Climate Change Adaptation


Adaptation refers to adjustments in ecological, social, or economic systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli and their effects or impacts. It refers to changes in processes, practices, and structures to moderate potential damages or to benefit from opportunities associated with climate change (UNFCCC). Similarly IPCC defines adaptation as “Adaptation is the adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects, which moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.”

Adaptation needs are directly associated with the vulnerability of system. Vulnerability is the degree to which a system is susceptible to, and unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change, including climate variability and extremes. Vulnerability is a function of the character, magnitude, and rate of climate change and variation to which a system is exposed, the sensitivity and adaptive capacity of that system (IPCC). 

Despite having only 0.4 percent of the total global population and being responsible for only 0.025 percent of total GHG emissions in the world, Nepal is affected disproportionately by global climate change effects, especially from increasing atmospheric temperature. Nepal in average is experiencing maximum annual temperature increase of 0.06°C. Further, Nepal is identified as the fourth most vulnerable nation in terms of the adverse impacts of climate change. The role of renewable energy to address to climate change problem has been emphasized widely including in Nepal.  

District Climate and Energy Plan

Climate change is an emerging issue in the global context that received high priority, during the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in 1992 when the most of the world’s countries agreed to sign the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Its importance has further increased after the UN’s Copenhagen Conference on the Climate Change held in December, 2009 in Denmark. 

Nepal as a signatory of the international conventions has taken a number of initiatives on climate change issues through which clean energy technology development contributes to energy supply and environmental protection at local level hence increasing adaptive capacity and also supports climate change mitigation at global level.

Energy has a correlation with climate change issues in terms of energy production and high dependence on natural resources. The impacts of climate change are most serious in developing countries where biomass is a major traditional source of energy for daily life. Due to a lack of fossil fuel reserves and low capacity for purchasing imported fuels, about 90 % of Nepal’s energy consumption depends on biomass fuels.

The responsible body for renewable energy in Nepal is the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment (MoSTE), which, established the Alternative Energy Promotion Centre (AEPC) as a state owned organisation in 1996 to lead renewable energy sector. Different Renewable Energy programmes are operated by AEPC with support from different development partners such as Danish and Norwegian Governments, UNDP, World Bank, European commission (EU), Netherlands Development Organisation (SNV), DFID, GIZ, KfW etc.

Energy provision is being implemented at district level through a wide variety of actors including private companies, government and non government organizations and micro-finance institutions. The District Development Committees (DDCs) are taking initiatives and consolidating to establish District Energy and Environment Section/Unit and to form District Energy and Environment Coordination Committees (DEECC) in order to coordinate and operationalise Renewable Energy Technologies (RETs) in the districts.

There have been a number of attempts by different organisations to create energy plans at district and village levels that attempted to map the supply and demand of renewable energy through development of District Energy Situation Reports (DESRs), District/Village Energy plans, District Energy Perspective Plans (DEPPs) and District Energy Master Plans (DEMPs), which, attempt to further map RET supply and potential demand in districts outside the DESR districts. However, there is still a need to have concrete energy planning for RE in the majority of districts, there is no long term visionary plan for energy to guide and direct development.

There is potential to widen the scope of district energy planning to more than just mapping RETs. They should also be set within a broader framework that encapsulates the country’s energy plans for coordination and consistency. AEPC is ideally positioned to provide an integrated approach for clean energy and climate change by developing local, on-theground adaptation and mitigation practices that can be linked to the National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) and Local Adaptation Plans of Actions (LAPA).

In 2011, AEPC, from the technical support of SNV and financial support of DFID, has supported the development and implementation of District Climate and Energy Plans (DCEPs) in 3 pilot districts; Makwanpur, Mustang and Ilam. The goal of DCEPs is to both expand coordination and service provision of renewable energy at district level but also to map out opportunities that energy can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation. The plans also intend to mainstream gender and social inclusion into energy planning and processes. The plans are already finalized and endorsed by district councils of DDCs and their implementation has been started. For the effective implementation, the DDCs are taking the leading role in coordinating the DCEPs at district level with support from AEPC. For guiding the preparation of DCEPs, AEPC has developed the District Climate and Energy Plan Preparation Guidelines. Furthermore, the effective implementation of the DCEPs requires continuous capacity development of the local level actors. DCEP guideline has also been designed to ensure the systematic approach in district level energy planning with establishing links to mainstream issues of climate change and Gender and Social Inclusions. The Guideline is expected to support the relevant institutions/organisations and individuals to carry out climate change adaptive renewable energy planning and its implementation. 

Apart from the piloted DCEPs, DCEP preparation in 25 Districts have been completed. The 25 districts are as follows:

Eastern Development Region

Central Development Region

Western Development Region

Mid-Western Development Region

Far-Western Development Region


























DCEP Planning and Implementation Process

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