Climate Change

More than half of Nepal's climate budget remains underutilised: Report

Of the NPR 393.4 billion, allocated in 2017-18, just 43 per cent was spent

By Kiran Pandey
Published: Tuesday 03 September 2019
Photo: Getty Images

Nepal did not utilise more than half the money it budgeted for mitigating climate change impacts and manage disaster in 2017-18, according to a report.

This is despite a 6.5-fold rise in allocation for climate in the last six years: NPR 350.67 billion (in 2018-19) from NPR 53.5 billion (in 2013-14), according to the Nepal’s Citizens Climate Budget report by non-profit Freedom Forum.

The exponential rise in budget was due to Nepal's ranking among the top 20 countries to have suffered the most climate-related disasters such as floods, forest fires, drought and others.  

During 2013-14 to 2018-19, the overall budget for climate-related activities increased by NPR 297 billion. But, a closer look on the expenditure of climate budget reveals a disturbing trend.

Of the NPR 393.4 billion, allocated in 2017-18, just 43 per cent was spent, while 57 per cent (224 NPR billion) remained unspent.

In comparison, nearly 80 per cent of the NPR 53.5 billion was spent in 2013-14.

There has been a 37 per cent percentage points decrease in the expenditure and utilisation of the money under climate budget since 2013-14, showed the report.

This under-utilisation also has an economic impact, according to the report. Of the 77 districts in the country, 72 districts are highly vulnerable to climate change impacts: Landslide (29 districts), flash flood (nine districts), drought (22 districts) and glacial outburst (12 districts).

Climate vulnerability has spiked economic loss in the last 36 years (1983 to 2019), showed the report.

In 2013, the country lost NPR 28-38 billion, due to climate vulnerability and extreme weather events. But floods in 35 districts alone caused a loss over NPR 60.7 billion in 2017. In 2016, the loss from flood was NPR 15.5 billion.

Funds allocated for disaster-risk management too remained unspent in 2019 due to lack of personnel and knowledge, according to 2019 flood assessment report. In July 2019, 67 out of 77 districts in Nepal have been affected by floods.

The assessment targeted the two severely impacted municipalities of Mahottari district, Jaleshwor Municipality and Samsi Rural Municipality from July 21 to 30, 2019.

Of the 283 households 86 per cent have received food aid. But, critical challenge for food security continues to exist as there is no food stock in 30 per cent of the affected households.

The country would lose one-third of the region's glaciers by the end of the century, warned a recent ICIMOD study. Terai regions are becoming more prone to high-intensity rainfall events than the highland regions, according to a research.

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