Climate Change Resiliency Emphasized Through Volunteerism
December 5 | Pokhara and Butwal
“Why are volunteers important? Are they necessary when climate change causes disasters?”
With these questions, International Volunteers Day (IVD) 2018 celebration and orientation program for “Climate Change Resiliency and Disaster Risk Reduction” began simultaneously at Pokhara, Gandaki Pradesh Province, and Butwal, Province 5.
IVD, mandated by the UN General Assembly, is held each year on 5 December, and is viewed as a unique chance for volunteers and organizations to celebrate their efforts, to share their values, and to promote their work among their communities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), UN agencies, government authorities, and the private sector.
This year, United Nations (UN) in Nepal and partners gave orientations on resilience against natural disaster; entrepreneurship and economic growth; and social cohesion in all provinces to mark the day. The event, with representatives from the local and provincial government, sought deeper commitments towards working with volunteer groups to be resilient against the disastrous changes of climate change in Province 4 and 5. All urged the Government of Nepal to take the issues of climate change seriously, and incorporate volunteerism to tackle it, within the current federalism structure.
“Volunteers have always been on the forefront during natural calamities caused via climate change, especially landslides and floods. Climate change, the role of youth volunteers, and resilient communities are all interconnected”, continued Nam Khatri, an expert on environmental health, at Province 5. “We should properly train them, and this is the perfect opportunity.”
With the theme - “Volunteers Build Resilient Communities” – volunteers from United Nations Volunteers Nepal, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Population Fund, United Nations Women, World Health Organization - Country Office for Nepal (WCO Nepal), Voluntary Service Overseas, and Raleigh International, contributed to making communities in all provinces more resilient against natural disasters, strengthening economic growth and political stability.
“There will be more environmental refugees, air pollution, spread of tropical diseases, and water pollution. We must act against climate change now”, continued Dr. Sudan Panthi, Environmental Unit, WCO Nepal, during the orientation program for disaster risk reduction at Gandaki Pradesh, Province 4. “We need to be prepared."
Mayors, dignitaries from the provincial level government, representatives of the local youth organization, students, and volunteers benefited from the localized orientation. Panel discussions were also held on how community members could volunteer to build resilience in their communities, while community volunteers who had worked in their communities shared about volunteerism and its importance.
The event created a platform where volunteers all over Nepal could learn best practices from each other in terms of building resilient communities through volunteerism, recognized the efforts of individuals that promote volunteerism and honor their spirit, highlighted importance of volunteerism for the community, and incorporated the importance of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in voluntary work. Recommendations for further improvements of networking, communication, education, mobilization, capacity development, and management of volunteers were given to the local and provincial government.
Such orientations regarding building resilience capacity in community on natural disaster was provided in Province 1; resilience against natural disasters in communities with an emphasis on helping the vulnerable was given in Province 2; post-disaster gender-based violence and women empowerment was given in Province 3; climate change resiliency orientation with a focus on water management given in Province 4 and 5 respectively; economic empowerment and promotion of entrepreneurship for the youth was given in Province 6; and democratic participation and social cohesion orientation was provided in Province 7.
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