The Glacier Trust partners with The Great Nepalese Restaurant

Mountains.jpg

No country is defined by its food, but food is central to the identity of every country and Nepal is no different. Food security sits at the heart of what we do in Nepal, we are enabling subsistence farmers to adapt to Climate Change through innovations in agriculture. As a result, in Nawalparasi and Solukhumbo, we have whole villages growing new crops and improving the way they produce staples like rice, maize, eggs and tomato.

With such a strong connection to food in Nepal, we wanted to make that connection in the UK too. The Great Nepalese is a perfect link for us and we are very excited to be launching our partnership this week.

The Great Nepalese serves traditional Nepali food, as well as familiar curry dishes from right across the Indian subcontinent. It was opened by Mr and Mrs Bopal and Ranu Manandhar, who arrived in London in 1982. Their three sons Birendra (Baz), Kiran and Jitendra, took over a few years ago and led an impressive refurbishment. They have created a wonderful family run and very Nepalese atmosphere; it is a real taste of Kathmandu right in the heart of London.

As well as making monthly donation of their own, The Great Nepalese have installed a TGT collection box to encourage diners to make a small gift when they visit. We are also working with them to set up a variety of menu options, special events and deals to help raise awareness and funds for our work.

If you are London based, or visiting, please find time to dine at The Great Nepalese, they are open Monday – Saturday for lunch and dinner. Booking is recommended and do visit their website for more information on holding meetings or events.

From left to right: Kiran, Baz and Jitendra Manandhar with TGT Co-Director Morgan Phillips at The Great Nepalese Restaurant. 

From left to right: Kiran, Baz and Jitendra Manandhar with TGT Co-Director Morgan Phillips at The Great Nepalese Restaurant. 

Bookings
To reserve a table or to book an event, please email or call 020 7388 6737. 

Location
48 Eversholt Street, London, NW1 1DA - 30 seconds walk from Euston Station. 

Hours
Monday to Saturday
Lunch 12:00-14:30 :: Dinner 18:00-23:30
Closed on Sundays.

www.great-nepalese.com

Please mention The Glacier Trust.

How to produce coffee in Nepal

Coffee production in Deusa, Solukhumbo

With funding and support from TGT and Eco Himal Nepal, the Deusa Agro Forestry Resource Centre (AFRC), is enabling farmers in Deusa and Waku, Solukhumbo, to produce and sell coffee. Coffee is a good crop to grow at these altitudes and once established will provide a regular extra source of income for hundreds of farmers.

coffee plant.jpg

But, coffee is not immune to the impacts of rising global temperatures and needs to be farmed in a Climate Change aware way. The main threats are invasive insect pests, drought, intense rainfall events and increased average temperatures. Adaptation is possible, and it can be done using organic pesticides and fertilisers, clever intercropping (for example, planting coffee alongside plants that hold water in soil and provide coffee with the shade from intense sunlight) and by planting new crops at slightly higher, rather than lower, altitudes.

We are working closely with Eco Himal and the Deusa AFRC to enable farmers to maximise their income and farm in a sustainable way. These are very early days and it is a long term project. We are opening conversations with stakeholders at all levels of the coffee chain (from bean to cup), who are helping us immensely already. On our recent visit to Deusa, we did some fact-finding to share with those advising us. We are publishing what we found out here too, to provide some information for those interested in how coffee is produced and traded in Nepal. Coffee could become a very important part of the mix for farmers in mountain regions and help them go beyond the perils of subsistence farming. 

How many farmers have mature coffee trees currently? 
300 in main project area, more in neighbouring districts.

On average how many productive coffee trees does each farmer currently have?
10-20

What bean are they growing? What coffee tree varieties have been planted?
Arabica - we are still trying to find out the varietal. It is fully organic.

How many new coffee trees are being grown?
8,000 mature trees currently in main project area, around 5,000 are fruiting, the other 3,000 are one year old. 

Cultivating coffee saplings in Deusa.

Cultivating coffee saplings in Deusa.

How many new coffee trees have been planted that are not yet productive?
20,000 saplings were distributed in 2016, around 50% will survive. 
Planning to distribute a further 15,000 saplings in 2018. 

How many KGs of coffee cherry have been harvested in the last crop harvest?
2,000 KGs harvested in 2017. Around 20% of cherry's were lost. 

Who bought the coffee, for how much and what did they do with it? 
It was bought by a trader in Kathmandu, he mixed them with other beans and sold them onto other traders. He bought the beans for 500 Nepali Rupee / KG and sold on for around 700 rupee /KG. 
It took the trader a long time (several months) to pay for the coffee, which created a very long time lag for the farmers before they received their share of the proceeds. 

How many KGs of coffee cherry are expected from the next harvest?
Expecting 2,500KG in next harvest.

