Draft Part - I Millennium Development Goals and Tenth Plan/PRSP: Strengthening Linkages through a Needs Assessment Approach

(Prepared for Presentation during Pre-consultation Meeting of Nepal Development Forum, 2004)

His Majesty's Government National Planning Commission Singh Durbar

Millennium Development Goals and Tenth Plan/PRSP: Strengthening Linkages through a Needs Assessment Approach
1. Background: Millennium Development Goals At the UN Millennium Summit in September 2000, 189 nations including Nepal adopted the Millennium Declaration, which outlines peace, security and development concerns including environment, human rights, and governance. The Declaration mainstreamed a set of inter-connected and mutually reinforcing development goals – the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – into a global agenda. The MDGs are centered around the following eight major goals along with 18 Targets and 48 Indicators: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. Eradicate poverty and hunger; Achieve universal primary education; Promote gender equality and empower women; Reduce child mortality; Improve maternal health; Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; Ensure environmental sustainability; Develop a global partnership for development.

Quantifiable targets and indicators are set for each of the first seven goals over a 25-year period – between 1990 and 2015. However for the eighth goal, no specific targets and indicators have been specified. Many of the MDGs have their origins in the International Development Targets (IDTs) which were drawn up at the UN global conferences during the 1990s, but the MDGs are different from these past pledges that became broken promises because they are time-bound and measurable. The MDGs are also peoplecentered in the sense that putting kids in schools, having decent meals everyday, and providing better healthcare for mothers and infants is something everyone can relate to. At the same time, having the Millennium Declaration as their normative foundation, the MDGs are not simply about improving the welfare of the poor. Rather, these Goals need to be examined through the lenses of equity, peace and security. In other words, attainment of the Goals must happen by putting the poor and marginalized first, and by promoting peace and human security as the top priority. 2. Review of Nepal’s Efforts to achieve MDGs The government has taken a number of initiatives to achieve MDGs. For monitoring and reporting of MDG outcomes, the country’s first MDGs Progress Report was published in 2002 through collaborative efforts by the His Majesty’s Government of Nepal and the UN. The Report sets the baselines and numerical targets, assesses Nepal’s achievements over the last decade, identifies challenges and priorities for development assistance, and points out areas for improvement in monitoring and evaluation. It concludes that all


The HMG/N is committed to achieving the MDGs by putting the right policies in place. 3. as well as challenges in ensuring the quality of drinking water. details of which are outlined below. and pursuing aggressively the required policy and institutional reforms. These strong positive developments are however undermined by an intensified situation of armed conflict. U5 Child Mortality Rate. which is thought to be “probably reachable” by 2015. One of the features of PRSP is reorientation of policies and programmes towards achieving MDGs. The Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) /Tenth Plan has come in implementation. making the supportive environment for attaining MDGs highly vulnerable and risky. A number of policy initiatives have been taken since 2002 to promote an enabling environment for achieving MDGs. however. Some MDG target localization efforts are also made through linking MDG targets with intermediate indicators of PRSP. the economic growth rate must accelerate its pace significantly compared with the past achievement. For instance. should be prepared within the framework of longer-term plans to achieve the MDGs. and thus needs to be fully aligned with the MDGs and backed up by resources. and an expenditure prioritisation framework is in place. New initiatives in education and health sectors have been taken up (see pre consultation papers on education and health). In part. in turn. whereas the current status is estimated to be 38 per cent. The supportive environment is also assessed to be weak in most areas while improvements have been acknowledged. Some MDG targets like child mortality and universal primary education have. where they are in operation. In order to bring it down to 21 per cent. this stems from the recognition that the first generation of PRSPs did not address a range of development issues critical for 2 . The Poverty Reduction Strategy (PRS) should serve as a medium-term roadmap to get to the longer-term goals set out by the MDGs. poses difficulties associated with uneven distribution in terms of geography and disadvantaged groups. recommending that PRSPs. costing exercises are done in the areas of Universal Primary Education. For estimating financing requirements of MDGs. Even the drinking water target. the Target 1 on halving poverty aims to reduce the percentage of population below national poverty line from 42 per cent (based on the 1996 data) to 21 per cent in 2015. This. Maternal Mortality Rate. Social inclusion and governance reforms are progressing. improving efficiency and effectiveness of the interventions that contribute to reaching the Goals. requires a comprehensive development framework which puts each piece of the puzzle in the right place and identifies missing pieces as well. All development activities must be strategically geared towards attainment of the Goals. a stronger supportive environment than thought before in terms of meeting the 2015 goals.Goals are unlikely to be reached by 2015 except for the goals on child mortality and access to safe drinking water. Therefore the HMG/N proposes to develop a broad business plan. and Drinking Water. which calls for enhanced coordination and harmonization among development actors. MDG Need Assessment and Poverty Reduction Strategy Calls to strengthen MDG/PRSP linkages have come from many quarters.

it will also enhance efficiency in resource planning and management and bring about donor harmonization. To develop a transparent “open source” approach to MDG planning that countries and organizations can use and adapt for their own long-term planning towards achieving the MDGs. Donors will have to finance the remaining costs that cannot be covered through domestic resource mobilization alone. Weak and/or absent linkages between the MDGs and PRSP have also been noted by several developing countries. To outline a financing strategy for achieving the MDGs in a particular country. Draft Working Paper. The methodology assumes that domestic resource mobilization will increase significantly.poverty reduction and the achievement of the MDGs (such as food security. and HIV/AIDS). developing countries are looking for ways to “operationalize” the MDGs in the context of the PRSP. and financial resources required to support a scale-up of interventions through to 2015. An MDG Needs Assessment has the following objectives • To identify a set of integrated interventions that will enable a country to meet the MDGs over the medium to long-term horizon through to 2015. human. HMG/N has initiated preparation of a broad action plan to integrate the MDGs with the PRSP. Given the urgency to harmonize and align donor policies. • • • 3 . Nor can harnessing water resources be planned independently of the agricultural sector. “MDG Needs Assessments”. Achieving the Goals in any country will require simultaneous investments and progress across all areas. January 2004). To adopt a long-term approach in order to identify the necessary infrastructure. Such a plan would provide a roadmap for development. This action plan will set sectoral targets and link such targets to policy actions and resource allocations. For example. universal primary education and gender equality in schools cannot be achieved without addressing issues of access to water and sanitation and corresponding impacts on young girls. One approach to cohering and strengthening links between the MDGs and the Tenth Plan/PRSP is provided by the MDG Needs Assessment methodology (see Millennium Project. including an assessment of resources that can be mobilized domestically by governments and households. gender equality. employment generation. instruments and resources with national planning processes and priorities. which links closely to the MDGs for hunger and the environment. The government proposes to use this plan as its strategy to reduce poverty and promote human development. and to think through how these resources (and absorptive capacity) can be built up over time.

