June 6, 2023, Tuesday
Nepal 1:37:26 pm

Science Diplomacy : Nepal needs it for multiple benefits

The Nepal Weekly
October 12, 2022

By Purna N. Ranjitkar

It is an essential component for Nepal to prepare knowledge exchange and collaborations for agriculture, ITC, RETs, decarbonised mobility, climate issues and so on. Similarly, sharing indigenous knowledge with world community will be another rewarding prospect. 

Globally recognised statements say that practice of maintaining creative international partnership by solving common problems through scientific collaboration is Science Diplomacy. Science Diplomacy is commonly referred as a new term in the field of diplomacy. Under the umbrella network of Science Diplomacy, various countries have joined hands in the field of Science and Technology, Research and Engineering etc. 

As a matter of fact, the important thing is that science diplomacy is not something new. International relationships that can be framed under Science Diplomacy have been taking place since the beginnings of human civilization: from the exchange of knowledge and scientific tokens in Ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Greece in the Western world to the Silk Road.

International treaties for nuclear disarmament and scientific cooperation between the United States and the USSR during the Cold War can also fall under this broad category. Other international treaties for the governance and scientific cooperation in ungoverned spaces such as Antarctica, oceans or even space may be understood as science diplomacy too. Another example of science diplomacy is the establishment of large research infrastructures that require the scientific cooperation of a number of countries that had been opponents in the past, such is the case of CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire, or European Council for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland.

Experts broadly explain the topic saying, in fact, science diplomacy is more than just international scientific collaborations. Science Diplomacy implies the involvement of political actors and interests, whereas international scientific collaborations do not necessarily involve them at all and indeed they are sometimes commercially oriented and often without direct state participation.

It is also realised that Science Diplomacy is the use of scientific collaborations among nations to address the common problems facing 21st century humanity and to build constructive international partnerships. There are many ways that scientists can contribute to this process.

Thus, Science Diplomacy has been defined as the use and application of science cooperation to build bridges and enhance relationships among countries having different level of knowledge and expertise but willing to share to others for the benefit of people and planet.

In recent years, Science Diplomacy has become a field of interest to every country as it can connect developing countries with developed one through the medium of science and technology.

Nepal has also initiated brain storming over Science Diplomacy. Ministry of Education, Science and Technology and Nepal Academy of Science and Technology have started dialogues and discussions with experts and professionals since a few years back. However, Science Diplomacy for Nepal is still at a beginning level.

Remarkably, economic and political issues have been a core interest of Nepal in in its diplomatic exercises so far. Importance of Science Diplomacy should have been an additional scope for Nepal. The weakness is scientists or science based academic personalities have rarely been provided to be involved diplomatic missions prioritising science as a part of important and influential agenda for the country. As such, it should be prioritised asan essential component for Nepal to prepare knowledge exchange and collaborations for agriculture, ITC, RETs, decarbonised mobility and climate. Similarly, sharing indigenous knowledge with world community will be another rewarding prospect. 

Moreover, Nepal needs to homework on exercising diplomacy for climate issues in multilateral and bilateral forums and relations. The rest of world must realise that Nepal and similar countries need an extensive technical and financial supports to tackle the negative effects of climate change caused by global warming. As a result, Nepal and similar countries are getting worst conditions as impact of the almost zero contribution to the global warming.

Particularly, Nepal needs technical knowledge and support on human resource development for food security, energy security, control of air pollution, infrastructure for decarbonised mobility mainly to contribute to the planet to stop the increasing warmth of the planet.  

COP27 which is a short form of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (UNFCC) to be held in the year 2022 during 6 to 18 November 2022 in Sharm EL Sheikh, Egypt. The global event will be a grand occasion where Nepal and similar countries will have to put strong efforts in lobby, advocacy for loss and damage of people and properties as a consequence of climate change effects and polluting countries to provide technical and financial supports for mitigation and adaptation activities. Green Climate Fund is one such financial institution which gather fund from developed countries and provide developing and under development countries to combat climate change effects.  More to understand GCF, The Green Climate Fund is a fund established within the framework of the UNFCCC as an operating entity of the Financial Mechanism to assist developing countries in adaptation and mitigation practices to counter climate change. The objective of the Green Climate Fund is to “support projects, programmes, policies and other activities in developing country Parties using thematic funding windows”. It is intended that the Green Climate Fund be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance under the UNFCCC.

Additionally, as said above Nepal should be able to share and exchange knowledge and experiences earned by native people as a traditional or endogenous technology which is useful in reducing climate change effects and resilience by collaborating with developed countries through academic institutions and professionals. That needs extensive bilateral and multilateral dialogues. Moreover, G2G, B2B and P2P approaches may be worked out to prepare exercising pattern for the benefit of own country and rest of the world.

As such, Science Diplomacy must be taken seriously by concerned authorities developing essential norms with wider consultations with all stakeholders including experts, professionals, academia, campaigners and private sector.