What is the current process for picking, pulping, milling, transporting, selling, roasting etc?
- Cherries are handpicked by farmers
- They carry cherries for around 30 mins in a bamboo basket to a collection point (there are approx. 8 collection points in the main project area). 
- Collection points serve between 5 and 30 farmers
- Pulped by hand turned machine (see photo of machine attached)
- (we have funded 6 pulping machines, these are moved around the project area to collection points as and when needed)
- After pulping beans are left in a sack overnight
- Beans are hand washed next morning to remove husks and then left to dry on trays in the open air
- Moisture content is checked, but only by sound, they do not have moisture meter's yet.
- Once beans are dry, farmers carry them in Bamboo baskets to the Agro Forestry Resource Centre - depending on where the farmer lives in relation to the AFRC, this can take anything between 1 hour and 1 day. 
- AFRC weigh sacks and tag them so they can keep a record of which beans belong to which farmer.
- Before weighing AFRC carry out a basic quality check, they want unbroken beans that have no dust, no mould, no moss and no animal hair. 
- AFRC stores coffee in sacks on top floor of building
- Eco Himal (our partner NGO) transport coffee beans to Kathmandu and store them in their office. 
- It cost 57 rupees / KG to transport to Kathmandu
- There is a 'district development tax' of 5 rupee / KG that has to paid on all produce that leaves Solukhumbo. 
- There are a few small-scale roasters in Kathmandu, but most coffee is exported as parchment for roasting in Australia, New Zealand etc. 

Coffee pulping machine at Deusa AFRC

Coffee pulping machine at Deusa AFRC

How many pulping machines are there? What do they look like?
Currently six. We are hoping to fund a few more as production expands.

What sort of intercropping is happening?
Mostly banana and bamboo trees to provide shade, but also other native trees. Paulownia, Moringa, Ginger, Tumeric, Orange trees are all being tested. Plants that retain water in the soil, fix nitrogen and provide shade are favoured. If they are plants that can be farmed commercially and sustainably too all the better. 

At what altitude is the coffee being grown? 
1,000 - 1,500m 

What is the potential to upscale production, how much land is potentially available for coffee production?
In the main project area (Deusa) enough trees have been planted to treble, possibly quadruple production in the next 2-3 years. In neighbouring district (Waku) which is also part of our project area, coffee production is just starting and it has the potential to be just as productive. There are other neighbouring districts with similar capacity. So could expand production by a factor of 10 or 15 in the coming years. We are taking great care to ensure coffee is one of many plants farmed here. Biodiversity is supremely important to climate change adaptation. 

 

TGT partners with The Great Nepalese Restaurant

OutsideofRestaurant.png

We are delighted to announce a brand new fundraising partnership with central London's only authentic Nepalese Restaurant. 

On Tuesday 12th December 2017, we will be officially launching a new partnership with The Great Nepalese Restaurant on Eversholt Road, near Euston station in London. We approached The Great Nepalese in October to ask if they would be interested in supporting us to raise awareness and funds for our work. They told us about their history, values and links to Nepal and after hearing a little more about our work in Nepal agreed that it was an excellent fit.

The Great Nepalese restaurant was opened by Mr Bopal Manandhar and Mrs Ranu Manandhar in 1982 and has been a landmark on Eversholt Street ever since. Now run by their three sons, Birendra (Baz), Kiran and Jitendra, The Great Nepalese is a local’s favourite and a popular stop off for businessmen, tourists and politicians as they pass through nearby Euston station. Talking about our new partnership Baz said:

The Glacier Trust is doing great work helping Nepal to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change and we were delighted when they approached us about a partnership. We hope that this partnership will raise awareness of the charity and vital funds for its work. We also hope it will strengthen the connection between life in Nepal today and the authentic Nepalese food we serve. 

The Great Nepalese will be making a regular monthly gift to The Glacier Trust and have installed a collection box enabling customers to make donations during their visit. The Great Nepalese will also host Glacier Trust events making use of their new audio and visual equipment and unique meeting spaces – that are available for hire. 

If you would like to join us at the launch event on Tuesday December 12th, 2pm; please RSVP to Morgan on: morgan.phillips@theglaciertrust.org

Forthcoming monitoring visit to Nepal

Our UK Co-Director Dr. Morgan Phillips talks us through his forthcoming visit to Nepal. 

On Tuesday (November 7th) I am setting off on my second visit to Nepal. I will be there for just over two weeks and have a lot to fit in. I will be monitoring projects, looking at potential new locations for work, meeting up with TGT supporters on the trail to Everest, planning our brand new schools partnership work, meeting sector colleagues and collecting evidence and data to measure the difference we, YOU, are making. Here is a brief outline on what I am hoping to achieve:

Nawalparasi

Overlooking the terraces in the village of Dhahaba and the extensive Terai plain that stretches deep south into India (February 2017) 

Less than 18 hours after touching down in Kathmandu, I will be back at the airport for an early morning flight to Bhartapur, a small city on the very northern edge of the extensive Terai plain. This is the gateway to Nawalparasi, the foothills of the Himalaya and, more importantly for us, the stop off point for the hilly district of Deurali.  

Working with our NGO partners HICODEF and Practical Action, we have been enabling climate change adapatation in Deurali for over four years now. I will be accompanied on this field visit by Dinanath Bhandari, a TGT volunteer and climate change adaptation specialist from Practical Action. We will also, for the first time, bring Narayan Dhakal to Deurali. Narayan is Executive Director at Eco Himal who are our partner NGO for the projects we support in the eastern Nepali regions of Solukhumbo and Sankhuwasaba. Narayan's visit is part of our effort to bring Climate Change adaptation professional's together in meaningful ways - facilitating shared learning and knowledge transfer across Nepal. 