the MDG target is significantly less ambitious than the PRSP one. Clearly. with respect to Goal One. and in campaigns for increased access to safe water and iodised salt. For instance. This trajectory can then form the basis for making the PRSP and Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) consistent with achieving the Goals. non-challenging targets are unlikely to mobilize resources. pro-poor policy content and prioritisation. the MDG target is to reduce income poverty to 21 per cent by 2015. MDG targets need to be localized in terms of setting national targets. In what follows. a balance between ambition and realism is needed: overly ambitious targets are unlikely to trigger action.Such a Needs Assessment can guide the formulation of national planning documents including the PRSP. A review of the Tenth Plan/PRSP for Nepal (2002-07) indicates that links between the MDGs and PRSP need to be particularly strengthened in three areas: target setting for poverty reduction. for instance in combating small pox and polio. this paper examines how the Needs Assessment Approach can strengthen linkages between the MDGs and the Tenth Plan/PRSP in each of these three areas. MDGs are minimum goals with their targets set globally and PRSP can set targets beyond that. Linking MDG Targets with Tenth Plan/PRSP Targets Time-bound target setting is important for the national planning process. when setting targets. Indeed. data differences by sources. However. This is one task which could not be done during the preparation of PRSP. malaria control and HIV/AIDS. Nepal’s Tenth Plan/PRSP sets a target for the reduction of absolute income poverty from 38 per cent in 2002 to 30 per cent by 2007 and to 10 per cent by 2017. as some of the targets could go beyond the minimum targets globally set. and resource requirements for meeting poverty reduction targets. 4. setting targets has made a difference in the past. This is a realized fact and improvements have to be made in the PRS process over years in terms of setting time bound targets and linking inputs and processes with the expected outcomes. longer-term MDG targets are not necessarily the same with the medium term poverty targets presented in the Tenth Plan/PRSP for a number of reasons. comparing the MDG and PRSP targets for Nepal one can argue that several MDG targets are not fully reflected in the PRSP--one example being that the PRSP does not contain a time bound target for reduction on hunger or for girl enrolment in primary education or for TB. Based on a long-term needs assessment. First. Further. One more difficulty in aligning MDG with PRSP targets has to do with data paucity. and as some of the targets might need modification as per country condition. the approach adopted by evidence based planning efforts requires that policies and resources be linked to achievement of specific targets. countries can identify the trajectory they now need to follow in order to meet the Goals. Third. Second. Indeed. and lack of data at a fairly 4 . However.

Establish consistency between the long-term MDGs and the medium term PRSP targets. such an approach can: • • • • Allow the Tenth Plan/PRSP to incorporate a more comprehensive set of poverty reduction targets. Further. unlike many other UN declarations. and most targets are monitorable. Although PRSP might not be to be a perfect strategy of poverty reduction. the Plan provisions for improved irrigation facilities. realistic and feasible. Since the MDG Needs Assessment is concerned with setting targets (in the medium and long term) for all of the Goals. then it is important that the policy content and policy priorities in the PRSP are consistent with ones needed to achieve the MDGs. It is not sufficient that the indicators for the poor improve for the policy framework to be called pro-poor. It is argued that the concept and also content of pro-poor policies are not sharply focussed. as PRSP is a dynamic process. quantitative indicators have been developed. uninterrupted supplies 5 . Inadequate data results in setting of different benchmarks for the same targets and has implications for policy focus and resource requirements. and Assist in the formulation of a long-term framework of interventions needed to achieve these targets.disaggregated level. These obvious points are to be decoded into detailed reforms to make policies pro-poor in practice. if it favours the sectors where the poor work and if it occurs in areas where the poor live. In the mean time. Set targets that are country-specific. Cohering Policies needed for MDG Achievement with PRSP Policy Content If the Tenth Plan/PRSP is to be focused around the achievement of the MDGs. before being called pro-poor. is that the targets have been objectively set and they are time bound. if it uses the assets that the poor own. The Tenth Plan/PRSP of Nepal correctly stresses the primary role of agriculture as a key to broad based and pro-poor growth – since this is the sector in which the majority of the poor depend for job and earn livelihood. refocusing and raising sharpness in the pro-poor orientation of the programmes based on experiences and outcomes are equally important. 5. Several recent evaluations of the policy content of PRSPs have shown concerns on the pro-poor orientation of policies contained therein. Therefore. pro-poor policies imply that social and economic indicators for poor people improve more rapidly than those for the rest of society. if necessary. It is agreed that growth is pro-poor. they have to improve at a faster pace than for the non-poor because absolute poverty always has a relative dimension. it is none the less a widely received document by the development actors and partners. The strength of MDGs. the policy framework needs a thorough examination and reorientation. To increase agricultural production and productivity. Its application to PRSP would better ensure the time bound expected outcome from poverty reduction strategy and investments made in poverty reduction programmes.

the poor have benefited proportionately little from “average” progress. along geographical zones. or at least not any better. diversify and commercialise crop and livestock production by expanding the use of technology. Pro-poor macro policies would be critical in attaining equity in the process of promoting growth. ethnicity and geographic regions. not only that of better off and privileged people. This in turn implies that policies to reduce inequalities should receive as much attention as growth oriented policies. such as food-for-work programmes. or income-generating. It is well known that rural poverty is much more widespread (over 90% of the poor live in rural areas). Although emphasis on food availability is critical in Nepal. and higher resource allocations would help achieve a target growth rate of 4. Inequalities are along urban/rural lines. health and nutrition. In other words. it also inhibits economic growth. This is also because the aggregate performance indicators as set under MDGs might mask the differences or inequalities within gender. skilldevelopment programmes. policy actions would be needed to increase (a) food availability (b) food access and affordability (c) food quality. the poorest in 1984/85. Unfortunately. equity matters for the MDGs. The Tenth Plan/PRSP points to the extent of both structural and social inequalities in the country.of chemical fertilizer and expansion of rural credit. It appears that the Mid West and Fr West regions appear to have become worse-off. from a food security perspective. and increasing the access of farmers to modern agricultural inputs and credit. Indeed. along with rural roads. it would seem that pro-poor policies in agriculture would need to identify actions needed to reduce hunger and ensure food security. As noted earlier. Making progress on the MDGs does not necessarily imply that the poor have made strides or benefited from such progress. High inequality is not only harmful for the poor. From an MDG perspective. also remained the poorest in 1995/96. along ethnic and gender lines. policies to address equity concerns focus essentially on increasing access of the poor to social services (through effective decentralization) and through inclusion in targeted programmes.1 per cent in agriculture. Equity in terms of access to opportunities and basic social services is central to poverty reduction. growth strategies for agriculture are to modernize. Although the Tenth Plan/PRSP takes note of the degree of inequality in the country. The MDGs are primarily meant to help improve the situation of poor people. the Tenth Plan/PRSP has to pay more attention to food access and to food quality issues also. caste. Data also indicates that the distribution of income appears to have become more unequal everywhere between 1984/85 and 1995/96. HDI indicators also show significant urban/rural and geographical variations in human poverty that duplicate the income poverty differentials noted above. pro-poor policies imply that indicators for the poor improve faster than for the rest of the population. These areas. In short. as evidenced by widening disparities in terms of education. In fact. 6 .

