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Nepal’s Climate Budget Increases seven-fold in the last five years

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 A Citizens Climate Budget unveiled in Kathmandu shows that there has been a seven-fold increase in spending on climate-relevant development activities in the last five years. The Citizen’s Climate Budget unveiled on Sunday by the Freedom Forum and the United Nations Development program.

Nepal’s Citizens Climate Budget: where is Nepal’s money being allocated?” is the first of its kind publication that visualizes budget figures and trends. It uses information from the Ministry of Finance and other government agencies to provide the public with insights into how the national budget is being allocated to address climate change and its effects. It is an effort to make financial information related to climate change accessible in a clear and accessible format for the public.

It is a tool that helps citizens understand where the money is going so that they can ask public officials the right questions.

Budget shows that a significant amount of funding is allocated to climate-related activities, reflecting the government’s priority in this area. Of Nepal’s total annual budget in fiscal year 2017/18, activities related to climate change accounted for 30.7 per cent of the allocations or about NRS. 393.33 billion. The increases in 2017/18 represent a continuing upward trend of climate allocations in Nepal.

“This information, however, has to be interpreted carefully because the increase also reflects spending on reconstruction, and also allocations made to the local government bodies in light of the restructuring of the state, only parts of which are climate relevant,” said Krishna Sapkota of Freedom Forum.

The Citizens Climate Budget presents the way in which the Government of Nepal has allocated its own resources to respond to the effects of climate change. While this data is available through various financial management systems, and databases of the Ministry of Finance and entities such as the Financial Comptroller General’s Office, it is not available in a format citizens can necessarily understand or analyse. The clear visuals, and extraction of key information in the Citizens Climate Budget makes that information accessible.

However experts questioned in the budget. Expert Govinda Nepal said “Reconstruction and other development budget is also incorporating in the heading of climate change budget, so it is increased unusually”

“Accessing information related to public resources is a first step in increasing accountability between citizens and the government” said Sujala Pant, from the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub. “Due to its high climate vulnerability, Nepal will be spending increasingly more in the coming years to address climate risks, and therefore, it becomes even more significant for people to know where the money is going”.

Vijaya Singh of UNDP Nepal further reiterated, “An important aspect that this Citizens Climate has shown is that climate relevant budget touches every sector. It’s not just an environmental issue. And this is a very important given that whatever progress we make on addressing climate change, we will directly be contributing to the overall SDGs agenda, because you can’t separate the two.”