Nawalparasi was significantly impacted by the extensive flooding suffered by Nepal, India and Bangladesh this summer. As a consequence road links have been disrupted and we will be needing to hike several (hilly) miles to reach the three villages we are working with currently. I am particularly excited about heading back to Dhahaba, a community that is pretty much cut off by a huge river in the summer months, we are back working there this year after a two year gap and I hope to see much progress being made. In Durlunga I will get to see the completed and operational irrigation system that was under construction when I visited first back in February. I'll be needing a glass or two of that water too I think, the road is currently not open to vehicles and we have a four hour uphill trek to reach Durlunga! We have had some great news there recently too, the local government has agreed to match-fund an extension to this irrigation scheme. We will therefore be taking a closer look at the land and families that will benefit from the new water supply - and doing what we can to ensure the local government comes good on their promise.  

Our last stop in Nawalparasi will take us outside of Deurali to the village of Kirtipur. Here I will be meeting the families who received support from us after the 2015 earthquakes. I am keen to update the many TGT supporters who so generously donated crisis relief funds. I will be reporting on the homes and lives that money helped to rebuild.

Kathmandu

Sandwiched between my two field trips I have three days in Kathmandu. During this time I will be meeting with colleagues from Practical Action Nepal, Himalayan Adaptation, Water and Resilience (HI-AWARE) and Eco-Himal. I also hope to meet with representatives from UN Environment and will catch up with long time TGT collaborator DJ Regmi. 

Solukhumbo

Seedlings grow at Deusa AFRC demonstration nursery. (February 2017)

My trip wraps up with a field visit to Solukhumbo and our project work in Deusa and Waku. The visit will be led by Narayan Dhakal from Eco Himal and we will be joined by our Nepal Co-Director, Richard Allen and Mary Peart, former headteacher at GSIS school Hong Kong.

We will also host four TGT supporters from the Alpine Club. Led by Tony Westcott, a team of four will warm up for their trek along the path to Everest base camp, by hiking to and around Deusa and Waku with us. Tony, a long time TGT supporter and friend of our founder Robin Garton, has long wanted to visit Deusa to see first hand the projects we are enabling there. We are very much looking forward to showing him and his party around the Deusa AFRC and all the other fantastic work there. 

Dilisher Rai with his coffee plant in Deusa, Solukhumbo. (February, 2017)

One of my focus points in Deusa will be coffee. Several farmers here have been growing coffee under the guidance of our Eco Himal colleagues. They hope to develop this further and begin to generate significant income for the community over time. I recently met with the founder of Fairtrade coffee experts Falcon coffees and was offered some fantastic advice on how coffee production in Deusa might be scaled up. So I have a fact-finding mission and a checklist of questions to work through. 

Mary Peart is joining us to spend time planning our new partnership programme. Mary is the recently retired Head teacher from a Hong Kong international school, GSIS. In 2018, we will organise a field trip to Deusa for students and teachers from GSIS school. GSIS will, in return, commit to raising funds for our project work in Deusa and Waku. Mary and I will be meeting with the local Secondary School to discuss how the partnership will operate and how students from both host and visiting schools will benefit. 

Finally, either on the way, or way back, from Solukhumbo, we will visit the village of Kavre, a few hours west of Kathmandu. It is a scoping visit for TGT and a chance to assess Kavre's suitability as a location for an environmental education programme we are currently developing. 

Please keep an eye on our Social Media streams - Facebook, Twitter, Instagram - as well as this blog, where I aim to update on my trip as I go. I will report in more depth via our newsletter when I return. 

We thank you again for your support, you make all this amazing work possible. Please continue to enable climate change adaptation in Nepal by making a donation or by visiting our shop. 

Siân Brooke joins The Glacier Trust

We're very excited to announce that star of stage and screen, Siân Brooke, has joined The Glacier Trust as our new ambassador! 

IMG_1527_copy.jpg

Sian Brooke has had an incredible 12 months. She is one of the UK's most talented actors. In the space of just one year, she had starred alongside Benedict Cumberbatch TWICE, first as Ophelia in the critically acclaimed Hamlet at the Barbican theatre and then as Eurus Holmes, Sherlock's long lost and slightly terrifying sister. More recently she has starred in another BBC drama, Doctor Foster and you may have caught her in the wonderful mini-series The Moorside alongside Sheridan Smith back in February. Sian has barely been off our screens, we are incredibly fortunate that she has made time to support our work and help raise our profile.  

We spoke to Sian, asking her thoughts on Climate Change and the work of The Glacier Trust: 

Climate Change is so often talked about as something that will have an impact 'in the future', but it is already affecting people's lives and we need to help them today. The Glacier Trust is doing this in Nepal, enabling some of the most remote Himalayan communities to adapt to the changing conditions; it is great to be involved. 
We need to do more to raise awareness and support for those already suffering from Climate Change.

