Context, Challenges and Opportunities
Nepal is in the process of drafting a new constitution with expectations running high from diverse sections of society. The question of state restructuring is directly linked to these expectations. But there are other fundamental debates about social, political and economic rights that go beyond the structure of the state itself and even beyond the workings of democracy itself. These debates present an opportunity for ASD to promote dialogue on emerging concepts such as identity, federalism, local autonomy, gender rights, equal participation, political liberalism, citizen sovereignty, and social economic rights. The challenge is then to look much further than the present situation of flux and address the underlying theoretical and practical aspects of creating an inclusive, representative, participatory system of government that rejects institutionalized neglect and exclusion of the past as well as the present.
ASD believes that the best way to achieve this is by engaging in efforts to promote dialogue within Nepal on a variety of issues, including but not limited to the promotion of democratic values and institutions in Nepal. ASD will work to promote participation and access of different stakeholders in the constitutional process by linking diverse views and expertise to the process itself.
Civil society groups are also highly divided on the issues related to the peace process, including issues of violence, rule of law and fundamental principles of democracy and constitutionalism. These divisions present major challenges to open society and the principles of the ASD. However, the ASD believes that social dialogue is the best way to engage these diverse views. ASD can facilitate dialogue among a diverse array of civil society and social groups and initiate efforts in setting a democratic agenda. The ASD can facilitate the work of local groups and communities on creating sound public knowledge on these contentious issues. ASD believes that civil society alertness and proper understanding is important to know why and how societies become militarized and violent, and why rule of law is challenged. As a result of these investigations, civil society can design strategies to effectively plan around these themes.
Many international donors are working in peace building and conflict transformation areas. They bring lots of resources in terms of ideas, expertise and strategies. One of the concerns we hear in various discussions that the intervention that the international actors bring needs to be critically looked at. However the capacity of civil society groups and individuals to critically evaluate international programs, strategy and their usefulness is greatly lacking. ASD can enhance civil society’s capacity to understand international programs and make them more locally relevant.
Accountability of political and public institutions is a big challenge in Nepal, and affects the implementation of existing policies at the local level. In this context, ASD has been working with institutions and activists living in the districts, where the impacts of existing policies can be monitored and explored. In this respect, ASD can facilitate local organizations’ and activists’ work and help them engage with the policy reform process.
Themajor strategic areas for this intervention areconstitutional-legal transition, security & peace, rule of law and accountability of political institutions
ASD will support democratic actors, including constitutional/ legal experts, civil society groups, members of political institutions to take active roles in the constitution and peace process. ASD will work with political parties, civic groups and youth leaders to promote debate of accountability of political institutions including party reform. ASD will continue discussions on the diverse social-political issues and link the constitutional debates with regional and local debates and develop a policy briefs to provide feedback to the centre. Programs will be conducted to facilitate the public monitoring process of the transitional government, the political parties and public institutions.
ASD will work with constitutional and civil society groups- working on issue of peace and accountability issues, and develop a policy network. Through the policy network experts it will support enhancing capacity of citizen groups and promote debate of legal reform.
In orderto expose journalists to pertinent constitutional issues, security -peace process, rule of law, and questions of social justice and economic rights, programs will be conducted to sensitize the media. This process will help disseminate contemporary debates from interest-based groups to the broader public sphere.
Migration and political transition: Since 1990 Nepal has seen a rise in both external and internal migration due to economic circumstances and conflict. ASD is working to understand the dynamics of conflict, migration and social change through consultation, workshops, meeting and media added discussion and debate. In this way, ASD hopes to contribute to policy regarding migration and its impacts. ASD is looking forward to a potential partnership with OSF’s International Migration Initiative in 2011/2012.
An Inclusive and Accountable Democratic Political Institution Committed to Social Justice and Dignity of the People
Build political consensus on contentious issues of political transition including constitutional and peace process to make political institution more accountable
- Promote participation and access of different stakeholders in the constitutional process
- Support civil society for knowledge building and agenda setting on peace process, security and rule of law
- Build alliances with experts and groups working on transitional issues to develop policy briefs on consensus issues
- Support the development of credible political institutions by enhancing the capacity of democratic actors
- Constitutional Experts (Academicians: Political and Legal Analyst, Lawyers), Social Groups, Political Parties
- Civil Society, NGOs Working on Security Issues and
- Experts Cadres of Political Parties, Frontal Organizations of Political Parties
Tools and strategies
Advocacy, social dialogue, public lecture, exchange visits, research and publication (policy brief)