Policy priorities in PRS process need to overcome the syndromes of structural adjustment. In essence: • PRSP policy orientation. human development initiatives. Their orientation and content have to be adjusted in the spirit of attaining MDG. MDGs. 7 . If the commitment to the MDGs is genuine. depth and rising incidence of inequalities in the country. Such macro level policies of (re) distribution yet need to be addressed by the Tenth Plan/PRSP.Although no one disputes the relevance of either enhancing social service delivery or the need for safety-nets and social provisioning for vulnerable groups and communities. what is to be questioned is whether such interventions are sufficient to overcome the severity. as policy priorities of MDGs may be altogether different. and poverty reduction strategies are reinforcing to each other and this implied that the policies and programmes of the Tenth Plan/PRSP are consistent with those needed achieving the MDGs. This holds true especially for pro-poor growth and macroeconomic policies. From the MDG perspective. Cohering MDG Financing with Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) Resources and Priorities However well-intentioned and pro-poor the policy framework is. Further. targeted programmes as contained in the Poverty Alleviation Fund (PAF) cannot be effective substitutes for macro level distribution policies that address the issue both of asset distribution and of employment policies conducive to poverty reduction. It should be noted though that the policy content and priorities can really only be determined within the context of a detailed national planning process. Such an assessment can also help to identify a pro-poor policy framework. This is because many different policies can conceivably deliver on a specific intervention and the policy choices and accompanying trade-offs can only be decided by national stakeholders. Future refinements and improvements in PRS have to take care of this reality. its outcome will depend on how the Tenth Plan/PRSP policies are implemented and on whether there are sufficient resources available for implementing such a policy framework. then the objective of reducing human poverty must drive the policy framework. content and priorities have to be made more focused from the MDG perspective. by-passing the poor will stymie progress with respect to the Goals. In short. Distribution policies and equity concerns are to be emphasized in the PRS along with addressing them in terms of micro-level. • • The MDG Needs Assessment can help in identifying actions and interventions needed to reach the Goals by bringing to the table a more comprehensive set of poverty reduction targets. targeted interventions. 6.

5 per cent in 2003/04). Key projects.In Nepal. Agriculture and Irrigation have received low budgetary allocation mainly because of capacity and resource constraints including the donor support. health. the volume of resources available will be insufficient to meet the Tenth Plan/PRSP targets and additional resources are to be mobilized (see PRSP paper presented in the NDF pre-consultation). A fundamental difference between the MTEF and the investment plans associated with a MDG Needs Assessment is that the latter do not assume the same set of macroeconomic constraints that underlie the MTEF. government revenues and development assistance. However. Further. and given a priority in terms of budget allocations in the annual budget In fact. Clearly. 8 . to allocate such resource to sectors identified as (poverty reducing) priority sectors and to ensure that poverty reduction priority activities within these sectors are protected in case of resource shortfalls. The MTEF highlights a set of macroeconomic constraints (domestic borrowing. in order to implement the Tenth Plan/PRSP. to estimate the financing gap between domestic and external resources and MDG financing needs. The MTEF is concerned mainly with resource allocation in the medium run (for priority areas defined in the PRSP). education and electricity where some acceptable or standard basis of costing needs to be developed and applied. the function of the MTEF is precisely to estimate government resources over the medium term. programmes and activities considered essential for achieving the Tenth Plan poverty reduction goals and their resource requirements for the next three years have been identified. The second MTEF indicates that the share of key poverty reducing sectors of the total budget is fairly significant (71. the Needs Assessment also develops a financing strategy for the MDGs that examines three sources of financing: household contributions. Education. The MTEF is based on a series of macroeconomic assumptions/constraints that influence and help determine the extent of government revenues available in the medium term. For instance. costed. fiscal deficit) that in turn determine government revenues. Improvements are required especially in the major sectors such as agriculture. Roads and Electricity Development have the largest budget shares. it is well-known that unit costs can and do vary significantly for similar activities between rural and urban areas and between regions. Preparation of the MTEF in Nepal has highlighted two concerns: need for improvement in unit cost estimates and need for better criteria for prioritising projects. The primary purpose of the MDG Needs Assessment in this context is to estimate the total resource requirements needed for the MDGs. the information currently available within most sectors are not robust. Health. the proportion of expenditure allotted to priority activities (Table 1). The MTEF also shows how medium term government resources are being allocated to priority sectors and within these sectors. a Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) has been developed.

A Needs Assessment can help to formulate and improve the MTEF by: • Developing better measures of unit costs.Table 1 Share of Prioritised Expenditure in Key Poverty reduction Sectors (%) dgeted recast recast 3/04 4/05 5/06 Key PR Sectors Agriculture and Co-operative Sector share of total budget 9 1 4 80 07 31 P1 % of total sector budget Irrigation Sector share of total budget 5 6 7 68 07 57 P1 % of total sector budget Forest and Soil Conservation Sector share of total budget 9 9 1 00 07 44 P1 % of total sector budget Roads Sector share of total budget 6 9 2 71 36 29 P1 % of total sector budget Electricity Development** Sector share of total budget 6 4 6 1 5 6 P1 % of total sector budget Education Sector share of total budget 27 67 35 76 56 05 P1 % of total sector budget Health Sector share of total budget 2 9 3 80 52 13 P1 % of total sector budget Drinking Water Sector share of total budget 5 7 6 P1 % of total sector budget 90 96 94 Local Development Sector share of total budget 5 8 5 P1 % of total sector budget 20 43 17 Totals Key PR Sectors % Share of Total Budget 55 71 91 P1 % of Key PR Sector Budgets 49 85 57 ** Electricity Development does not include electrical authority budget allocation in 2004/5 and 2005/6 From the MDG perspective. it could be argued that the value of a Needs Assessment lies precisely in the fact that it allows a country to draw up a long-term investment plan and develop a financing strategy that is multi-pronged. a long-term strategy is also useful to identify long-term development assistance. Further. 9 . Thus. it is an effective mechanism for aligning targets and plans with resources. progress with respect to the MDGs will be seriously undermined. since without this.

