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Tag: Anusha Basnet

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Political Representation of Women in Local-Level Elections


The political representation of women in Nepal has improved markedly since the overthrow of the monarchy and the implementation of a federal system. Legal provisions implemented by the Government of Nepal can be largely attributed to this increase in women’s political representation. Article 84 of the Constitution of Nepal states that at least one-third of the total women elected in the federal parliament need to be women. In terms of the local level, Section 17(4) of the Local Level Election Act 2017 states that a political party must field a woman in either the mayor/ chairperson or deputy mayor/ vice-chairperson position. It is also legally mandatory to appoint a female ward member and a Dalit female ward member at the ward level. While all these provisions have ensured the political participation and representation of women, the past two elections have shown that there is still work needed to be done with regard to the proper implementation of these provisions so that meaningful political participation of women can be ascertained. 

In the 2017 local-level elections, 40.95 percent of the total elected representatives were women. There was a slight improvement in 2022 with women being 41.21 percent of the total elected representatives. However, in both elections, the target set to achieve 50 percent representation of women was not met. In addition, to fulfill the legal provisions political parties ended up fielding a large number of women as candidates for Deputy positions in 2017. In contrast, in 2022, due to the political parties forming coalitions, only one candidate was fielded by one political party in mayor/ chief and deputy positions which could be either of the genders. Because of this, the tickets went largely to male candidates while drastically decreasing the number of female candidates. The nominations reflect this – while 3593 women were nominated as deputy chiefs in 2017, 3077 women were nominated as deputy chiefs in 2022 (Data from Election Commission). Furthermore, while it is mandatory for all ward levels to have one Dalit women member, 176 units and 123 units in 2017 and in 2022, respectively, did not field Dalit women candidates.

These incidents show that creating legal provisions is not enough to ensure the participation of women, rather, constant supervision is needed to ensure the correct implementation of the legal provisions. Although the Election Commission has been active in responding to the concerns raised regarding women’s participation in the electoral system, it has still been one step behind with its decisions coming after loopholes have been utilised by the parties. Women’s rights activists and legal experts are the ones who have been raising the alarm on this trend of political parties utilising legal loopholes to shaft women in their nomination and offered positions. Few female cadres and leaders have also raised their voices against their party’s reluctance to give candidacies to women. 

In 2017, the political parties were criticised for giving women candidacies in only deputy/vice-chairperson positions. In 2022, parties were again criticised for using coalitions to give candidacy only to male candidates. In the case of Dalit women representatives, a major criticism remains that parties only look for Dalit women to field as candidates during election time. 

While the public and activists can draw the attention of political parties to the task, the onus remains on political parties to encourage the political participation of women from grassroot level and to fulfill and even exceed the provisions as guaranteed by the constitution. Unless the political parties take lead on this issue, women’s political participation and representation will always be on the margins.

This blog is a part of NIPoRe’s blog series on Women’s History Month 2023

The Explainer - NIPoRe Blog

Evolving Trends in Foreign Aid Flows to Nepal


As a developing country, foreign aid has been a major factor in aiding Nepal to meet the country’s all major development. Throughout the years, Nepal has mostly received foreign aid in the form of grants, loans and technical assistance. The country has received most bilateral aid support from countries such as  USA,  UK, Japan, India, and Germany and most multilateral aid from organizations including the European Union (EU), the World Bank (WB), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the United Nations (UN). The central government created the country’s Foreign Aid Policy 2002 to create stipulations for donors. Also, the Nepal government  tried to streamline the process for the donors and make the whole system transparent by requiring the donors to upload all the accounting details related to the Aid Management Information System (AMIS) portal. The portal was launched by the government in 2019. 

The following graph presents the value of official development assistance (ODA) Nepal has received during FY 2016/17 and FY 2020/21:

Source: Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal

The available data highlight fluctuation in the foreign aid that Nepal has received over the last five fiscal years. The official data for the first eight months of the recent fiscal year (FY2021/22) indicates a decline in aid commitment by 32.7 percent as compared to the same period of the previous fiscal year.

The following graph shows a breakdown of ODA disbursement from 2018 to 2020:

Source: Ministry of Finance, Government of Nepal

While Nepal mostly received grants during the 1960s, concessional loans have been a greater percent of foreign aid after the 1980s. The shift in the amount of foreign aid Nepal received from bilateral to multilateral partners caused this change. The above graph shows that 60 percent of total ODA in FY 2018/19, 69.91 percent in FY 2019/20 and 66.89 percent in 2020/21 were given as loans. A large portion of loans have been taken to develop the infrastructure projects in the country. In FY 2020/21, 98.8 percent of the disbursement received for the road transportation sector, 82.27 percent of the disbursement received for the energy sector, and 73.73 percent of the disbursement received for the reconstruction sector was received in the form of loans.

While the government has been taking out loans to finance development projects, concerns over this preference have been raised in the country. The biggest concern in recent years has been the fear of Nepal falling into debt trap and eventually facing an economic crisis. The tendency of development projects to get extended for completion and lack of effective aid mobilization puts Nepal in a precarious position as greater investment is required to complete these projects. Furthermore, even though its overall contribution to causing climate change is low, Nepal is one of the countries that is most vulnerable to climate change. It is estimated that the country will need USD 46 billion by 2050 to adapt to impacts of climate change. As such, Nepal taking loans from multilateral agencies for adapting to climate change will increase the  financial burden on the economy.

