Bishwokarma, Paudel and Molina, Civil Society Organizations in Climate Change Policy Dynamics in Nepal: How Representative and Inclusive is the Process?, TMC Academic Journal, 2012, 7(1).
Climate change is the hottest environmental issue in Nepal on which Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) are intensively involved. Recently, various international and development agencies, bi-lateral and multi-lateral development programs, and government agencies have been advocating for the involvement of CSOs on various policy forums in order to make the policy process more deliberative and democratic. Consequently, some representatives of CSOs have been participating in these policy forums and programs. This paper, through some sample analysis, argues that this level of participation might be enough to include the token of participation of CSOs in policy and program implementation process. However, a question of inclusion arises: are the CSOs in these meetings and forums actually representing the real voice of the local people? This is a valid question since most so-called CSOs are in fact development projects implemented by Non-government Organizations (NGOs) that are led by elite urban males. They are also working on the issues influenced by and emerging from international negotiations and discourses rather than from local, poor and marginalized communities. In fact, these NGOs are registered by the government to work on specific issues or sectors. They do not have legitimacy to represent these communities since they are not sanctioned representatives of them. This paper illustrates these issues two contemporary examples: Federation of Community Forest Users Nepal (FECOFUN) and Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN). It further suggests formulating more authentic, inclusive and democratic CSOs in Nepal to allow communities' actual voices to be heard by the government and other national and international agencies.
Key words: Civil Society Organizations (CSOs), climate change, climate change governance, climate change policy process, CSOs' involvement.