Note: This resource gap estimation is based on an estimated GDP growth rate of 6.230 26. and Developing a financing strategy for meeting the MDGs.737 44. ++ Total external resource requirement.• • • Identifying macroeconomic constraints that can be relaxed so as to increase government revenue.392 50. it should be emphasized that recent reviews on such costing exercises are converging on the view that long and even medium term costs are subject to a great deal of uncertainty.750 37.524 20. in million) 2003 2004 2005 2010 2013 2015 Resource Available for MDGs 12. The resource gap is as high as double the available resources in MDG programmes so far.111 12.443 11. plans and resources cohere with medium term policy priorities and budget allocations.756 Source: NPC/UNDP (2003) 25. Although costing long-term investment priorities (MDG Needs Assessment) and medium term priorities (MTEF) is critical from a development planning perspective and as a way of promoting evidence based policy making.073 Resource Gap+ 10. There has been an attempt to estimate costing in some of the critical areas of MDGs. the resource short fall will go up because of revenue shortfall. The preliminary estimates reveal a significant resource gap in achieving the MDGs by 2015 (Table 2). Table 2: Resource Gap for Selected MDG Sectors (Rs. Since the MTEF is the indicative medium term budget of the PRSP. basic health care (reducing under 5 Child Mortality Rate and Maternal Mortality Rate).178 13. MDG targets are unlikely to be met.330 + incorporating the existing trend of foreign aid being received in the MDG area.513 14.2 per cent leading to domestic revenue forecast on the same basis. interventions (plans) need to be revisited periodically – precisely to ensure that the long-term poverty reduction targets.166 18.836 13. it cannot be known in advance with any degree of certainty and precision how much the MDGs will cost.255 19. inter sectoral and intra sectoral budget restructuring.261 20. This calls for additional efforts to mobilize additional domestic revenue.248 29. and drinking water. 10 .801 15.545 Total Resource Gap++ 12. it might fall short of the investment requirement and allocative priorities consistent with the achievement of the MDGs.622 24.659 24. This would particularly be the case when policy priorities in the PRSP diverge from those interventions crucial for MDG achievement. Should the GDP growth rate be lower. and mobilization of additional foreign assistance. In short. Identifying investments needed in infrastructure (such as energy requirements) because without these investments. This means that cost estimates and associated policies.527 Resource Requirements for MDGs 22.625 26. The selected areas include primary education.227 16.

Such 11 .7. the MDGs and resource requirements. and their implementation without participation of the non government organizations and the civil society run the risk of being supply driven programmes. Disaggregation of MDGS targets and performance indicators by gender. the main intent of a MDG Needs Assessment is to enhance the synergy between the MDGs and national planning and budgeting instruments like the PRSP and MTEF. based on the principle of adaptability and learning. The periodic consultations between a developing country and its external partners such as during the National Development Forum provides an opportunity for substantive discussions about the main elements of the national strategy for poverty reduction. Strengthening and streamlining management information system along with household and facility survey system. Awareness and capacity building Engendering MDGs. the government and external partners should consider a more flexible approach. feedback. and monitoring. Localization –national. Implications for External Donors The MDG Needs Assessment is important and should be pursued. Ways Forward Internationally. and by social groups. and reprioritization of policies and programmes as a learning cycle Fostering regional and global advocacy for materializing the commitments of the developed world in creating a supportive environment for attaining MDGs. and with incorporating MDGs in district level periodic plans. given the complexities associated with estimating resource requirements for MDG and Tenth Plan targets. Dissemination. the following agenda lie before the government: • • • • • • • • • • Developing a business plan of PRSP with a view to further streamline MDGs into the PRS process. to review the poverty reduction strategy. At the country level. as indicated in the earlier section. As noted earlier. there is a perception that MDGs are government agenda. programmes and financing plans and to assess on the basis of such a review how the MDGs and Tenth Plan targets can best be financed and the role of external partners (technical and financial) in this regard. In this context.including the civil society. there is a perception that MDGs are UN agenda and are not necessarily getting adequate support from agencies other than the UN system. However. Building strong partnership with different actors . program implementation. Increasing local resource mobilization. 8.for coordinated channelling of resources. by geographical area. This perception is changing over time with donors and particularly the IMF and World bank also gradually owning this agenda. This process can be facilitated by external partners.

programmes and financing plans. Policy reorientation and partnership towards achieving MDGs would be the best way to addressing both income and human poverty and thus promoting human development. the Peer and Partner Review could be an important mechanism to help address the need for investments and resource mobilization (domestic and external) needed for human development. In this sense. By building on the NDF and Tenth Plan/PRSP process. The country assistance strategies of the development partners need to focused to addressing the challenges for attaining the MDGs. Support for international and national non-government organizations should also be focused towards the same goal. estimation of resources for the achievement of the MDGs would not be regarded in an isolated fashion from other factors that impede or foster poverty reduction and human development. the Peer and Partner Review mechanism would seek to enhance the debate about aligning development strategies. aid flows and financing plans for the MDGs. 12 . In short. but rather as time-bound goals inter-related to a host of other societal factors relevant for poverty reduction.periodic reviews – called the Peer and Partner Review – would involve a few peer countries and a more select group of partners to review the anti-poverty strategy.

2004) His Majesty's Government National Planning Commission Singh Durbar 13 .Part – II Draft Empowerment for Poverty Reduction and Human Development (Prepared for Presentation during Pre-consultation Meeting of Nepal Development Forum.

the human empowerment index has been constructed for the first time by bringing together social. Past efforts have remained largely unsuccessful to attain equitable and inclusive development because they have been exclusionary. which is defined as ‘creating an environment in which people can develop their full potential and lead productive. economic and political dimensions of empowerment from a holistic perspective. and the concerns of the poor can be addressed through empowerment that provides equal opportunities to all. The outbreak of armed violence has exacerbated these problems and the country has moved into deeper crisis. There is strong association between good governance and empowerment. particularly in the last decade. economic and political capabilities. creed or religion. Development outcomes have been inequitable as reflected in gender. compounding the failures at the institutional and implementation level. the level of human development in Nepal remains among the lowest in the world. This stems basically from inequity and inequality in the distribution of opportunities and resources. productivity and sustainability. and the efficient use of public resources. It is an effective tool for reducing poverty and promoting human development as it creates the necessary conditions that enable the poor to take advantage of poverty reducing opportunities by strengthening their socio-cultural. A large section of the people continue to remain outside mainstream development. The country is yet to attain success to promote equity and equality. economic and political forces to act individually as well as collectively to make choices about the way they want to be and do things in their best interest to improve their life situation. prepared jointly by the National Planning Commission and UNDP. Empowerment builds people’s capacity to gain understanding and control over personal. social and economic empowerment simultaneously.’ Empowerment is one of the four pillars of human development. 14 . Empowerment is the process of transforming existing power relations and of gaining greater control over the sources of power. caste. social. regardless of sex. People’s needs have remained unfulfilled. institutions have become extremely weak and policies have not been propoor. caste. Poverty has remained intractable and employment opportunities have become scarce. creative lives in accord with their needs and interests to be able to participate in the life of the community. Empowerment becomes sustainable only in an environment where policies and institutional reforms are complemented by grassroot initiatives to address political. There have been improvements in education health and other social services. participation and ownership. which effectively addresses the other three – equity. especially by disadvantaged groups and communities. ethnic and geographic disparities. and ensures equitable access to and control over resources and decision-making processes at different levels.Empowerment for Poverty Reduction and Human Development• 1 Introduction Nepal has made some progress in human development over the years. • This paper draws heavily from the upcoming Nepal Human Development Report 2004. However. The governance system has remained non-functional. To operationalize this approach and help policy-makers to address policy prioritization and resource allocation issues more efficiently and deal with the issues of equity and exclusion more effectively. transparency and accountability. This definition captures the spirit of human development. unprecedented in the history of modern Nepal. all of which are essential to promote good governance.

