Managing climate risks and adapting to climate change in the agriculture sector in Nepal.
The agriculture sector plays a critical role in the Nepalese economy, contributing more than 33 percent to Nepal's gross domestic product and engaging more than 65 percent of its population. The sector is highly exposed and vulnerable to extreme climate events and the impacts of climate change. Agricultural production is constrained by frequent natural disasters - floods, droughts, landslides, intense rain, hailstorms and cold and heat waves. Such climate-related events have put fragile agricultural ecosystems at risk. The impacts on agriculture of climate change and related extreme events often lead to food insecurity for poor and marginalized populations groups, including women and children. Projected future scenarios of climate suggest that climatic conditions in Nepal will worsen, which may imply even more frequent occurrences of climate-related extremes and negative impacts on food production. However, by adopting the right measures, it is possible to adapt effectively to the challenges posed by climate change. Such measures require a comprehensive approach that includes strengthening the capacities of institutions and delivering need-based services to farming communities. In response to the Government of Nepal's request, FAO assisted the Ministry of Agricultural Development (MOAD) in strengthening capacities for climate risk management and climate change adaptation in the agriculture sector through a project under the Technical Cooperation Programme (TCP) and a joint programme (UNJP) with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The report builds on the experiences and lessons learned from these projects over the period 2008-2012. In addition, the document includes additional details to provide a comprehensive understanding of climate variability and change in Nepal and their impact on agriculture. The report also highlights technical and policy options for coping with and adapting to the impacts of climate variability and change.