We will keep you updated on Sian's work and involvement with the charity in the coming months. She sent us a few snaps of our exclusive T-Shirts. You can buy one of your own through our online store

Welcome Sian, it is fantastic to have you on board!

On giving

The truly inspired School of Life popped up in our inbox this afternoon with some wisdom on 'Gifts for Life, not just for Christmas'. Now that we have our own little online shop, we thought that it was worth sharing a couple of paragraphs: 

The arrival of winter has a habit of making us feel particularly closed off from the world. The blustery cold and drawn-out nights fill us with the instinct to retreat, to seek shelter and warmth, as well as distraction from the goings-on of a busy social calendar.

And yet, since this is such an important time of year for exchanging gifts, we also must think carefully about the needs and unspoken desires of those around us. When buying gifts for others, there can be a strong temptation to seek out things which appeal to our sense of glamour or luxury, even though – on some level – we know the recipient might prefer a present which carries more emotional and psychological significance.

FrontCover.png

The School of Life has its own fantastic range of gifts, well worth exploring. We have a range of T-Shirts that we hope might find their way into the stockings of your nearest and dearest. We're also partnered with the Alpine Club who are donating £1 from the sale of every pack of their stunning Christmas Cards to our work. 

What is Agro Forestry and how does in help Nepal?

The Agro Forestry Resource Centre in Deusa, fifty miles south of Mount Everest, is one of our proudest achievements. We interviewed Til Bahadur Rai and Keshab Rai to find out how they felt about what has been achieved there so far. They explain what Agro forestry is, why the centre is needed in Deusa and tell us how the community has benefited over the last three years. It is a great insight into the difference our work is making in Nepal, enabling some of the most vulnerable communities to adapt to the impacts of Climate Change. These fantastic outcomes are only possible with your support.

The Glacier Trust featured in Third Sector magazine

Our Co-Director Morgan Phillips has written a guest column for Third Sector magazine.  We will publish in full here in a week or so, meanwhile, here is a snippet: 

Medium and large charities, because of their bureaucracies, are not as agile as businesses of a similar size or smaller charities. They move slowly, especially in reaction to external changes and shocks; failing to react, to change, to innovate. It can occasionally be fatal for an organisation. This is not news to many in the third sector I’m sure, but the tortoise-like nature of some international aid charities is not the only reason they lack agility and suffer when the world moves. 

The Glacier Trust online T-Shirt shop opens today

Last month we produced a short run of T-Shirts for our five #TeamTGT Velo Birmingham cyclists. People loved them and asked if they could buy a T-Shirt for themselves. So today, with the help of the brilliant Teemill platform, we are officially opening our online T-Shirt shop!

We are starting off with a small range of T-Shirts that feature the iconic TGT logo and celebrate the theme of Climate Change adaptation. They are available in a range of colours and on T-Shirts to fit children and adults. 

Advert.png

The T-Shirts are sold through Teemill who print T-Shirts on demand and ship them straight to your door. This is a wonderful online platform and perfect for small charities like ours. There are no upfront costs, no minimum orders, no postage or payment transfers to deal with and a fantastic, easy to use, website that makes the design process very simple. The Glacier Trust receives proceeds from every T-Shirt sold, this varies depending on the colour of the T-Shirt (trade secret: we receive more if you buy a white T-Shirt), but it is enough to make a difference to our work - especially if everyone in your family gets a TGT T-Shirt for Christmas this year!

The other great thing about Teemill is that the designs are printed on Rapanui T-Shirts. They are made from certified organic or bamboo and made in an ethically accredited, wind powered factory. They feel great too, super soft and lightweight. 

We will be doing a bigger launch next month, so please look out for that, but in the meantime, please browse the online shop and select a T-Shirt or two for you or a loved one. And do please send us your feedback, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the t-shirts, the shop, the buying process and this initiative as a whole

 

  

How women are disproportionately impacted by Climate Change

On the path to Waku in Solukhumbo, February 2017. The Glacier Trust is working with Eco Himal Nepal in Waku to enable families to adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

On the path to Waku in Solukhumbo, February 2017. The Glacier Trust is working with Eco Himal Nepal in Waku to enable families to adapt to the impacts of climate change. 

Earlier this month ICIMOD published a very important paper on the gender imbalances experienced in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. Noting that the situation is particularly acute in Nepal, this article from Juhi Chaudhary for thethirdpole.net provides an excellent summary of the report and its findings. 

Juhi Chaudary:

Gender structures and deeply entrenched socio-cultural ideologies that marginalise women’s work make women more vulnerable than men. Mountain women, who have great a resilience and the knowledge to adapt to various stresses, are often left out of key decision-making processes and are marginalised further, even though they are likely to suffer more in the future. Climate change is bound to increase these gender inequalities further in many ways.

The Glacier Trust recognises and addresses these gender issues in project design and delivery, but we are acutely aware of the need for fundamental structural solutions to gender inequality in Nepal and worldwide. 

Velo Birmingham Gallery

On Sunday 24th, five cyclists took on the 100 mile Velo Birmingham cycle ride to raise funds for The Glacier Trust. It was a fantastic event, 15,000 people riding and thousands more on the side of the road supporting. Here is a gallery of images from the day. 