Way Forward

While foreign aid has always been an important component for covering the budget deficit, diversifying the source of financing is critical for the country moving forward. Few solution to minimize the reliance on foreign aid could include:

  • Focus on Foreign Direct Investment (FDI): Finding alternative sources of financing beyond foreign aid is essential to reduce the dependence on foreign aid. One option for alternative sources of financing could be FDI, which means attracting foreign investors to invest in businesses and projects in Nepal.
  • Increased focus on the productive sector: Nepal should strengthen the productive sectors of its economy. The government’s focus should be on providing support to agricultural, service and manufacturing sectors so that the economy can become  self-reliant and subsequently  a net exporter.
  • Applying for grants instead of loans: The government should push for grants instead of loans when it comes to getting foreign aid for projects that are geared towards achieving sustainable development goals and climate resilience. The Nepali government should aim at getting grants to combat the negative effects of climate change in the country.
OP-EDs and Columns

Nepal Needs to Invest in Climate-Resilient Infrastructure

– ANUSHA Basnet

The opinion piece originally appeared in the 2022 November Issue of New Business Age Magazine. Please read the original article here.

As a developing country in the global south, Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Various reports have shown that it is often the lower-income countries that are at greater risk due to climate change as they have a lower capacity to adapt to the changes. While Nepal only contributes 0.027% of global greenhouse emissions, it is positioned high on the list of countries most vulnerable to the impact of climate change.

According to a report from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Nepal could lose up to 2.2% of its annual GDP by 2050 due to the impact of climate change. The country has already begun to see the devastating effects of climate change like decreasing agricultural output, change in crop rotation, change in rainfall patterns leading to an increase in frequency of natural disasters including droughts, floods and landslides resulting in great loss of lives and properties. As a result, the government has been acting to ensure that the negative effects of climate change are minimised. The country is part of the Paris Climate Agreement and the government has been working to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Investing in climate-resilient infrastructures is a major step that can be taken by the government to tackle this problem. Multilateral agencies such as the World Bank and the ADB have also been providing financial backing to the country for adaptation to climate change.

Climate-resilient infrastructure includes infrastructure that has been designed and built to prepare and adapt to the changing climate conditions. With climate-resilient infrastructure, the danger of risks emanating from climate-related disasters is reduced. It is important to note that building climate-resilient infrastructures will not completely stop the impact of climate change, but it will greatly mitigate the risks posed by climate change. In terms of impact from climate change, the rise in average temperature causing heat waves, the change in rainfall patterns leading to droughts, floods, and rainfall, and the threats of glacier lake outbursts are the few major threats that Nepal currently faces. The current and future infrastructures being built in the country should take these factors into account and build infrastructure that can minimise the damage caused by these threats. It is especially important for climate resiliency to be taken into account while developing new infrastructure projects because the government has been increasing investment in the infrastructure sector with an aim to accelerate the economic growth of the country.

Major infrastructure projects such as Nagdhunga tunnel, Sikta Irrigation Project and West Seti hydropower project are all under construction or are slated to start construction soon. If climate change effects are not taken into account for these projects, then the investment made into these projects may end up going to waste. Thus, factors such as the increase in temperature, the water level at river sources, and glacial movements should all be taken into account before starting these mega projects.

Climate resilience also includes the maintenance of the existing infrastructure so that they are less vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Floods and landslides have been causing extensive damage to different infrastructure in the country. While rebuilding these damaged infrastructure, climate resilience should be taken into account. Some things that can be done include building proper drainage systems to decrease the impact of flooding, rebuilding roads that can withstand higher temperatures, and rebuilding residential buildings with adequate ventilation to combat the effects of rising temperatures. Building infrastructures that can support the growing population of urban areas including roads, proper drainage systems, and waste management systems was a major topic of discussion at the recently held Nepal Infrastructure Summit 2022.

As rising temperatures and subsequent droughts will increase the demand for water for irrigation and drinking purposes, reservoirs should be built to address these problems. The government should also increase the monitoring of the current infrastructure systems so that required maintenance can be done on time. The government and the private sector are also eyeing green hydrogen as an alternative to petroleum products and chemical fertilisers.

Multilateral partners have been providing support to Nepal for building infrastructures that are climate resilient. Recently, Nepal and the World Bank signed a concessional financing agreement for $100 million for Green, Resilient, and Inclusive Development (GRID) with an aim to support the sustainable and productive use of natural capital and resilience of urban and rural areas. Two further instalments of funds are slated to be available through this agreement. Asian Development Bank has also provided financial support to the government for tackling climate change. Last month, the bank provided $70 million in loans to improve livelihood and climate resilience of 30,000 horticulture farmers across five provinces. During his visit to Nepal in March 2022, ADB’s Director General for South Asia Kenichi Yokoyama mentioned that the bank would maintain financial support amounting to $500- 600 million per year for the next three years for supporting the government’s aim of achieving sustainable growth.

Although the government has taken steps to create climate-resilient infrastructure in the country much is yet to be done especially in regards to management of the climate resiliency of the existing infrastructure. In addition to focusing on the climate-resiliency of newer infrastructure projects, the government needs to create solution-oriented policies that can minimise the negative impact of climate change on existing infrastructure. Further, instead of just taking loans from the development partners, the government needs to find other sources of funding as the burden of paying the debt is ultimately passed on to citizens impacted by climate change.

The concept of climate reparations could be applied here. The concept is a call for money to be paid by Global North to Global South to address the historical and current contributions made by Global North to cause climate change. Thus, the Nepal government could evoke this concept to request the development partners to provide grants instead of loans to combat the negative impact of climate change. Mobilising domestic funding through implementation of green financing can also be another option of raising funds.