Challenges and prospects of local level adaptation planning: Case of Gandaki River Basin, Western Nepal

Authors: Rajiv Ghimire*, School for Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University
Topics: Global Change, Human-Environment Geography, Hazards and Vulnerability
Keywords: Climate change adaptation; Bottom-up planning; Local Adaptation Plan of Action, Local institutions
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/8/2021
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 5:55 PM
Room: Virtual 7
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

The adaptation governance is largely top-down and driven by international commitments which often overlooks context-based local level knowledge, capacity, and adaptation practices. The prospect of bottom-up planning in adaptation with programs such as Ecosystem-Based Adaptation, Community-Based Adaptation, and Local Adaptation Plans for Action (LAPA) makes a compelling case, but these initiatives are rife with holes and assumptions. Using the case of the LAPA program in the Gandaki River Basin, Western Nepal, my study presents the hazards faced (climate-induced and otherwise), adaptation programs proposed, and institutions preferred by local communities to explore the challenges and prospects of the local adaptation planning. I reviewed 65 LAPA documents and interviewed local-level stakeholders involved in adaptation planning (N=45) in 11 districts along with policymakers and experts (N=15). My findings suggest that bottom-up initiatives and local adaptation planning can be beneficial, particularly in places where hazard risk is on the rise, and the climate change impacts are severe. Some obstacles for the implementation of local adaptation planning are insufficient financial resources, limited knowledge or awareness, duplication of efforts, not valuing indigenous knowledge, more focus on biophysical aspects, and lack of support from governmental and non-governmental institutions. Local institutions play a vital role in promoting adaptation initiatives therefore it is imperative to motivate and capacitate them. In general, it is extremely crucial to integrate local and traditional approaches with new and science-based initiatives. Likewise, the nexus between adaptation and development is important – the adaptation planning should be mainstreamed in the local development and vice versa.

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