#TeamTGT at the start line. From L-R: Paul, Ed, Matt, Morgan and Marc. 

#TeamTGT at the start line. From L-R: Paul, Ed, Matt, Morgan and Marc. 

EdLewsey_VeloBirm6.jpg
EdLewsey_VeloBirm4.jpg
MarcB_VeloBirmingham1.jpg
MarcB_VeloBirmingham6.jpg
MorganPhillips_VeloBirmingham4.jpg
MorganPhillips_VeloBirmingham1.jpg
MattRendell_VeloBirmingham10.jpg
MattRendell_VeloBirmingham11.jpg
PaulAshley_VeloBirm1.jpg
PaulAshley_VeloBirm6.jpg

If you would like to do a sponsored event on behalf of The Glacier Trust, please get in touch.

#TeamTGT T-Shirts designed by Ten4Design

We asked our talented friends at Ten4 to design a t-shirt for our Velo Birmingham cycling team. They very generously donated their time and skills to support our work and have come up with this great design. We hope you like it. 

preview-1.jpg
preview.jpg

Ten4 Design are a digital studio doing great things for ambitious organisations. Take a look at their brilliant portfolio. They are also keen cyclists and mountaineers, so a perfect match for The Glacier Trust. 

Two of our riders are from Birmingham based company Valveforce (you can sponsor them securely via VirginMoney Giving). Their logo along with those of Velo Birmingham and Ten4 appear on the t-shirt along with our website address and our 'enabling climate change adaptation in Nepal' strapline.

Thank-you to everyone at Ten4 design for supporting #TeamTGT. 


Nepal floods a lesson in preparedness

We spoke to long time TGT partner Dinanath Bhandari this morning. As the water recedes and Nepal, India and Bangladesh recover from a flood that killed over 1,500 people, he told us about the early warning systems in place across Nepal. Early estimates suggest that over 300 lives were saved in Nepal thanks to the effectiveness of the early warning systems. Dinanath has blogged over on the Practical Action site, explaining how the systems work and how they have steadily improved over time. What is clear though is that there is more work to do. Preparedness is key to saving lives and as Climate Change brings the threat of more and worse flooding. There is a need to learn lessons and act now, at all levels of society, to minimise the tragic impacts floods can have in Nepal and other vulnerable countries.

People moving to safety during Nepal floods 2017. Image courtesy of Practical Action Nepal

People moving to safety during Nepal floods 2017. Image courtesy of Practical Action Nepal

An extract from Dinanath's blog, read the full article here

In this year flood, some components demonstrated success but ultimate response actions had limitations. The weather and flood risk forecasting happened in time, communication were improved but could not generate actionable advisories for particular communities in time. The human and governance parts of the systems are yet to graduate. It lacked specific risk knowledge to take proper actions in right time. As the result there were differentiated flood response actions. Flood early warning should mean people at risk zone are evacuated before flood reaches their location. It’s all about taking people to safety before hazards come. But many people waited flood to arrive at them after they got alerts and warnings. Is it adequate? EWS is part of DRR and preparedness, not a stand alone system. 

Practical Action have produced a short video on the early warning system:

Ecosystem based adaptation to Climate Change - a global perspective

Musonda Mumba speaks to the glacier trust

by Morgan Phillips

Earlier this month I met with Dr. Musonda Mumba in London to talk about her work at UNEP where she leads on ecosystem based adaptation. We first came into contact with Musonda after she shared a platform with Dhananjay Regmi on Al Jazeera’s Climate Change special in June. We have since been in touch via Twitter where her following is growing. 

We met in a café in Spitalfields market in the heart of London. Musonda was in the UK for a conference in Cambridge and took the opportunity to stay on for a week with her young children, visiting family and friends. She did her PhD in London and looked pleased to be back, despite the monsoon type weather we had that day. Home for her now is Nairobi, Kenya, where she works out of the UN’s Environmental Agency headquarters (the only UN agency headquartered in the south).

Musonda has worked for UNEP for almost 9 years. UNEP has undergone a soft rebranding to become UN Environment.  As Musonda explained, the move is to ensure that the purpose of the programme is not lost in the jargon of an acronym. It is a change brought in by Erik Solheim, UN Environment’s Executive Director, and something Musonda is clearly in favour of.  

Musonda is warm and has a witty sense of humour. Her jokes are subtle and knowing, perhaps a reflection of years spent working at a global level where international, national and local politics collide and all have a capacity to surprise, frustrate, shock or delight. Our discussion travelled from the excellent progress being made in tackling litter in east Africa through to the Anthropocene and Brexit, but we focussed in on our main shared area of interest: climate change adaptation, specifically ecosystem based adaptation.

Musonda’s expertise is in wetland hydrology, the subject of her PhD and her previous work at WWF UK. Her focus there was on conservation, protecting habitats and communities in the zones around wetland areas. Since joining UN Environment, her work has taken her around the world to countries like Peru, Nepal and, closer to home, Uganda and Tanzania. She is involved in the design and implementation of climate change adaptation projects all over the world, with a specific emphasis on fresh water ecosystems.

