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Nepal is a mountainous, landlocked country in South Asia with a population of approximately 29.14 million. It is located between India and China and contains eight of the 10 highest peaks in the world, including Mount Everest – which is the highest point on earth above sea level – and the Kanchenjunga. Across the country, altitudes range from 70 meters above sea level to 8848 meters above sea level leading to considerable diversity in topography, climate and livelihoods.

Nepal is a least developed country and approximately one fourth of its population lives below the poverty line. Remittances account for nearly 30 percent of the country’s GDP, followed closely by agriculture, forestry and fisheries at 23 percent. The agriculture sector employs more than two-thirds of the population and agricultural livelihoods include subsistence farming, commercial crop production (e.g., rice, wheat, maize, tea, sugarcane and tobacco), livestock rearing and forest-based activities – all of which rely on climate-sensitive resources, such as land and water.

According to the global climate risk index, Nepal was one of the top 10 countries most affected by climate change between 2000 and 2019. Nepal’s vulnerability to climate change is shaped by its agrarian economy, diverse topography, fragile geological structures and sensitive ecosystems. Socioeconomic conditions such as poverty, low levels of literacy, inequality and a strong dependence on natural resources for livelihoods contribute to this vulnerability. Recent estimates suggest that annual maximum temperature has been increasing by 0.056°C per year between 1971 and 2014 and could rise by 1.3–1.8°C by the 2050s while precipitation levels could increase b by 2–6 percent by 2030 and by up to 12 percent by 2050. These trends are adversely impacting Nepal’s Himayalan ranges and glaciers, as well as the ecosystems and livelihoods dependent upon them. Climate hazards that include floods, glacial lake outbursts, landslides and droughts are already causing crop failure, soil erosion and loss of lives and property.

Country Climate Plans

Nepal’s 2019 National Climate Change Policy provides the overarching policy guidelines on climate change for the country. Its aim is to create a climate resilient society by reducing the risks associated with climate change by mainstreaming climate change into all levels of government and within thematic policy areas, strategies, development plans and programmes. The Policy notably mentions that the implementation of all policies, strategies and plans related to climate change will be at the local level.

The Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPA) initially developed in 2011 were updated to adjust to the new federal structure and the climate change policy. The LAPA is a bottom-up approach to adaptation planning aimed towards mainstreaming adaptation and disaster risk reduction development into local development planning process. LAPA aims to capacitate local governments to better manage and address climate change impacts and assists them in identifying, prioritising, planning, implementing and monitoring community-based adaptation actions and plans as per the mandate of the Environmental Protection Act. The LAPA also provides ample opportunities to integrate adaptation options into local to national planning processes. In 2013, the Government of Nepal introduced a dedicated climate change budget code to channel funding for climate change activities from the centre to the local levels.

Building on existing policies, NAPA experiences and on the LAPA, Nepal successfully launched its National Adaptation Plan (NAP) process in September 2015. It also became one of the first countries to receive approval for NAP Readiness funding from the Green Climate Fund (GCF) through UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) support. Working groups were established for the NAP process and some are under process of formulation, focusing on eight themes and four cross-cutting areas identified in the National Climate Change Policy.

Nepal’s first nationally determined contribution (NDC) was submitted in 2016 and its second NDC, submitted in December 2020, outlines emissions reductions targets for selected sectors such as energy, transport, agriculture, forestry and waste. The NDC’s mitigation strategy foresees to maintain 45 percent of total area of the country under forest cover. For adaptation, it articulates Nepal’s intention to submit an adaptation communication through the development of a NAP.  The NAP will include priorities, plans, actions and implementation mechanisms related to adaptation and be aligned with thematic and cross-cutting adaptation priorities identified in the National Climate Change Policy. 

Project details

In Nepal, SCALA focuses on transformative climate action in the rice and livestock systems.

SCALA is conducting two systems-level assessments. The first focuses on assessing the resilience-building potential of community seed banks. The second looks at climate-smart commercial rice and livestock farms, laying the groundwork for the development of climate-smart farm guidelines for these value chains. The results of these assessments will be integrated into local and sectoral planning and monitoring systems.

SCALA's contribution also extends to the revision of Nepal’s National Agricultural Development Strategy (2015‒2035), aimed at incorporating robust adaptation and mitigation measures. As part of this effort, an analysis of current methodologies for accounting for agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, with a specific emphasis on the GHG inventory, will be conducted. This preliminary work will lay the foundation for creating a roadmap to enhance these methodologies and foster capacity building in this area.

Finally, in collaboration with provincial Agriculture Knowledge Centres, SCALA is facilitating technology transfer and capacity building using tools developed by FAO and UNDP to promote collaboration and knowledge exchange at the local level. .

Moving ahead, SCALA in Nepal aims to:

  • Conduct a systems-level assessment of the resilience-building potential of community seed banks and crop variety adoption.
  • Design and prepare the assessment of climate-smart commercial rice and livestock farms
  • Support the development of a roadmap for Tier 2 methodologies for the monitoring, reporting and verification system of emissions in the agriculture, forestry, and land use sectors.
  • Conduct a capacity gap assessment of Nepal’s local Agriculture Knowledge Centres. Undertake an assessment of gender-responsive climate-smart agriculture tools and technologies and develop a set of guidelines to facilitate their integration and scaling up in the revised Agricultural Development Strategy.
  • Develop a business plan for the dairy, rice, and horticulture value chains, taking into account the impacts of climate change.
  • Formulate a de-risking strategy to assess the feasibility and options for an insurance instrument in one of the selected priority systems, through a consultative approach and financial and cost‒benefit analyses.
Natural Resource Management, Agriculture/Food Security
Level of intervention
  • National
  • Regional
  • Global
Key collaborators
  • Country Office
  • National Governments
Implementing agencies and partnering organizations
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)
Project status
Under Implementation


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