10 – 11 June 2019 | KATHMANDU – Within UCLG ASPAC, South Asia is the sub-region most affected by climate-related and naturally-triggered disasters. UCLG ASPAC, together with the world communities, has agreed to achieve sustainable development goals and expressed its commitment by adopting global agendas on energy, climate actions, disaster resilience, and economic empowerment. Local governments in the region are also committed to improve the quality of life of its people through cooperative activities that are people-oriented and people-centred.

UCLG ASPAC expressed its support to the two-day South Asia Conference on “Local Authorities to Address Global Agendas: Deliberative Role of Local Authorities on Energy, Climate Actions and DRR.” The conference was organised by National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal (NARMIN) and Municipal Association of Nepal (MuAN) and supported by National Reconstruction Authority – Government of Nepal and Nepal – EU Action for Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction in Nepal.

Attending participants coming from local authorities, academic institutions, development partners and organisations from Nepal, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh and China were enlightened by distinguished speakers. UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Dr. Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi, Government of Nepal National Reconstruction Authority CEO Mr. Sushil Gyewali; and Government of Nepal Honorable Minister for Home Affairs Mr. Ram Bahadur Thapa spoke at the opening session. They agreed that enhancement of local government role is crucial for disaster management, climate action, and supplying renewable energy and mobilisation. Local government motivation is also essential to achieve targets of global agendas. Disasters, climate, and energy issues are not confined by borders or frontiers and they all have spill-over effects. Global agendas are designed for local people and thus it is time for local governments to take up roles and ‘reach out.’ Dr. Bernadia proposed concluding the conference with an Action Agenda for countries in South Asia.

Talking on Global Agenda on Disaster Management, Mr. Sushil Gyewali presented the Post Disaster Recovery Framework (PDRF) in Nepal. He stated the overarching messages of the conference which includes: 1) all actions, thoughts, plans should be made with the ultimate beneficiaries in mind, and 2) by engaging local government in the process of reconstruction, dividends and benefits would not only be reaped now, but sustainability of inclusive support measures are assured for the future.

The local government representatives of Lalitpur Metropolitan City, Thaha Municipality, Barpak Sulikot Rural Municipality and Kalinchowk Rural Municipality in Nepal shared their involvement, experiences and lessons on social infrastructure, private housing, social inclusion and livelihood in post-earthquake era. Representatives of local governments from other countries in South Asia also presented their best practices and challenges for implementation of the global agendas on disaster risk reductions, renewable energy and climate actions.

On the topic of Climate Actions, Renewable Energy, Energy Expert, Former Minister for Energy Mr. Ganesh Shah and representatives of local governments from South Asia revealed the fact that Nepal needs to replace 4% energy obtained from imported fuel and that local governments could easily generate energy specially from untapped space (non-forest, agricultural land, mountain slopes) to generate renewable energy if their technical capacity was sufficient.

Member of Federal Parliament Nepal, Dr. Bimala Rai Poudyal, and representatives of local governments from South Asia, during the Climate Actions session, presented their involvement, experience and effective practices for climate actions in South Asia. They presented good practice of connecting with schools for awareness raising and getting the message and actions started at early age. They urged that tangible connections exist between waste management and use of renewable energy and that it could provide a positive impact on climate change. However, it is not optimised yet. Local government needs to be engaged enough on policy and involvement on issues of climate action and in the elaboration and monitoring of climate-related bills and by-laws for effective implementation.

In this event, participants were given opportunity to also share efforts and practices of local authorities on promoting and implementing global agenda on energy, climate actions, and disaster management. They also shared their learning reflections on the defined sectors and provided updates on the progress, status as well as challenges in the implementation of global agendas in their respective countries. The conference ended with draft ‘Kathmandu Plan of Action.’

South-South West (SSW) Standing Committee Meeting

UCLG ASPAC optimised the attendance of city leaders in South Asia sub-region by organising a South-South West Standing Committee meeting. The progress on action plan of the Committee including the position paper “SAARC Cooperation to Local Governments in the South Asia Region” was represented and discussed. UCLG ASPAC Secretary General Bernadia Irawati Tjandradewi mentioned that mainstreaming local government in regional body such as SAARC is a long process. Taking the Southeast Asia sub-region as example, she informed participants on the process that started one decade ago and finally in 2018 the ASEAN Mayors Forum (AMF) was officially accredited by ASEAN, marking a key milestone in the Standing Committee’s advocacy for local governments at sub-regional level. She also invited participants to take part in the upcoming UCLG ASPAC events namely Women Leadership Training and South Asia Mayors Forum, both to be organised in 2020 in India. Together with the announcement, she encouraged participating members to propose sub-regional events to enhance further collaboration amongst local governments and key partners.