On 8th September, the Climate Parliament and the High Volume Transport (HVT) Programme co-organised a national virtual parliamentary roundtable with parliamentarians from Nepal. This roundtable was supported by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO). It was an occasion for parliamentarians to discuss with key experts about opportunities in the current political context to move forward with sustainable transport in Nepal.
Tali Trigg, from the HVT Program, highlighted the potential of electric mobility powered by renewable energy to enable sustainable mobility in Nepal. The latest trends show a 90% drop of the prices in the last decade of lithium-ion batteries for electric vehicles and solar photovoltaic panels, much stricter recycling standards for batteries, and improved sourcing of raw materials. Mr Trigg presented a series of action recommendations for the parliamentarians, underlying the importance of the development of electric two- and three-wheelers as well as electric buses.
Keshab Dhoj Adhikari, from the Ministry of Energy of Nepal, outlined the latest trends related to energy in Nepal, where non-hydro renewables amount to only 10% of the power sector. He also stressed several challenges faced by Nepal, including a failure to implement adopted policies. Storage issues, unavailability of land for solar panels and the unreliability of wind resources are also challenges that should be addressed.
Surya Raj Acharya, from Tribhuvan University, discussed pathways for low-carbon transport development in Nepal. There is a heavy dependence on motorcycles and public transport is dominated by small sized vehicles. Mr Raj Acharya concluded that there is a good prospect for following a low-carbon trajectory for transport development but there is a need to focus on both infrastructure (hardware) and regulation (software) to promote low-carbon transport.
Policies to decarbonise transport have already been adopted in Nepal. Parliamentarians stressed out that the main challenge remaining is the implementation of those policies. There is a need for more investments to build infrastructure for renewable energy and more subsidies to reduce the cost of electric vehicles. Cooperation between SAARC countries could turn out to be very helpful for sharing infrastructure. A full political commitment is needed and parliamentarians have a key role to play to ensure that Nepal is moving forward with the implementation of sustainable transport policies.