I asked her to explain ecosystem based adaptation (EbA) and how it relates to other approaches.

Ecosystem adaptation is part of wider strategy of adaptation, you need to have a cocktail of solutions of what’s going to work in an environment. By definition, ecosystem based adaptation is reducing the impacts of climate change while also making sure that biodiversity and ecosystem services that we are all dependent on remain healthy.

She talked me through an example from Dar es Salaam on the coast of Tanzania which, thanks to Climate Change, is increasingly prone to storm surges:

We sat down with the Tanzanian government and asked them what they would like to see us do in terms of providing mitigating factors for the communities that are along the coast, the eastern seaboard of Tanzania. We went through a cost-benefit analysis with them and the Tanzanian government said ‘it’s plain and simple, this segment of the coastline will have a sea wall, because we have a port and we don’t want our infrastructure to be damaged. And this section of the coast we are going to rehabilitate to restore some the mangrove forest that have disappeared.’

So, in Tanzania, a cocktail of solutions was settled upon, the port was protected by a human made sea wall (often referred to as grey infrastructure), while the mangrove forest (green infrastructure) was restored to help fish return. This re-established the fishing grounds that had been lost and helped revive the local economy. Musonda used this example to stress something important about the ecosystem based adaptation approaches she advocates. There is a principle of emphasising livelihoods in designing solutions. It is a pragmatic view that resonates well in political circles. It is not possible to do everything in isolation of people. The risk to natural ecosystems is climatic, but it is related to other risks and challenges faced by any particular environment or location. The cocktail of solutions must be a response to the cocktail of problems. Musonda cited a similar example from a project in Fiji, where a mix of adaptation solutions were implemented in a coastal location and there are several other examples too.

It is a story of compromise, systems thinking and the ability to look holistically at the situation. It factors in the needs of society and ecology. As a stakeholder, and often co-funder, of adaptation work UN Environment seek to champion and promote the value of ecosystems and the services they can provide. Ecosystem services are often seemingly invisible (certainly compared to a very visible sea wall) or at least overlooked, so part of Musonda’s job is to highlight their importance. She makes them feel relevant in the thinking of politicians and planners. This is why, I think, she uses terms like ‘green infrastructure’ to communicate the role ecosystems play in people’s lives. It is a linguistic technique that helps her grab the attention of her audience by using language that is familiar to them. In this way she is better able to make a case for conservation of any particular ecosystem. It takes the argument beyond a simple call to protect nature for the sake of flora and fauna alone. By highlighting the socio-economic benefits of well-functioning ecosystems, Musonda and UN Environment can convince pragmatic policy makers to adopt ecosystem based adaptation approaches. Positive outcomes for livelihoods is an important influencing lever in political decision making. Musonda seemed confident that the message is getting through:

[Ecosystem based adaptation] is happening now in the Netherlands, in Switzerland. There are a lot of countries that are now reclaiming, or giving back to nature because there is a realization now that bricks and mortar don’t do justice to a system and you don’t get back the biodiversity that you want.

But, we have not achieved blanket recognition of this worldwide yet. Indeed, the value of ecosystem based adaptation has been overlooked for numerous political and economic reason’s right here in the UK. When floods hit in Yorkshire in 2015, one town remained relatively unscathed. Thanks to the intelligent management of upland ecosystems the town of Pickering was spared while others suffered a deluge. Planners in Pickering worked with nature while other towns and cities were flooded. Right across Yorkshire, degraded upland ecosystems were not able to provide the water restricting services that had saved Pickering.  

There is a global need, just like in Yorkshire, to reconnect people with the power of natural processes and ecosystem services to highlight their value and potential in climate change adaptation. This is a core task for Musonda and her colleagues at UN Environment.

Communities do understand, maybe it is a matter of articulating a lot better, even on paper and also as part of the whole educational process. Because sometimes somebody would say to me, ‘well we don’t really need this river.’ Yes we do. The river is doing a, b, c and d, these services from nature are so critical. So we had to then engage with communities to articulate on paper a lot better.

It is an effort to give people the confidence to believe in what they intuitively know, but were steered away from during an era where heavy technology was presented over and over as a salvation. This educational drive is necessary at community level, but also, more crucially, at policy level. I asked her how she felt about adaptation policy in Nepal and where we currently are with it.

Nepal is very interesting, it is one of the Climate Convention member countries that designed the NAPAs (National Adaptation Programme of Action) in a very interesting way. They came back and said we want to take the programme a notch lower or higher, we want to have LAPAs (Local Adaptation Programme of Action). They have a very interesting local jurisdiction process for governance and a lot of countries learned from that, because they had to go to up to the community level and design and identify the most vulnerable and urgent action required, as per the NAPA process, but really at the microcosm of the village. Things start going missing as you go up the ladder of the governance structure. By the time you get to the provincial level the understanding of what is going on at the community level is almost lost.

