Nepal is the 16th poorest country in the world with chronic poverty entrenched by a complex set of interrelated factors that include gender, caste, ethnicity, age, religion, disability, language and geography. Over 25% of the population live under the international poverty line of around £0.80 per day and are extremely vulnerable to economic, health, social and climatic shocks. Indicators for women are particularly poor. In Nepal, 380 of every 100,000 women die in pregnancy or childbirth. This compares poorly with regional comparators – India (230), Pakistan (260) and Bangladesh (340).
Nepal ranks 154th out of 182 countries in the 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, worse than India (95th), Bangladesh (120th) and Pakistan (134th). Against these perceptions of corruption, the Department for International Development (DFID) Nepal programme is expected to grow from £61.3 million in 2011-12 to £103.4 million in 2014-15.
High levels of poverty and exclusion have fuelled conflict in Nepal. In turn, conflict has fuelled poor development outcomes. As Nepal emerges from its ten-year civil war, an opportunity to break this cycle exists. The peace agreement that ended the civil war is, however, fragile. Since its signing in November 2006, progress has stalled and a lasting political agreement on key issues has yet to be reached. In particular, a new constitution needs to be drafted, elections held, the transition to federalism started and agreement on the future of Maoist combatants reached.
This review assesses five DFID peace and security projects, costing £53 million, intended to support the Comprehensive Peace Accord’s implementation and Nepal’s transition to peace. The projects ranged from rehabilitation of former child soldiers, support to elections, access to justice (especially for women via community dispute resolution) and police reform.
We awarded a green-amber score and made three recommendations.