By the NFN, member of Forus in Nepal.

Nepal is considered among the highest disaster prone countries in the world, ranking 116th in the disaster risk index [1]. The NGO Federation of Nepal (NFN) organized a two-day national conference on Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change in Nepal, Kathmandu, on January  31 - February 1, 2020. Representatives of CSOs traveled from all across the country to participate in the event.  

The opening session of the conference begun with remarks from the Chair of the National Assembly, the Minister of Women Children and Senior Citizens, a Member of the National Planning Commission, political leaders as well as representatives of civil society organisations. They strongly highlighted the need to engage CSOs in development initiatives including Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR). 

The conference brought national and local government as well as non-government stakeholders together in a forum to discuss national as well as local issues and concerns when it comes to DRR. Representing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority in Nepal, Chief Executive Mr. Anil Pokhrel, presented a paper on the policy frameworks, institutional structures, roles, plans, and implementation status of various projects. The presentation and discussion highlighted the vital role of development partners and CSOs in building resilient communities and in responding to disasters. 

DRR and climate change expert Mr. Bishnu Prasad Timilsina made a presentation and also facilitated a discussion on how Nepal as the 4th nation in climate vulnerability[2] should get prepared for mitigation and adaptation and what can be the role of CSOs in this process. It was emphasized that the implementation of the Paris Climate Change Agreement is necessary to streamline and harmonize efforts. Participants brainstormed about the challenges and possible roles of CSOs, communities, and the private sector in DRR and climate change mitigation and adaptation measures. 

The national conference has thus largely sensitized CSO representatives about risks from disasters and climate change, policies, programmes, and the space for CSOs. This enabled to dig out a number of measures including construction of earthquake-resilient infrastructures, prevention of flood and landslides, preparation of plans and actions for disaster-prone communities and strategies for creating synergies between civil society and local governments. Boosting local capacities was recognized as the most important area to work on when it comes to enlarging the role of CSOs in the area of disaster risk management and climate change.