Dailekh. Siraha. Kathmandu No. Chitwan.2 State of Human Development and Empowerment 2. Jhapa. Kanchanpur. Saptari.382) followed by the Tarai (0. Banke. Pyuthan. Parsa. Dadeldhura. Doti. Rukum. Palpa. Bajura. Kapilbastu. Nawalparasi. Sarlahi.549 HDI value 0.4. Along with low HDI. Lamjung. Tehrathum. Mahottari. Bajhang. Bardiya. Baitadi. Humla. There exists considerable inter-region and inter-district disparity in HDI (Table 1). Darchula. Mustang. 2004 As with HDI. Baglung. of districts 20 HDI score 0.0. the HDI is estimated to be 0. Manang. The Gender Empowerment Measure GEM) (0. Taplejung. Achham. Nepal faces the challenge of significant disparity in the level of human development within and across regions and districts.3). Sindhuli Bara.2 Human Empowerment Index 15 . Table 1 Classification of Districts by Human Development Status Range of HDI Value HDI value less than 0.457) and the Hills (0. Rolpa. Dhading.4 Name of districts in ascending order of HDI Mugu. Arghakhanchi.439) where the majority of the people reside. Sindhupalchok.391) reveals that women are much less empowered than men in political.1 Human Development Indices Using the 2001 census and other data sources. The gap is even wider in participation in professional and administrative jobs. Rautahat. NPC/UNDP. It is heavily concentrated in the far-western development region with the highest in the Mid-western Mountain. Okhaldhunga. Women’s participation in the political process is only one fifth of that of men. Makwanpur. there exist considerable disparity in Gender-related Development Index between rural and urban areas and within and across regions. Sunsari. Bhojpur. Jumla. Kabhepalanchok. Nuwakot. Gulmi. Surkhet. The human poverty in rural areas (45. economic and professional domains. Sankhuwasabha. The HDI is lowest in the mountains (0.0. 2. Kalikot.492). Ramechhap.3) is significantly higher than in the urban areas (25.450. Rasuwa.449 21 HDI score 0. Solukhumbu. Dang. Morang.4 in HDI are from the Mid-Western and Far Western Regions and no districts from Eastern and Western Development Regions fall in this category. Dhanusha. Parbat. Jajarkot. Khotang. Kaski. Bhaktapur. Panchthar. Dolpa. Likewise the far-western and mid-western development regions lag far behind the other development regions.581) surpasses the rural area (0.461. Tanahu. Udayapur.550 & over Total 9 4 75 Source: Nepal Human Development Report (draft). Salyan. Syangja Lalitpur.5-0.499 21 HDI value 0. Most of the districts falling below 0. Ilam. Gorkha. Dhankuta. Myagdi Rupandehi. The HDI in the urban areas (0. Dolkha. The incidence of human poverty is more pronounced in the mountains followed by the Tarai and Hills. Kailali.

Sindhuli. The higher political empowerment is a clear manifestation of rising expectations of the people. Such a large mismatch can be taken as a source of disenchantment among people leading to conflict in various forms. Among the three dimensions. While the high political empowerment reflects the rising expectation of people in these regions. The low level of economic empowerment level reflects the low level of income.599 0. Dolakha.6-0. Bajura. Jajarkot.The Human Empowerment Index (HEI) is estimated at 0. Terathum. Darchula. Dailekh.3-0. Makawanpur.499 Name of districts in ascending order of HEI Rolpa. Mahottari.3 0.4 in HDI are above this level in terms of HEI while others like Myagdi.395) lag behind other development regions in all dimensions of human empowerment. Solukhumbu.646) with social empowerment (0. Bhaktapur.370) is just 60 percent of that in urban areas (0. Baitadi. Bajhang. Kanchanpur. Dadeldhura.4 in terms of HEI. Maygdi. The level of human empowerment decreases as we move from the south (Tarai) to the north (mountains). Urban areas surpass rural areas in terms of all the three dimensions of empowerment.3) fall in these regions (Table 2). The HEI of the Tarai is about 32 percent higher than that of the mountains. Humla. and Taplejung which are above 0. Rupandehi. Rautahat Baglung. Kailali. and lack of gainful employment opportunities. It has amongst the lowest level of economic empowerment. Bhojpur. Social empowerment in rural area (0.389) and the Far-Western Development region (0. Syangja. of districts 10 16 30 Medium (0. From empowerment perspectives. Bardiya. Kaski. The existing mismatch between socio-economic and political empowerment also clearly indicates the need for more balanced intervention in all three fronts for sustainable empowerment and poverty reduction. Parbat. Dang. The mountain region lags behind other regions in all the dimensions of empowerment. Kalikot. Lalitpur.612).699 Total 14 5 75 Source: Nepal Human Development Report (draft). Nawalparasi. Mustang.459. economic empowerment (0.45 in terms of HDI are below 0. Dhading. and Sarlahi which are below 0. As such. Table 2 Classification of Districts by Human Empowerment Status Range of HEI Value < 0. Lamjung. Mahotari. Sarlahi. Gulmi. The current level of both economic and social empowerment remains fairly low to effectively address the overarching goal of poverty reduction on a sustained basis. Achham. Chitwan Morang. Jumla. Taplejung.5) 0. Dhankuta. . Rasuwa. Sindhupalchok.7) 0.5-0. limited access to productive assets.Nuwakot. Illam. Bhojpur. Manang. 2004 Again the Mid and Far Western mountains are typical regions showing the largest mismatch between the three components of empowerment. Dolpa. Siraha. Banke. indicating a low level of empowerment. Mugu. NPC/UNDP. the 10 districts having the lowest HEI (less than 0. Surkhet. Argakhachi. Udayapur. the Mid-Western development region (0. Pyuthan.Gorkha. Bara. Palpa. Okhaldhunga. Tanahu. As there exists considerable disparity in HEI across districts. Kavre. Kathmandu No.5<HEI<0. Sunsari. Lack of these opportunities severely limits the scope for utilizing expanded human and social capabilities. 16 . Per capita income level (PPP$) in rural areas is almost half the level in urban areas. Doti.337) is the lowest and political empowerment the highest (0. Salyan. Saptari Parsa . Pachthar. Khotang. Kapilbastu. the low level of social and economic empowerment reflects that people have been denied access to expand and utilize their capabilities in the absence of opportunities. Ramechhap. there also exists a significant differences between HDI and HEI among districts. Dhanusa.4-0. The Mid-Western hills and Far Western Tarai illustrate the typical case of multiple disempowerment where people experience very low status in all three dimensions of empowerment.399 Low (Below 0. Jhapa. Some of the districts like Rasuwa. Rukum.395) in between. Sankhuwasabha.

