‘Climate change’ on top of the pyramid of crises

  • Published Date : October 1, 2021

Wednesday, 29th September 2021 – Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) on Tuesday held an interaction program with the editors of major media outlets on Nepal’s preparations for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland. The program was attended by about 20 editors from major online, television and print media outlets.

Editor-in-Chief of Nepali Times Kunda Dixit, Environmentalist Bhushan Tuladhar and Joint Secretary of Climate Change Management Division under the Ministry of Forest and Environment Dr. Radha Wagle were the panelists while NEFEJ President Kosmos Biswakarma acted as a moderator for the program.

Panelist Bhushan Tuladhar said that major incidents have been taking place in recent years due to climate change and we have been late to address these incidents. He suggested that climate change was endangering the lives of the general public and that the issue should be raised more effectively by the media. Tuladhar stressed that the work should be started from Nepal itself to keep the general public safe from climate change impacts even if Nepal puts forward its issues effectively in the International Conference. “The policies are good. But there is always a problem in implementation”, he said. Furthermore, he elaborated some instances when the government itself violated some of its policies.

Meanwhile, panelist Kunda Dixit said that climate change is a political issue and it is directly linked with the livelihoods of the general people. Stating the negative impacts of climate change on the country’s economy, water resources and human health, he stressed on the need for the media to raise these issues more effectively.

“Human health and the life expectancy of the general public is in a declining trend. On the other hand, the country’s economy is being spent on fossil fuels which is a major source of environmental pollution. This is a big crisis for a country like ours,” said Dixit.

He said that this issue should be raised as a political issue through the mass media as it is related with livelihoods and lives of the people. Climate change is at the top of the pyramid of crises in the country right now,” said Dixit. Therefore, if the existing problems of the society and their solutions are to be explored, the issues created by climate change will also be addressed. He shared that the media has not raised this issue as much as it should. ‘The audience’s interest in social issues and success stories is growing. Therefore, it is time to assess the audience’s opinion about their interest about in the highly disseminated political programs and news, said Dixit.

Panelist Dr. Radha Wagle from Climate Change Management Division under the Ministry of Forest and Environment, informed that Nepal is preparing to make an effective presence in the Conference of the Parties this time. “We have formed 10 thematic committees to form a national opinion on the issues to be raised there. After the committee gives its suggestions, we will prepare a national document based on it and participate in the conference,” she informed. Dr. Wagle informed the impact of climate change on our mountains and general population and its potential impacts is our major priority issue. She informed that the government has adopted a strategy of reducing the consumption of fossil fuels and increasing the programs on adaptation and resilience building. ‘Programs and debates on political issues with political leaders are published and broadcast through the media all the time. In the similar manner, the media should also produce debate programs by discussing on the climate change issues with the political leaders”, she said.

Under Secretary of Climate Change Management Division Dr. Arun Prakash Bhatta mentioned that Nepal has done a lot of commendable work in the field of adaptation and regulation to address the problems created by climate change. He informed that necessary strategies and policies have been formulated so far to address this issue.

Most of the participating editors had their own queries about the issues raised by the panelists. Along with this, the editors also gave their suggestions.

Concluding the program, NEFEJ President Biswakarma said that environment and climate change issues are political issues and development projects that do not consider environmental protection would only cause damage.

Editors and Editors-in-chief from Kantipur Television, The Kathmandu Post, Setopati, Desh Sanchar, Baharkhari, Nagarik Dainik, Annapurna Dainik, The Himalayan Times, Gorkhapatra, Nepal Television, Himalayan Television, AP One Television, Nepali Times, Nepal Khabar, Drishya TV and others were present on the occasion.

The event was organized by Nepal Forum of Environmental Journalists (NEFEJ) for Government of Nepal- Ministry of Forests and Environment in collaboration with Oxford Policy Management (OPM) and the Policy and Inclusion Facility (PIF).