But, Nepal does not seem to have got there quite yet. Musonda told me that a lot of the policy in Nepal, like many developing countries, is fantastic on paper, but they are yet to be fully implemented. The 2015 earthquakes naturally and understandably changed the priorities for all decision makers from village level to national Government level. Musonda was working in Nepal at the time of the earthquakes and told me what the changing priorities meant for their EbA work:

In a number of spaces it has been an opportunity to rethink some of the implementation processes in response to the disaster and the need for rebuilding. What was interesting to me in the foothills in Nepal, where we were working, were the demographic shifts.  A lot of the areas in and around the middle areas of the Himalayas are getting depopulated of men. So they now have predominately female and old people households. The challenge is that Nepal’s policies are pretty patriarchal and you are doing this in an environment that has become predominantly female. Therefore, at a local level, when you are making a decision in terms of how you are going to manage, or what you are going to grow in this particular area, you really can’t make a decision because you have to get permission from someone in Kathmandu who owns the land and you are 300 kilometres away.

In response, the conversations UN Environment and its partners are having with the Nepali government centre on designing policy instruments that allow women to make these decisions at a local level. Not having to wait for a long time as discussions flow through patriarchal systems of husbands, brothers, uncles, fathers and grandfathers who are often many miles away would make a huge difference.    

How do you create that balance, bearing in mind the gender balance and the demographic shifts that have happened over quite a long time, to empower the community? Particularly the women, to make sure that they are aware that they can do all of these activities and build resilience in their own right under the new circumstances, which are almost the new normal.

Finding an answer to this question is a task for all NGOs as well as Government bodies working in Nepal today. There are some examples of good practice to draw on the COPILA project that The Glacier Trust has supported along with Helvetas and others in Nepal is an example, as is our work in Solukhumbo. But the need to spread awareness of these issues and factor them into project design and implementation remains. This is not only an issue facing Nepal, demographic shifts are happening worldwide and altering gender balance and age profiles in villages everywhere.

As our conversation broadened out Musonda told me about her current work and a trend she has noticed in how adaptation programmes are being designed:

Depending on the Government we are working with, the decision around the [Climate Change] adaptation process is dependent on community needs and also who they are trying to access resources from. What has happened more now in the development / climatic world is that the World Bank, for the first time has an ecosystem based approach mechanism to their infrastructure. Also now, because of its nature as a bank it has put in specific safeguards, looking at the implications of a road, bridge, railway system, etc. So, what is happening a lot more now is that there is a lot more screening: ‘fine you need a road, what material are you using? What are the implications?’ Because when a flood hits, the porosity of the ground is important. If it is less porous all hell breaks loose.

Systems thinking is taking a hold. Investment in adaptation projects is being done after some deep critical thinking about the broad consequences of decisions on things like the type of road surface. As decision makers at agencies like the World Bank are becoming more versed in ecosystem services and the value of ecosystem based adaptation, the programmes and projects they funnel funding towards are those that are being designed with that sort of thinking in mind. Hearing this from Musonda gives me hope that nature might become a more potent ingredient in the cocktail of adaptation solutions.  

We finished up discussing the balance that now exists at a global level when it comes to the importance being placed on climate change adaptation compared to mitigation. Musonda felt that, post Paris 2015, the balance is now 50/50 and we have reached a tipping point where adaptation becomes the priority. There is a growing realisation at nation state and UN level that any benefits from mitigation efforts are going to be felt in the future, rather than now. The need to adapt to the Climate Change that is already locked in is growing impossible to ignore. As a consequence, new adaptation funds and instruments are emerging and more attention is being paid to their design and efficacy.

Interestingly too, as money flows into Climate Change adaptation, the relationship between it, development funding, mitigation funding and the sustainable development goals is coming into focus. Countries are navigating this complexity, ensuring that development projects, mitigation projects and adaptation projects are not designed and implemented in silos. There is a need to merge programmes to avoid overlaps and conflicts at a local level. The requires systems thinking, and, in many cases, ecosystems thinking.

Musonda is clearly optimistic and I came away from the conversation feeling optimistic too. Adaptation is becoming more and more prominent at a policy level and the cocktail of solutions that bodies like UN Environment are now able to design and implement are evolving rapidly and in new exciting directions. Ecosystems services and the growing understanding of the value of ecosystem based adaptation is at the heart of this.



Ecosystem based Adaptation is very relevant to Nepal and is something that is increasingly important in our work. To find out more, please visits our projects pages. 

Welcoming Meleah Moore

The Glacier Trust has a new volunteer! 

Meleah Moore has joined the team to help us out with our social media and other digital activities. We asked her to introduce herself....

Hello, I’m Meleah Moore working on social media for The Glacier Trust. I hold an M.A. in Sustainable Development from the University of St. Andrews and recently reported on environmental injustices created by hydraulic fracturing operations in Ohio. My next move is to Kanpur, India to work with Helpusgreen, a social business that preserves the Ganges via flowercycling. I am inspired by using multimedia to give voice to climate change issues at a local level and aim to shine a bright light on innovative adaptation projects. Follow The Glacier Trust Instagram to see what I've been up to!

You can find out more about Meleah's work on her website. Welcome Meleah, it is great to have you on the team!

 

ITV's Matt Rendell to cycle for TeamTGT at Velo Birmingham!

We are very excited to announce that ITV's Matt Rendell is to join our team for this year's Velo Birmingham cycle ride!