2 Economic Empowerment Macroeconomic policy promoting pro-poor growth empowers the poor by expanding their share in the increased wealth and income. have been abolished. 3. Immediately after the introduction of the Agricultural Perspective Plan. The impact on economic empowerment and poverty depends on the magnitude and quality of growth. But the gaps between expectations and outcomes widened as policies fell behind to generate high quality growth and ensure equitable income distribution and opportunities and as institutions failed to deliver on the commitments. The level of development expenditure has declined sharply in recent years particularly so in the agriculture sector. Macroeconomic policies have undergone drastic changes from inward to outward orientation to promote high quality growth and reduce poverty. the disadvantaged might remain deprived of these services.1 Social Empowerment Nepali society is quite diverse and discriminatory both socially and culturally. Good economic policies. participatory democratic systems. 3. The education and health services are mostly centrally managed with little participation of the local communities in policy decisions. disadvantaged indigenous community and Dalits in both education and health have remained limited due to both supply side (limited physical access and poor quality) and demand side barriers (high perceived cost in relation to foregone benefits). except limited food subsidies to the remote areas. the existing policy and institutional barriers to empowerment are discussed. Heavy concentration of industrial and trading activities with very low backward linkages have severely limited pro-poor growth. 17 . foreign exchange. All subsidies. supply response in the agriculture sector has been poor and the terms of trade has been deteriorating in the recent years. The industrial. trade. In the following sections. and monitoring. financial and fiscal sectors have been highly liberalized. economic and political empowerment are shaped and influenced by policies and institutions evolved overtime along with changes in power and social relations. In the absence of universal and compulsory primary education and health care. which is yet to surface to make any dent on poverty. the input and output markets in agriculture were deregulated. operations. Any policy and institutional reforms has to be inclusive to ensure that none are left out. Despite many new policy pronouncements and initiatives in the social sector. Access to quality inputs and services and outreach of poor farmers to institutional credit has declined. The new democratic constitution of 1990 followed by the commitments of the main political parties were instrumental in raising aspirations of the people and enhancing political empowerment. access to social and physical infrastructure as well as to legal services augment the empowerment process by building and strengthening of human capabilities and organizational strengths to influence decision-making processes at different levels. monetary. access of women.3 Policy and Institutional Barriers to Empowerment Socio-cultural. Despite deregulation in the input output prices.

And this has resulted in weak link between employment. human rights and empowering people. and efficient judicial system is a prerequisite for strengthening democracy. two-thirds of the new entrants in the labor market are unlikely to be absorbed in the labor force. under the existing levels of employment elasticity and sector composition of growth. which is low paid and low skilled where no social security system is in place. As lack of employment opportunities inhibits the process of empowerment. a behavioral and perceptional change is needed along with institution building and enforcement of punitive measures to achieve visible outcome in this front. Employment elasticity of growth has remained low. 18 . inclusion. But as corruption is deep rooted in all spectrums of social. But no major reforms were undertaken in the judicial system even after the restoration of democracy. Including agriculture. communication and electricity. and an effective and accountable mechanism for handling grievance does not exist. and social justice. Despite expansion in infrastructure services like transport. delayed policy responses and triggered distributional conflicts. accountability and good governance are strengthened. At times. and sector composition of growth. transparency. However. the share of the informal sector in employment is as high as 94 percent. Employment opportunity is largely confined to the informal sector. due to weak backward linkages and concentration in few products based on imported raw materials. An autonomous. institutions could not be developed and made effective in the spirit of the Constitution. The rate of decline in the share of agricultural employment is much slower than the rate of decline in agriculture’s contribution to the GDP. Such weak institutions have magnified external shocks. growth. institutions are very weak because of preexisting power relations and structures. which are required for improving growth and reducing poverty. The share of agriculture in total output has declined with nearly half of the fall in relative share compensated by increase in the value added particularly in the services sector. The parliament was often marred by the absence of democratic proceedings and practices and consensus was often undermined in the process of majority decision. The new anti-corruption act has given more power to the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA). indicating that agricultural productivity has declined over the years.Although these policy initiatives have brought about a major structural shift in outputs. the benefits have been primarily limited to the urban business community. effective. In Nepal. both the coverage of these services and the affordability among the poor have remained very low. the rule of law. economic and political life. Service providers are still non-responsive and discriminatory practices continue unabated. Only in a democratic environment. Policy reforms and new initiatives taken along the line of PRSP have yet to show visible impact in promoting broad-based economic growth and reducing poverty. there has not been any commensurate transformation in employment. Under the existing levels of employment elasticity. Transparency in government decisions is yet to be established. which is largely unorganized and self-employed in nature. The parliament could not visualize the urgency of promulgating legislations which could promote human rights. the parliament was bypassed in major policy decisions of national importance. economic growth. The composition of exports also reflects the shift in the economic structure with manufacturing exports replacing exports of primary products. a critical development challenge is the creation of new jobs opportunities and promotion of decent work. Despite the Constitution provisioning of various institutions for better functioning of the democratic system. which determine the behavior of the institutions.3 Political Empowerment Democracy and freedom are the two main pillars of political empowerment. and empowerment of the poor. 3.

Maoists took advantage of the situation to expand their network and escalate violence. The orthodox parliamentary practices adopted in Nepal after 1990 overlooked the exclusionary social structure of our society. and thus enforcement continues to be weak. continued socio-political marginalization of the deprived sections perpetuated at a time when political awareness among the disadvantaged was increasing. The LSGA contradicts with about two dozen other Acts which is yet to be addressed. Local governments lack the legal power to coordinate and supervise all the local level programs. but are generally lacking in the political parties. Without political reconciliation to achieve peace and the elected government at the central and local levels. cultural. it will be 19 . Inability to democratize the security apparatus also slowed the process of transforming power relations. gender and regional. the declared mid-term election had to be postponed. ethnicity.4 Institutional Failure and Violent Conflict Institutional failure can be attributed mainly to the lack of accountability at all levels of government. 3.There is no doubt that multi-party democratic political process is best placed among the viable alternatives for empowering people. Rising unemployment and poverty created frustration among the youth and deprived classes. The deterioration in the functioning of the democratic governments was used by Maoists to intensify their violent conflict. non-existent leadership transfers policy and exclusiveness in the organization has blocked changes in political power and social relations. Political instability characterized by inner-party struggle. Various legal and other initiatives were taken to strengthen democratic process at the local level. Such diverging trends gradually started fuelling social contradictions in the existing discriminatory society. linguistic and religious forms of discrimination provided fertile ground to escalate the conflict. But they lack adequate authority. nor the current absence of elected representatives at the local bodies enables this process. Some initiatives to form watchdog and protection bodies are taken with the creation of National Human Rights. Deep rooted social cleavages in terms of caste. There has not been serious attempt to implement fiscal decentralization. A dominant hierarchical party leadership structure. The top down development paradigm overwhelmed with narrow based growth policies widened income inequalities and sharpened distributional conflict. Despite high voter turnout. There are no institutional provisions to ensure the representation of the socially excluded in local governance. Unfulfilled commitments together with problems in inter-party and intra party co-ordination further weakened the democratic system. Indigenous People and Women's Commissions. As a result. Dalit. split of political parties and hung parliament was inimical to address the rising social contradictions. But that also requires democratic practices within political parties. Revivalist elements also took advantages of the situation to weaken the democratic system. The Local Self-Governance Act (LSGA) enacted in 1999 provides certain authority to the local bodies to enhance decentralization process. a credible leadership transfers processes. These are critical for deepening democracy. There are no clear-cut modules for full-fledged participation of beneficiaries. the democratic process continues to exclude the representation of the disadvantaged socio-economic groups in Parliament and local bodies. As a result. inclusion policies and good governance.

