop violence against women.
·      Women should be empowered by economic, education, skill-building and some economic supported programs as well as access over property right.
·      Government has to ensure women’s participation in decision making at all levels on environmental issues, in particular on strategies related to climate change.
(Nepal - The GCAP Part I report included Nepal even though it was coordinated by the FTF. )

Media contact:  Manisha Subedi,
Speaker at Tribunal in the Gender & Climate Justice in 2009

Climate is one of the main and important global challenges. People in Nepal have started to   understand the problem of unpredicted rainfall, drought and other climatic hazards but no major action is being taken to reduce global warming and create a better environment for the future. The impacts of climate change are vivid in least developed, landlocked, and mountainous countries. Nepal being one of these,  it has been an urgent necessity to address the issue of climate change by formulating a policy and implementing relevant programmes to minimize the existing effects and likely impacts in different ecological regions—from the Southern plains to the middle hills and to the high Himalayan mountains in the north, and their peoples, livelihoods, and ecosystems.
The scenarios of climate change in Nepal have indicated that significant warming particularly at higher elevations will lead to reduction in snow and ice coverage; will create an increase in frequency of climate induced disasters including flooding and droughts; and cause an uneven precipitation distribution over the regional scale. In the past decade in Nepal the damage is increasingly evident and has initiated arable land lost to flood and erosion, erratic changes in monsoon, water shortages and drought events; growing threats from Glacial Lake Outburst Floods (GLOFs), disappearing forests in some areas; invasion of exotic species, outbreak of diseases, sharp and sustained decline in food security and threats to biodiversity. These climate induced risks and hazards can have wide ranging, often unanticipated, effects on the environment and on socio-economic and development related sectors, including agriculture and food security, biodiversity, water resources, energy, human health, urban settlement, terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems (NCVST, 2009; WFP, 2009).  All these scenarios are directly related to women and have adverse effect on their livelihood.

Nepal NAPA report 2010 states that “Since women are largely engaged in climate sensitive sectors any degree of adverse climate change effect increases their vulnerability.  Thus gender related issues need to be taken into account while developing adaptation strategies to climate change.” However, of the millions of dollars spent on climate change projects in developing countries, little has been allocated in a way that will benefit women. Yet, it is women who will be most affected by climate change.

Climate change has direct impact on the lives of Nepalese women.  Climate variability like landslide, drought, heavy rainfall, glacial outburst, and flood are due to changing weather patterns in the region.  As a result, either too much water or too little water is absorbed. In any of these cases livelihood of women especially rural women is adversely affected. Nepal is mainly agro economic based and depends on monsoon for its agriculture and hence these climate variabilities has directly proportional relationship with food security. Again there is a cultural aspect which disallows women to get enough food as culturally she is bound to feed herself after feeding the entire family. This might even lead to starvation which has direct impact on her health resulting in malnutrition, anemia and others. It is women who have to walk miles for fetching drinking water to her family. Migration  of male counterparts either to India or Gulf countries  in search of  better opportunities have made women more vulnerable as this have added responsibilities for  women to  bear the burden of including safety and security.

Therefore, this tribunal is an event that provides an opportunity to the Nepalese women who are suffering the impact of climate change to make their voices heard locally, nationally and globally.

The main objective of Women’s tribunal on Climate change is to bring the voices of women from grassroots level to national level directly to decision makers. However, the other objectives of this tribunal include:
·         To pressurize government to formulate and implement policies for gender justice on climate change.
·         To raise awareness on the issue of climate change, climate induced hazards and ways of adaptation. 
·         To encourage women for addressing impacts of climate change at local level through adaptation. 

A local level tribunal will be organized on climate change in Dolakha district of Nepal. From there the issues will be indentified ensuring the participation of Jury, testimonies, stakeholders and journalists. Thereafter, a regional and national level sharing will be organized. The participation will be inclusive in terms of ethnicity and geographical areas of Nepal. 

For more information, contact:   Manisha Subedi, or Rosa Lizarde, Global Coordinator, Feminist Task Force at

No comments:

Post a Comment