La FAO y el FMAM

Una asociación para la agricultura sostenible y el medio ambiente

Reducing vulnerability and increasing adaptive capacity to respond to the impacts of climate change in Nepal

Agriculture is the backbone of Nepal's economy, contributing to 27 percent of GDP and accounting for 66 percent of jobs. However, the sector is highly dependent on monsoon rains, and farmers have limited or no access to fertilizers, irrigation facilities or quality seeds. In recent years, climate change has had a significant impact on yields and livelihoods, fueled by an increase in climate-related hazards including floods, drought, hailstorms and temperature extremes, as well as pests and diseases, soil erosion, deforestation and desertification. Climate data analysis points towards a consistent year-on-year temperature increase in Nepal of between 0.04 and 0.06°C since the 1960s. Monsoon precipitation shows overall declining trends, particularly in the mid-western and southern parts of western Nepal. Nepalese farmers often lack the knowledge and expertise required to adapt their farming techniques to new weather patterns and the effects of climate variability. Rural communities are increasingly exposed to risks, including livelihood losses, with inadequate capacities and abilities to respond to shocks.

About the project

The project sought to strengthening institutional and technical capacities for reducing vulnerability and promoting climate resilient practices, strategies and plans for effectively responding to the impacts of climate change in the agriculture sector. The project successfully employed a number of good practices in the areas of climate change adaptation, innovation and capacity building.

Good practices for the project's success 

Prioritise simple, effective solutions to accelerate climate change adaptation

In order to drive time-efficient adaption to climate change impacts among farming and herding communities, the project’s farmer field school strategy promoted a range of simple, easy-to-learn and cost-effective technologies and approaches. Leveraging climate-smart agriculture methodologies, such as the sowing of stress-tolerant crop and fodder varieties, riverbed vegetable farming, preparation and use of urea-molasses multi-nutrient blocks, cattle shed improvement, resulted in increased production of crops, vegetables and livestock outputs. Projects should prioritize the introduction of technologies and approaches that can be easily demonstrated within farmer field schools or similar settings, and which deliver swift, proven benefits, such as those adopted by the project.

Leverage technology to strengthen resilience and foster knowledge-sharing

A key element threatening vulnerable communities was the lack of timely information allowing them to respond to climate variability and related shocks. The project addressed this issue by establishing an agrometeorological early warning system. Each FFS group was provided with an Android cell phone and other meteorological devices through which alerts could be swiftly communicated. Beneficiaries began using these tools regularly and benefitted from a greater understanding of the impact climate variability can have on crops and livestock. The warning system would, for example, alert farmers of a likely temperature increase in the coming days, and provide suggestions about how to protect their livestock from heat stress by covering sheds with straw and ensuring the animals had sufficient amounts of water.

Build institutional capacity to mainstream climate change adaptation policies

A core outcome of the project was the strengthening of technical and institutional capacities and the integration of climate change adaptation (CCA) into national food and agriculture policies, strategies and plans. With this aim, the project worked closely with relevant ministries and other stakeholders to carry out CCA-focused trainings at ministerial and district levels, produce CCA manuals, prepare and implement 120 Community-based Adaptation plans, and review relevant policy documents. Nepal revised and published its Climate Change Policy 2019, incorporating recommendations made by the project to promote the transition to sustainable, climate-resilient food and agriculture systems. Initiatives aimed at increasing the technical and institutional capacity of countries to drive sustainable progress underpin the global community’s efforts to curb the impacts of climate change and achieve the SDGs.