The maternal mortality rate (MMR) of Nepali women is among the highest in the world. Dalit women are more disadvantaged.1 Women A patriarchal society is prevalent in most castes and ethnic groups. 4 The Disadvantaged Groups In Nepal. unpaid and low wage informal sector activities with few job opportunities in the formal sector. as well as to implement the platform for action. economic and political domains.9 million) in which Kamis are the largest group (30 per cent) and Halkhors (0. indigenous people and the Dalits. The empowerment levels of women are intricately linked with the gender division of labor. In spite of significant gains in female literacy. more women are engaged in informal sector jobs than men and are working at the lower skill level and at exploitative working condition. sexual harassment at work and exploitative and unsafe working conditions. The Tenth Plan has for the first time included gender and human rights as cross-cutting as well as sectoral issues. Four-fifths of women of childbearing age are anaemic. Participation of girls in school decreases as they get older with lower enrolment in secondary and higher education. Yet women continue to face discrimination in social. 4. They face discrimination in the labor market in the forms of discriminatory wage rates. but elected women members comprised of less than 6 per cent in the dissolved House of Representatives. Various programs have been implemented to promote gender equality. women lag far behind men in literacy and educational attainment. Most women workers are confined in self-employed. Even within the women’s group. About 73 per cent of economically active women are engaged in agriculture against 60 per cent for men. disadvantaged groups comprise of women. An increasing number of women candidates have stood for elections to the House of Representatives. Women occupy less than eight per cent of civil service positions.9 per cent of the total population (2. legal discrimination. The Country Code of 1963 prohibits all forms of discrimination against the Dalits. Caste division and practice of untouchability have been a social phenomenon as discriminatory practices against the Dalits continues unabated under the feudal political system for centuries. 4. Nepal has reaffirmed its commitments on the Beijing Declaration to work for equal rights and inherent human dignity of women.12 per cent) the smallest.2 Dalits The Dalits comprise 12. Women have limited access to and control over resources with only five per cent households reporting female ownership of land. People with disability and children also fall within the disadvantaged groups. nuclear and female-headed families and migration of male members. and enhance human and social capabilities. Outside agriculture also. who have consistently been left out of mainstream development throughout history. However the country’s traditional and cultural values and state laws are still discriminatory against women.difficult to enhance the capacity of the state to implement pro-poor policies and programs and to make institutions work for the people. But in practice untouchability still exists as a pervasive socio-cultural phenomenon preventing entry into temples and 20 . The Constitution provides non-discrimination and equality as fundamental rights. Conflict has further accentuated their misery as many women have either become widow or are compelled to bear the family responsibility amidst poverty and drudgery. Their roles and responsibilities are influenced by factors such as household composition (extended/joint. Their access to credit is limited because financial institutions do not lend without collateral.

Representation of indigenous people in the House of Representatives is 17 per cent. Limbu. The constitution unequivocally prohibiting castebased discrimination has created a popular basis for the emancipation of this community. The health and sanitary condition of some indigenous groups is very poor making them vulnerable to communicable diseases and other health hazard2. They have been excluded in the administrative and political structure of the country and mostly depend on wage labour for livelihood. The National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities Act. The educational attainment and health status of the Dalits is among the lowest in the country. For a holistic empowerment outcome. Darai.2 per cent of the total population. the most disempowered groups have to be rapidly integrated in mainstream development efforts. The Dalits also have little control over community resources because of their limited participation and weak power to influence decision-making. However. Santhal. Chepang. Bankariya. 4. as some ethnic groups have often voiced. and Kusunda are landless (CBS. the provisions have not been realized in practice because of the failure to introduce and enforce legislative instruments in the spirit of the Constitution. Hyolmo. Tharu households and 60 to 85 per cent households of 12 indigenous groups have no toilet facilities. A large proportion of indigenous population are wage laborers and some like Raute. Kusunda. and denying access to village water sources. even state policies have restricted the empowerment of this group. Rajbansi. Dalits have very limited access to socio-economic opportunities to improve their life situation. The 10th Plan has framed a broad range of policies and strategies relating to the development of indigenous peoples to improve their access to development opportunities. At times. Raute. there has not been much progress in addressing the problems of the Dalits. 2003). who continue to be discriminated in all spheres of life. Some positive initiatives like the National Committee for Development of Nationalities have been taken since 1991 to empower the indigenous peoples. Byasi. Yakkha. The indigenous community is quite heterogenous with some groups well off and highly empowered while others are extremely disempowered. More than 50 per cent of Santhal. Dura.4 1 2 Other Disadvantaged Group Thakali. The welfare of the Dalits attracted the attention of government and non-government organizations and donor agencies only after 1990. Chhantel. Gurung. Jhangad. The adult literacy rates of 13 indigenous group1 in 2001 was above the national average (53. 21 . There have been various initiatives since then to mainstream the Dalits in the national development process like the formation of the National Dalit Commission and the establishment of the Dalit NGO Federation with its regional offices to coordinate Dalit welfare activities at the regional level. ranging from 23 to 49 per cent. Jirel. Dhanuk. they have no access to other resources. They have very little access to and control over resources with about 15 per cent of the hill Dalits and 44 per cent of the Tarai Dalits without any land. 4. Rai and Magar Over 85 percent of Jhangad. Kishan. Hayu still depend on foraging and shifting cultivation with a few in pastoral occupation. Being landless. The process of cultural and monolingual homogenization after the unification of Nepal resulted in the loss of cultural diversity of the indigenous people. experiencing food insecurity. Kushbadiya.monasteries.3 Indigenous People Indigenous people comprise 37.3 per cent) with the other 30 indigenous groups below. Newar. while their share in state bureaucracy and judiciary is less than 3 per cent. 2002 has been enacted with the overall objective of building an equitable society through the upliftment of indigenous nationalities. Munda. Danuwar. Almost 80 per cent of the indigenous peoples are marginal cultivators (having <1 acre land) or small cultivators (having 1-2 acres land). Limited access to credit facilities for income generating activities and self-employment and inadequate state interventions have impeded the economic empowerment of the Dalits. In spite of these initiatives. There are indications of increasing landlessness among the Dalits. Ganagai.

