Speech by Hon, Ms Sujata Koirala, former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, at 4th Mount Heming International Health Forum on “Climate Change, Human Health and Development”
Chengdu, China, July 18, 2014
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I bring with me cordial greetings from our sisters and brothers of Nepal, and my party-Nepali Congress, to the fellow delegates and their best wishes for the success of this Forum.
I feel it a privilege to be invited to the “4th Mount Heming International Health Forum” on Climate Change, Human Health and Development” in this beautiful city of Mount Heming, Chengdu of the People’s Republic of China. Let me express my sincere thanks to International Ecological Safety Collaboration Organization (IESCO), Global Parties Climate and Ecological Alliance (GPCEA), China Foundation for International Studies and Chinese Ecological Civilization Research and Promotion Association, World Fellowship of Taoism and Enwei Group.
I would also like to express my great admiration to Prof. Dr. Jiang Mingjun and deep appreciation for his dedication, hard work and continuous effort to make this world environmentally as well as ecologically better place to live for all humankind.
Let me also express my sincere thanks to the organizers for inviting me to this programme and providing an opportunity to speak a few words.
Since the signing of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) in 1992, global carbon dioxide emissions have increased by almost one-third, with effects on our health, climate and, therefore, also the development of countries.
We are witness to the fact that rising temperatures have created a number of problems. As the phenomena of climate change does not recognize the geographical boundaries of nations every nation, developed, developing or least-developed, has been suffering from its effects, though in different proportions.
The consequences of climate change have been felt in various ways, like: increasing occurrences of hurricanes of various types, ice sheets of the Himalayas and the Arctic ocean melting, and rising sea levels, threatening many Island nations and those with sea coasts.
As far as we can tell rising temperatures have caused extensive ecosystem damage with the extinction of many species and plants. Diseases like lung cancer and skin cancer are increasing and an uptick in epidemics world-wide are noticeable.
Although Nepal’s contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions is comparatively low, it has been bearing the brunt of its adverse impacts. Nepal has been ranked as the fourth most vulnerable country in the world impacted by climate change.
Temperatures have been rising in Nepal by 0.06 percent per year. Irregular precipitation, causing floods and draughts, low yields in agriculture, loss in Nepal’s rich bio-diversity, degradation in human and animal health, reduction in the volume of water resources, damage to infrastructure, and unusual weather conditions are some of the impacts Nepal has been experiencing in the past couple of decades. There is also the potential danger of the bursting of some of Nepal’s glacial lakes, causing floods and loss of lives and property, if we fail to manage the impacts of a changing climate in a balanced way; not by neglecting human development, but by bringing it more into harmony with nature.
Hence, there is a realization today that development without preservation of the environment is hazardous and unsustainable.
We cannot remain negligent for long when the challenge of climate change confronts us continuously. For it is directly related to our lives in various ways. We have to address it realistically, with urgency and prudence.
There is also a need for financial assistance to economically weaker countries to help in their efforts towards adaptation and mitigation of the effects of climate change.
When the issues of adaptation and mitigation to cope with the adverse effects of climate change arise, application of technology comes to the forefront as an essential element. Large investments in science and technology, research and development are therefore necessary.
Capacity-building through diffusion of technology to the grass-root levels and needy areas, and public-private partnerships for the identification, development, utilization and dissemination of technology are equally important and need to be taken into consideration.
In our common endeavor towards finding solutions to the problems caused by climate change, commitments have been made for assisting the developing and the least-developed countries at the international level, which need to be implemented in true spirit. The Green Climate Fund, established by the Cancun Climate Conference, for mobilizing resources to address the needs of developing countries, especially to support projects, programmes and policies and other activities in developing countries is to be made operational with sufficient resources. Similarly, the Least-Developed Countries Fund created to assist the Least-Developed Countries (LDCs) should be activated for launching concrete projects to address climate change-related problems.
We are now living in a world which is characterized by rapid changes, and given the continuous rise in temperatures and the damage to the global environment, with impacts on our health and livelihoods, our first and foremost task is to invest in alternative-, but no less effective development methods, that will balance our needs with respect to our desires to leave a better world behind for our descendants.
Cultural-, scientific-, industrial-, technological-, infrastructural-, social- and economic development must be in harmony with the changes taking place around us and in harmony with maintaining – or even improving – the natural environment of our planet through proper management, investments and technology.
The developing and the least-developed countries require finance, technology and knowledge from the developed ones to launch effective activities for the protection and preservation of the global environment.
It is with this in mind that our coming together here, in this special place, is very relevant and we must cooperate and work together to find lasting, sustainable solutions to a mirad of challenging problems facing us today.