Environmental accord conundrum: Nepal’s signature vs implementation struggle

KATHMANDU: In the realm of multilateral agreements, amidst the complexities of signatures, uncertainty for implementation, and a lack of proactive engagement for execution, the situation remains obscure.

Even though Nepal has affixed its signature to various international agreements related to environmental matters, the actual implementation has been marred by procedural deficiencies and bureaucratic hurdles.

Within the context of multilateral accords concerning environmental issues, even when agreements have been signed with careful consideration, the translation into practical action has often witnessed utmost inefficiency.

The government of Nepal, despite endorsing numerous bilateral agreements related to the environment, has failed to capitalize on the potential benefits due to the absence of legal and institutional frameworks.

The process of negotiation, preparation, and consensus-building for such agreements seems to lead to an impasse, with signatures being prioritized over the essential groundwork for execution. The absence of a consolidated repository of these agreements within the Nepal government further exacerbates the situation.

According to the Office of the Auditor General’s operational review report, up until the year 2018, Nepal had signed 133 bilateral agreements related to the environment.

However, global statistics indicate the existence of over 200 such agreements. Contradictions also arise, as the International Energy Agency stated that Nepal held a party status in 143 agreements.

While the Ministry of Law may be tasked with maintaining records of international agreements, it’s evident that not all agreements have been accurately documented. Amongst the clutter of such information, only 61 agreements have made any progress towards implementation.

For the effective execution of multilateral agreements, it is crucial to have intergovernmental coordination, responsible departments, and officers with unwavering commitment. However, the Nepal government seems to have invested its efforts predominantly into only 61 agreements.

The Ministry of Forests and Environment should play a direct role in the implementation of agreements concerning the environment. Despite this, organized documentation of these initiatives and corresponding tasks has not been given priority.

The absence of a unified recordkeeping approach, in the pursuit of a cleaner environment and sustainable development, poses a risk to Nepal’s international standing and access to funding in international forums.

This has been highlighted in the report stating, “Even though opportunities exist for a country to stand up in international forums given the shortage of human resources and institutional capacity, it still may not be able to perform effectively.”

The trend of diminishing resources over the years, coupled with inadequate management of available human resources, has elevated the risk of Nepal’s international investments and support being adversely affected by this situation.

The suggestion provided by the report underscores the need for a thorough preparedness before entering into international commitments.

While engaging with international organizations in the aftermath of signing agreements might lead to participation, the lack of preparation before and after these engagements highlights a pervasive communication deficiency, as emphasized by the report.

Following the 133 agreements, Nepal’s participation in 54 multilateral institutions signifies a readiness to collaborate in implementing these accords.

However, officials from Nepal often attend meetings without adequate preparation, and this neglectful behavior persists, as mentioned in the report.

The failure to implement institutional memory transfer systems has contributed to this issue, where the problem of documentation looms large, even when such systems exist.

Fiscal Nepal |
Thursday August 10, 2023, 01:58:46 PM |

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