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Discussion on Post-COVID-19 Green Recovery held:

 

On 3rd of July 2020, Clean Energy Nepal (CEN) organized a discussion program titled; “COVID-19; Opportunities for Green Recovery”. The program was organized with the objective to identify way forward to adopt green recovery strategies post COVID-19 pandemic. The program was organized through Zoom and broadcasted live on CEN’s Facebook page as well.

Hon. Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal, Member of National Assembly, Dr. Maheswar Dhakal, Joint Secretary and Chief of Climate Change Management Division at the Ministry of Forest and Environment, Mr. Ramesh Bhushal, Nepal Editor of The Third Pole and Mr. Manjeet Dhakal, Board member of Clean Energy Nepal joined the program as the panelists. Mr. Shankar Sharma, Senior Program Officer of Clean Energy Nepal moderated the program. Mr. Sharma shared the motive of the program and highlighted the positive and negative socio-economic impacts and environmental consequences of COVID-19.

Speaking at the program, Mr. Dhakal shed lighted on green recovery for sustainable economic development in case of Nepal. He talked about sustainable environment friendly plans and programs and things that can be done for green economic recovery, green Job creation, promotion of de-carbonization and sustainable growth prospect and initiation of inclusive and resilient growth for the long term benefits of the country. He added that the lesson learnt from COVID 19 pandemic as an emergency is to tackle climate as an emergency with similar level of coordination. “COVID-19 has also provided opportunities like remote working, online purchases and cities inclining towards cycling and walking” he added. Mr. Dhakal said that in the last 5 years, among the budget allocated for different heading environmental protection has not been prioritized as it should have been. Therefore, social and economic balance should be focused for clean and green recovery, he concluded.  

Mr. Bhushal said that we haven’t really learned from the past crisis and disasters. “Deeply rooted psychology of politicians and bureaucrats has stagnated our development model. We should therefore change the way we look at obstacles and reflect on it so that we can utilize the lesson learnt from the past in future crisis and pandemic. If we continue to follow the traditional development mentality and rituals that we have been practicing from decades then that would not help us to reach anywhere. Dr. Dhakal from MoFE said that we had been facing climate change issues and in addition to that now we are facing COVID-19 pandemic, the only difference is that climate change is here to stay for long time whereas this pandemic is here for certain time. He emphasized that development should be taken as “Green Growth Strategy”.

Hon. Dr. Bimala Rai Paudyal said that although there has been some positive impacts and relief on the environment due to COVID 19, the social and economic factors are greatly impacted. He also warned that during the recovery time the environment faces severe damage therefore we should be more careful about the environment post the pandemic. Dr. Paudyal talked about measures to control GHG emission and stressed the urgent need of shifting to environment friendly sustainable transport including in other sectors. She also said that, in case of Mega Earthquake, 2015 we worked with the concept “build back better”  and same concept must be adopted post the Covid-19 pandemic. Dr. Paudyal also said that we are so fast in making policies and legal documents but we seriously lack implementation of such documents, which must not sustain for long.

The program was attended by more than 50 participants wherein they dropped in their queries and concerns. The discussion revolved around green economy, ways we can promote it and make it sustainable, opportunities that green economy creates and measures and initiatives to create green recovery plans.

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