Policy Conference in Kathmandu / Nepal, March 20, 2014
On March 20, 2014, more 46 people participated in a policy conference of the cluster Food Security in Kathmandu / Nepal. The conference “Food Security in the Context of Climate Change” was co-organized by the Centre for South Asian Studies. Among others, FAO, UNEP, UNDP, World Food Programme, Delegation of the European Union to Nepal, Ministry of Agricultural Development Nepal, Ministry of Justice Vietnam, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives Thailand, the research institute of the Ministry of Agriculture Indonesia as well as of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Cambodia, International Rice Research Institute, and Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) participated in the event. In addition, researchers from Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Nepal, Philippines, Poland, Spain, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, UK, and Vietnam attended the conference.
At the beginning, the discussion focussed on the concrete situation in Nepal. The country is highly vulnerable to climate change and already faces severe food security problems under the current conditions. Such challenges include market access, degradation of farm land, lack of water supply, strong rain fall with landslides and infrastructure problems. Despite a total fertility rate of far above 2.1, Nepal has shortage of human capital due to emigration. Especially, young people from the rural areas leave the country to work abroad and majority of the farming is done by their wives and the elderly. The other sessions discussed the role of food security in the climate change negotiations and whether multilateral forums on food security should be integrated into this approach or run separately to complement it. National strategies of several countries to adopt their food production to climate change were highlighted. Also, adaptation of crops to climate change, for instance of rice to droughts and floods, as well as the detection of climate change impact on plants were topics of interest. As urban areas are constantly growing and urban sprawl decreases the farmland, it was discussed whether urban agriculture can provide a solution.
Picture: Dr. Nishchal Pandey (Centre for South Asian Studies), Jay Mukunda Khanal (Ministry of Agricultural Development, Nepal Government), Dr. Wilhelm Hofmeister (Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Ltd. Singapore) and Genoveva Hernandez Uriz (Delegation of the European Union to Nepal). (f.l.t.r.)