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A Sub-National Level Training-Workshop on Climate Change at Lomanthang Mustang

Wednesday, October 18th, 2023

After three consecutive days of travel from Kathmandu, Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN) Climate Change Partnership Program team arrived in Lomanthang Rural Municipality of Mustang District, the Lowa/Lhoba ancestral land also known as the last forbidden kingdom of Nepal. The Lowa villages in this rural municipality lie above 3850 meters elevation above sea level bordering with Tibet. Those Lowa villages are hardly reached community in terms of awareness raising of Indigenous People, their issues, climate change, and its impacts. The main purpose of this trip was to interact with Lowa Indigenous People, observe their life ways, climate change impact and indigenous issues. Pursuing to achieve the objective of the travel, a three-day training-workshop from October 07 to 09, 2023 was organized among Lowa Indigenous People in Lomanthang.

The main objective of the event was to raise awareness about climate change, interact with Lowa Indigenous People about climate change, its impact, Indigenous Peoples’ issues, and their contribution in climate action.

A total of 59 participants, including 26 men and 33 women from all five wards of Lomanthang Rural Municipality, took part in the event at the mother’s group hall of Lomanthang village. The event was started with the Lowa tradition of burning Tsumee (butter lamps) by Mrs. Chhyumi Bista, the vice-chairperson of Lomanthang Rural Municipality, and Mr. Duke Bista, the former Kghyamba (traditional village chief) and ward chairperson, which was followed by offering Khatak (traditional scarf with 8 signs of good wishes) and a sharing of the objectives of the workshop by Mr. Tunga Rai, Director of the NEFIN Climate Change Partnership Program. The representatives of the rural municipality expressed their wishes for the successful accomplishment of the workshop and requested that all the participants gain optimum information and insights from the workshop.

The key discussions of the sessions included overview of climate change, climate change mitigation and adaptation, climate change loss and damage including non-economic loss and damage, an overview of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) of Nepal, challenges and opportunities of Indigenous People, among other items. The resource persons of the NEFIN Climate Change Partnership Program shared information on the above-mentioned topics through different insightful and constructive presentations and videos. Participants also shared their experiences in the context of their regions.

The key observations of discussion and the facts shared by participants show that climate change effects like drying sources of water, relocation of villages, changing rainfall patterns and reasons resulting in house roof leakage, destruction and deterioration of houses, monasteries, stupas, and other monuments are serious in the region. The replacement of mud houses and monuments with concrete ones was observed to withstand the heavy rainfall. Furthermore, changes in snowfall patterns were reported saying this situation is resulting in a decline in green pastureland, agriculture, affecting animal grazing, and a decline in animal husbandry practices. On the other hand, apple farming and other varieties of vegetable farming were witnessed as some window opportunities for climate change in the region.

The participants were very enthusiastic and overwhelmed to attend the training-workshop, and they expressed their gratitude to the event organizer as it was a very first, fruitful, and knowledge-sharing opportunity for most of them. The key recommendation of the participant was that this type of initiative is helpful in remote places like Lomanthang. They also recommended that some research be carried out on aspects of climate change, its impact on the social, cultural, and spiritual values and lifestyle of the region, and solutions to be initiated in accordance.