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.