Side Event

Achieving water security in Nepal in a changing climate

Side Event Details

Side Event Title:

Achieving water security in Nepal in a changing climate

Event ID:

HQ163 (Inside UN HQ, Side Event Room 6)


24 March 2023, Friday, 11:00 - 12:15 EST

Link to IAD:

ID 3- Water for Climate, Resilience and Environment: Source to Sea, Biodiversity, Climate, Resilience and DRR (SDGs 6.5, 6.6, 7, 11.5, 13, 14, 15);


Government of Nepal


International Water Management Institute (IWMI)-Nepal, the World Bank and Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA)


This session will focus on sharing insights, lessons learned, and challenges for achieving water security in the context of climate change. The session will draw recommendations from recent work in Nepal, a country with complex socio-economic and institutional settings and facing significant climate impacts, with consequences on communities, livelihoods, and economic development. Nepal’s social diversity is reflected in its population of 30 million people, which is composed of 126 distinct caste and ethnic groups who speak 123 languages. The landscape is equally varied ecologically; within a short north-south transect of 200 km, the country encompasses all the ecological zones from sub-tropical to arctic. This diversity poses unique challenges for water management with important lessons for the global community. This session will address knowledge gaps surrounding growing water scarcity and share innovative solutions for increasing water security in the face of climate change.

Water, energy, food, and ecosystems (forests and biodiversity) are highly interconnected, requiring integrated management approaches. Water serves as a vital link between these systems and plays a crucial role in food production, energy development, and promoting inclusive socio-economic development. There is a growing realization among water experts that water is linked not just to SDG6 but to all SDGs - and beyond to all national climate and development plans as well. Creating a more water-secure world, particularly for the poorest and most vulnerable, cannot happen with a business-as-usual approach to investment and project implementation, nor can it happen by addressing SDG6 in isolation. Globally proven scientific tools such as the Water Tracker for National Climate Planning can facilitate an understanding of the role of water in plans to achieve the SDGs and nationally determined commitments for climate actions, including the complex interlinkages of water with all sectors of the economy. Nepal has applied the Water Tracker and will share how the results are contributing to enhanced water resilience in the country.

The stress of climate change and the hydro-meteorological uncertainties are compounding the seemingly intractable water challenges of developing economies and LDCs like Nepal. Climate impacts, including increased frequency and intensity of floods and droughts, desiccation of soil moisture due to rising temperature affecting forests, wildlife, and dryland agriculture, delays in seasonal precipitation patterns etc., are posing a threat to food security and socioeconomic development. Apt transformation of water systems to enhance water, food, and energy (hydropower) security is key to climate action and is the basis for a climate-resilient future.

Key questions to be addressed
  • What factors, physical, institutional and socio-economic, are contributing to the growing water insecurity in Nepal and the surrounding region?
  • What are the opportunities and difficulties of implementing local solutions to water insecurity and how can they be connected to the larger scale of the river basin? (sharing key lessons from Nepal)
  • How can a holistic approach consider water, energy, food and ecosystem nexus support gender-inclusive food and nutrition security? (sharing experiences from Nepal)
  • How can innovative international and regional cooperation support in reducing disaster risks and maximizing water-related benefits for all involved?
  • How can better climate science be practiced in socio-ecologically diverse settings and how do tools like Water Tracker support increased water security and resilience for Nepal?
  • What is the relevancy of transformative future for water security initiative in developing countries like Nepal?
Program Detail






Introductory Remarks

His Excellency Mr. Amrit Bahadur Rai,

Permanent Representative of Nepal to the

United Nations

3 minutes


Moderator starts the


Dr. Dipak Gyawali (Pragya Academician) of NAST and Former minister of water resources of Nepal)

5 minutes


Session Chair

Honorable Abdul Khan

Minister for Water Supply, Nepal

1 Minutes


A Water Poem

Shishir Koirala

Joint Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation

5 Minutes


Key Note Speech

Gopal Prasad Sigdel, Secretary, Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation

10 minute


Panel Discussion

1. Dr. Manohara Khadka, Country Representative, IWMI, Nepal, CGIAR Country Convenor for Nepal

24 minutes (@4 minutes each)

2. Dr. George Joseph, Senior Economist, WB

3. Dr. Kapil Gnawali, Senior Divisional Hydrologist, Water and Energy Commission Secretariat

4. Sanjeeb Baral, Deputy Director General, Department of Water Resources and Irrigation

5. Susheel C. Acharya, Director General, Department of Water Resources and Irrigation

6. Dr Mark Smith, DG, IWMI


Floor opens for questions,

and queries

Response to the queries


Key Note Speaker/ Panelists

15 Minutes


Wrap-Up and Conclusion of the session


5 Minutes


Closing Remarks

Session Chair, Honorable Minister for Water Supply and Sanitation

5 Minute


Deputy Director General, Department of Water Resources and Irrigation
Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Nepal