Kathmandu, Aug 25: Finance Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has been elected the Vice Chairman of Global Environment Facility (GEF) by a plenary session held under the ongoing Seventh GEF Assembly in Canada.
During the session, the Republic of Panama proposed his candidacy for the post and it was backed by the Netherlands, according to the Finance Minister’s Secretariat. The Assembly that kicked off on August 22 will conclude on August 26.
Prior to this, the Minister addressed the Assembly, apprising the session that “Nepal has protected 45 percent of forest of its total land and contributed to the emission of clean air (oxygen) for the entire human community.” In addition to this, he took time to say that such contribution is significant in terms of managing the sources of water for over one billion population in the South Asia.
He said Nepal is honestly engaged in efforts to preserve biodiversity. It has protected rare and endangered wildlife and species and as a result, there has been a significant rise in the populations of tigers and rhinos. Such wildlife reserves are not only the treasures of Nepal, but also of the entire world.
According to the Minister despite efforts, Nepal remains highly vulnerable to climate change impacts. It is the 10th most vulnerable nation to such hazards and it continues to witness incidences of landslides, flooding, partial rainfall, dryness, and the increased threat of glacial lake outbursts in recent times.
The temperature is estimated to increase from 0.5 to 2.0 degrees Celsius by 2030 in Nepal and the Finance Minister drew the attention of the participants that the country will require more than 50 billion USD until 2050 to combat the impact and adverse effects from this temperature rise.
Stressing on the need of effective implementation of programmes run through climate financing, he urged for focusing resources, including the Global Biodiversity Framework Fund, endorsed by this very Assembly towards the highly-affected countries.
Only expanding the Fund is not going to be effective until it is implemented in an integrated and paramount way, the Finance Minister said.
Representing the countries at high risk of climate change, Finance Minister Mahat stressed on the occasion that the Fund should be implemented so as to bring positive change in the living standard of the local people and to enhance the quality of investment project.
According to him, environmental sustainability could not be achieved until and unless significant investment is made in human development sector.
Emphasizing on the need of executing the programmes of the Environment Fund through the national system, he called for including concrete and identifiable activities in the project and direct the investment in the major activities of the project.
Similarly, he underscored the need of highest level of collaboration and everyone’s contribution to address the multi-faceted impact of climate change.