Social Science Baha

Climate Justice: Bottlenecks and Opportunities for Policy-making in Nepal

Sharad Ghimire

The notion of climate justice has received importance in academic, activist and political circles globally and in Nepal. Political leaders, climate change activists, movement leaders as well as the academics hardly miss the point about justice—whether explicitly or implicitly—while they refer to climate change. Nepal’s climate change policy has also incorporated the concept. While being so attractive to many groups, the notion has been hardly discussed to its nuances in Nepal as to how it is implicated to policies and practices. At the global level, climate justice is mostly understood in relation to the division between the global North and the South in relation to their contribution to generation of green house gases (GHGs) and hence the responsibility to reduce it, bearing the negative consequences and having the capacity to overcome the impacts. However, within a national context in Nepal, specifically in the formulation of public policies and programs, it remains unclear how the notion of climate justice has been conceptualized or operationalized. This paper explores through how Nepal’s climate change policy-making and international representation conceptualize the notion and identifies their nuances and contradictions. It examines two specific policy instruments, viz., National Policy on Climate Change and National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) in regard to their commitment to and formulation of climate justice. This paper suggests that, while the notion of climate justice is conceived in contradictory and sometimes opposite ways, it offers a discursive device for articulating the needs and voices of backward groups. We also suggest that Nepal’s environmental policy-making requires a change of approach to deliver the government’s commitment to climate justice.