Plotting their dream Tour de France? Matt Rendell (left) with ITV Cycling colleague Ned Boulting and a flip chart!

Plotting their dream Tour de France? Matt Rendell (left) with ITV Cycling colleague Ned Boulting and a flip chart!

Matt Rendell is a freelance journalist with various commitments and a hectic moveable schedule. Right now, he is free on September 24th and ready to join #TeamTGT as road captain for the day. We have space for three more riders, so this is your chance to ride alongside one of cycling's leading journalists. Matt is the guy who interviews all your favourite pros as they rush from finish line to team bus at the Tour de France. He has some incredible stories to tell from his days on the road; this is your chance to hear them first hand!

The only thing that might keep Matt away is a schedule change that will see him dashing off to cover a race somewhere else in Europe, but he's 90% sure he'll be in Birmingham and ready to lead #TeamTGT on 24 September! 

If you'd like to ride with Matt and raise vital funds to support our amazing work in Nepal, please sign up now

 

Proactive beats reactive in the struggle to adapt to Climate Change

UNDP (United Nations Development Programme) is calling on Government's and the private sector to 'work to break the cycle of disaster-risk-and-recovery that forces developing nations to take reactive – rather than proactive – approaches when bad weather hits.'

The case for this more strategic approach is made by Pradeep Kurukulasuriya, the UNDPs head of Climate Change adaptation, in an article this week. His appeal is for improved resilience, so that those who live and work on the front line of Climate Change are better prepared and protected from devastating events like floods, landslides, droughts and disease. Emergency aid is vital when disaster hits, but if we can prevent disasters from happening in the first place we can save millions of lives and billions of pounds. As UNDP say, better to be proactive than reactive. 

Resilience has long been a buzzword in Climate Change and Sustainability circles and it sits at the heart of project design for The Glacier Trust and our NGO partners in Nepal. This is why, in Nawalparasi, we have just agreed to extend our project work in the district of Deurali. 

Earlier this year we funded the construction of a new water supply system in Deurali to serve the mountain villages of Durlunga and Baseni. As ICIMOD's excellent new report details, water availability (or rather a lack of it when it is most needed) is one of the most severe impacts of Climate Change in this region of Nepal. The water supply system in Deurali is an effective way to mitigate against sudden droughts. It creates a steady flow of water to farmers who were previously reliant on increasingly erratic and unpredictable rainfall to nourish their crops. 

Providing a new water supply system is one thing and we are very proud of that achievement, but it is not enough to do this and then leave. Farmers need regular, year round support, so that they get the training they need to maximise the benefit the new water system will bring. They also need support to maintain the new system, to fix any teething problems and to make the small adjustments needed to ensure a steady flow. Training and support will be provided by Jindagi, HICODEF's project officer who leads our work in Deurali. He is young, energetic and incredibly knowledgeable. He will be delivering monthly Farmer Field Schools in three villages across Deurali, teaching farmers how to grow, transport, market and sell crops like tomatoes, cauliflower and chilli. He will oversee maintenance of the water supply system and coordinate with local cooperatives to establish market mechanisms for the farmers. We are blessed to have him on the team. 

The life of the farmer can be fragile and incredibly stressful. This is true in the U.K. and true in Nepal. The difference is that in Nepal, the poorest nation in Asia, crop failure can mean a very fast descent into severe food poverty. By funding projects that have an eye on the long term and on resilience, we can guard against sudden shocks and prevent crises before they happen. 

We need funds now to extend our work in Deurali into 2018 and beyond. Please visit our donate pages and support our work if you can. 

Jindagi (extreme right of shot) our HICODEF project officer in Nawalparasi, with Dinanath Bhandari, a TGT volunteer and Programme Coordinator at Practical Action Nepal, and local farmers at the site of the new water supply system in Durlunga Baseni. 

Jindagi (extreme right of shot) our HICODEF project officer in Nawalparasi, with Dinanath Bhandari, a TGT volunteer and Programme Coordinator at Practical Action Nepal, and local farmers at the site of the new water supply system in Durlunga Baseni. 

All about the base..line global average temperature

Philip James de Loutherbourg (1801) Madeley Wood Furnaces, Coalbrookdale, Wikicommons

Philip James de Loutherbourg (1801) Madeley Wood Furnaces, Coalbrookdale, Wikicommons

In discussions like those held at the UN Climate Change conference in Paris in 2015, we talk about limiting the increase in global average temperatures to 2C. But 2C warmer than what?

We are aiming to keep global average temperature to less than 2C higher than the pre industrial global average temperature. Or, more simply the global average temperature at the point just before the industrial revolution began in earnest. That is the baseline.

But what if we're not going back far enough in time? What if the global average temperature in the late 1800's, which is the period current baselines come from, were already an increase on a true pre-industrial average?

Evidence strongly suggests that greenhouse gases were already changing the climate in the late 1800's; global average temperatures were already rising compared to say the early 1700s. So the baseline temperature we are using was probably already 0.2C warmer than the true 'pre industrial' global average.   

What this means for our present day emissions and warming targets is explored by Michael Mann and others in a new paper published by Nature.