The high level of awareness and expectations without complementary economic programmes supported by marketing linkages has led to disenchantment among the group member. work on diverse themes. The NGOs. Commercial sexual exploitation of children has become a critical issue in Nepali society. Resource back up is also necessary for the sustainability of the effort and resources invested in social mobilization. In the absence of effective outreach of the formal banking sector. from girls trafficking prevention to control of HIV/AIDS and drug abuse proliferation. Poverty has made children highly vulnerable and the conflict has exacerbated that vulnerability. sexual abuse. from poverty reduction to child welfare. health services. regional and national human rights instruments to protect children’s rights. households and communities. innumerable Nepali children are deprived of their fundamental rights.People with disability comprise of 1. good quality human resources and institutional building processes. Due to the lack of active political willingness. A majority of child labour is working in extremely difficult circumstances and is denied the right to protection.37 million) of the total population. there are about 5 thousand commercial sex workers in Kathmandu and more than 20 per cent of those are children under the age of 18. lack of awareness and information has resulted in the exclusion of the disabled. There is a growing consensus that the worst form of child labour should be abolished through a progressive elimination process. According to estimates. illiteracy. a major catalyzing force in social mobilization. trafficking. including the right to education. to seek solutions by mobilizing their own and outside resources. Despite Nepal’s commitments to several international. One expected risk inherent in SMCs is that they simply reproduce the power 22 . Every-year some one thousand to 1400 children under 16 are trafficked to different Indian cities for this purpose. most of the commitments made by the Government have not materialised in practice. The flow of micro-credit through the socially mobilized communities (SMCs) has filled the resource needs of the poor people. problems of exclusion persist. Various other policy and program initiatives have been undertaken but implementation has been poor. While social mobilization processes in Nepal are playing important socio-political roles through greater inter-ethnic and inter-communal interaction. Social mobilization has largely enhanced access of the poor and disadvantaged people to resources and opportunities.63 per cent (0. 5 Social Mobilization for Empowerment Social mobilization is a catalyzing process by which people living in a community are organized into groups to share and discuss problems. Even the family members tend to neglect their basic needs. That the formal banking system is still out of reach of most of the SMCs is a major impediment to income earning opportunities and empowerment as the link between the formal financial institutions and the informal SMCs is yet to be established. poverty. The changes of 1990 brought about a momentum in social mobilization. and engagement in conflict have put children at great risk. albeit at a modest level. Mobilizing the poorest of the poor and ensuring their access to financial resources through micro-credit institutions is still a major challenge. humiliation.6 million are engaged in different types of work for their own survival and family subsistence. SMCs serve as a source of financial anchoring to a large section of the population. The expectations raised by most social mobilization processes are quite high in relation to what could be achieved by SMCs in a short period of time. HMG has promulgated the Disabled Protection and Welfare Act 1982 but this has not been effectively implemented even after the rules made to implement the Act in 1994. and to become more active participants in the decision-making processes that affect their lives as individuals. Some 127 thousand are engaged in worst forms of child labour and about 2. This group faces discrimination in all communities and particularly in the rural areas. handicapped and disabled services to women and youth empowerment. Worst forms of child labour. Social stigma. Children are also reported to be inducted in the armed conflict by the Maoists in spite of the ban imposed by international conventions.

high caste groups. the horizontal and vertical linkages of SMCs and the formal institutions could generate a scenario where people's development aspirations get reflected both at the meso and national level. creates conflict and makes empowerment process unsustainable. 6 Key Messages and Reform Agenda for Dynamic Transformation The key messages emerging from the above analysis and the reform agenda include the followings: Radical. there is a real danger that SMCs are unlikely to be sustainable. with most SMCs dominated by middle income. The separation of power and accountability at all levels has to be ensured through constitutional means. they have provided a motherboard where various other focused vertical programs can be uploaded to provide service at low (or even zero) marginal cost. Reforms and democratization in State institutions. Commissions on human rights. There is little evidence of inbuilt targeted programs within holistic programs to address the problem of social exclusion and tension within the community. there is a necessity to preserve whatever components of SMCs can be sustained. women. deeper and faster social. causing the decline of both binding (relation within communities) and bridging (link between communities) social capital. 23 . are divided. From policy perspective. Although some donor supported social mobilization programmes by their design are thinly spread over many districts and are at best a partial solution due to its limited impact. economic and political transformation is a prerequisite for empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged people. which glued the society together. even at the low level. At full maturity. Evidence In the absence of well planned exit strategies such as maturity. That is why the disadvantaged group are often excluded in SMCs. Democratization of political institutions is absolutely essential for good governance and a fair representation system. While “proper” social mobilization efforts seem difficult to foster in the absence of peace. While some SMCs are targeted others are holistic. the main challenge is how to replicate and upscale the best practice models to ensure that the scale of intervention matches with the scale of the problem of SM outreach. have to be made through special constitutional provisions. Though some SMCs have become inactive due to the conflict. The horizontal and vertical growth of SMCs has not taken place fully to cover the entire country. The current conflict has not only eroded the social capital that existed in communities but has also severely disrupted community relationships. while minimizing the loss of innocent lives and property caught in the middle. legitimacy. The challenge remains for up scaling such vertical initiatives through effective partnerships at different levels. Evidence shows that targeted programs are often unsustainable leading to tensions within the community. economic and political empowerment. including constitutional organs and bureaucratic structures and the security apparatus. Wide disparities and exclusionary practices have to be corrected by making existing institutions inclusive and creating new ones for the consolidation of democracy and socio-economic transformation Mismatch between social. institutionalization of participatory impact monitoring and localization of MDGs .structures and relations of existing communities. Dalits and Indigenous people have to be made constitutional bodies with enforcement mechanisms institutionalized at the local level. the ongoing process of social mobilization in many districts has also helped to discourage people from joining the insurgency. Indigenous forms of social networks and institutions.

Unless entrenched socio-cultural. This can be applied as a more powerful tool to identify the areas of concentrated poverty for devising appropriate intervention and to monitor the outcome. particularly at the lower end of the development scale. 7 Implication for the donors As achieving social. poverty reduction. Broad-based social mobilization with strong resource back up and partnership with local government bodies can make the delivery of services of the local organizations more effective and empower the community. economic. 24 . Wide. Devolution of authority. and extension of external technical support. along with internal. though a qualitative matter. This calls for higher level of external resource mobilization. The marginalized and disadvantaged people are almost invariably the losers in the reform process unless adequate social protection system is in place.Empowerment. donors have to play a more supportive and coordinated role to ensure that the MDGs are achieved and need to harmonize their assistance within the framework of the MDGs and the PRSP. Empowerment programmes and activities need higher level of financing as well. Participatory policies and institutional reforms at the meso level are critical to establish macromicro linkages essential for broad-based growth. policies and institutions. and environmental goals and targets set under MDGs would strongly serve for empowerment and human development. Aid restructuring and reorientation might also be needed for ensuring better outcomes from donor supported porgrammes in terms of inclusive growth and social development. where poverty is concentrated. Unless the existing intra and inter-sectoral policy asymmetry are corrected to protect the vulnerable. along with technical support for capacity building. empowerment and human development. can be quantitatively measured or proximated. This provides policy signals as to what kind and scale of social. through the construction of an appropriate index. capacity building and accountability to the local bodies in adherence to the principle of local self-governance is the most effective instrument for consolidating the varied aspirations of the people for their empowerment. meaningful and active representation and participation in decision-making processes at different levels is required for deepening multi-party democracy and enhancing the wel-being of the poor and disadvantaged people. HEI is a more powerful index than the HDI. empowerment of the poor and disadvantaged cannot be realized. economic and political discriminations are addressed through the evolution and enforcement of specific laws. Equitable access to and control over resources at different levels is key to the creation of an enabling environment for empowerment and poverty reduction. it will lead to policy and institutional failures. like human development index. economic and political intervention are essential to reduce disparities at the local level.