Climate Justice
Author: Sharad Ghimire Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

The notion of climate justice has received importance in academic, activist and political
circles globally and in Nepal. Political leaders, climate change activists, movement
leaders as well as the academics hardly miss the point about justice—whether explicitly
or implicitly—while they refer to climate change. Nepal’s climate change policy has also
incorporated the concept. While being so attractive to many groups, the notion has been
hardly discussed to its nuances in Nepal as to how it is implicated to policies and
practices. At the global level, climate justice is mostly understood in relation to the
division between the global North and the South in relation to their contribution to
generation of green house gases (GHGs) and hence the responsibility to reduce it, bearing
the negative consequences and having the capacity to overcome the impacts. However,
within a national context in Nepal, specifically in the formulation of public policies and
programs, it remains unclear how the notion of climate justice has been conceptualized or
operationalized. This paper explores through how Nepal’s climate change policy-making
and international representation conceptualize the notion and identifies their nuances and
contradictions. It examines two specific policy instruments, viz., National Policy on
Climate Change and National Adaptation Program of Action (NAPA) in regard to their
commitment to and formulation of climate justice. This paper suggests that, while the
notion of climate justice is conceived in contradictory and sometimes opposite ways, it
offers a discursive device for articulating the needs and voices of backward groups. We
also suggest that Nepal’s environmental policy-making requires a change of approach to
deliver the government’s commitment to climate justice.

Better Service Delivery through the use of IT
Author: Barsha Paudel Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

The governments from many developing and developed countries including Nepal have been making an effort to introduce the merits of Information Technology (IT) through policies, directives and regulations in order to transform service-delivery in their countries and fully embrace e-governance. This paper aims to analyze the efforts of the Nepalese government in introducing e-governance in state institutions responsible for delivering core services to the citizens of the country.

Despite the fact that Nepal’s first IT policy was formulated in 2000 AD, the plummeting E-Government Development Index (EGDI) and the existing shortcomings in the implementation of e-governance in delivering services reflect the existence of a huge gap between the policies, related guidelines and acts/laws outlined in paper and their implementation on the ground. This research identifies and analyzes these implementation gaps in detail.

In order to discuss the existing policy gaps and highlight the shortcomings, two representative Kathmandu-based government offices, the Department of Passport (DoP) and the Office of Company Registrar (OCR), are selected as case studies as they target two different yet specific types of service seekers; the general public and businesses. Since market and service seeker side constraints are discounted from this research, only those policies and directives that enhance the government of Nepal’s (GoN) e-service delivery capacity are picked. The United Nations’ (UN) four-stage e-governance model’s top tier phase, the connected phase, is chosen as the ideal stage of e-governance. Each selected IT policy agenda is then assessed under different sub-headings to identify which stage of the e-governance model it facilitates, what other government moves support that particular policy and what supportive or contradictory practices exist in the two representative offices. The research indicates that the government of Nepal has formulated and executed some policies that support a more mature phase of e-governance without paying heed to establishing the necessary foundations for successfully implementing the changes envisioned. Furthermore, the research shows that the lack of constant revision and policy-monitoring has resulted in a rather inefficient and outdated policy document in the context of the current agenda for e-governance. The lack of realistic timelines and milestones for most of the programs highlight that the strategies have not been assessed rigorously for their feasibility and possible risks making the implementation inefficacious. Also, the blindfolded acceptance of consulting reports produced by external agencies without necessary homework and thorough review has resulted in sub-standard works. Based on these findings and observations, the research concludes that given the lack of pre-requisites in place and the lack of commitment from the government offices, most of the government offices are still at the primitive transactional phase of e-governance which is a long way from attaining the ideal phase.

Critical Analysis of the Policy on Permanently Destroyed Private Housing Recovery after the April 2015 Earthquake in Nepal
Author: Sushma Thapa Publication Type: Books Policy Discussion Paper 

2015 April earthquake that hit Nepal has left housing sector as the most affected sector which has caused greatest human misery and casualty.  To avoid further long term vulnerabilities to the victim of the earthquake, housing recovery policy has to address certain housing recovery policy goals such as social justice, efficient and effective government institutions, flexibility, coordination, transparency and accountability.  ‘Building Back Better’ after the earthquake has been the main motto of the reconstruction in the PDNA with the owner driven reconstruction in a participatory manner along with this on October 09, 2015; the Nepalese parliament passed the Earthquake-Induced Fully Damaged Settlement Rebuilding Grant Delivery Procedure. This paper critically assesses the housing recovery procedural guidelines based on the identification of the beneficiaries, financial and technical assistance; and challenges relating to them through literary discourse and reflection from field visits.

Foreign Aid and Public Policy Process in Nepal
Author: Madhu Sudan Gautam, Bidhya Pokhrel Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

Nepal, like many other countries in the developing world, is heavily reliant on foreign aid for its development as well as for other social, economic and political initiatives. A particular sphere that is intrinsically related with and influenced by the aid regime is the country’s policy process. Aid agencies and their functionaries have been pervasive in Nepal’s policy making, legislative reforms and program design and implementation for over six decades, and we have little appreciation in regard to how foreign aid influences national policies, laws and programs. This discussion paper, which was developed out of SIAS-ASD collaborative fellowship program, intends to fill this gap. To do this, we address two broad questions here: i) how or to what extent foreign aid regime mediates policy process in Nepal? And ii) what changes are induced by aidsupported programs in Nepal’s policies, legislation and programs? We examine Nepal’s two policy sectors—forestry and local governance—as they comprise two important sectors where foreign aid regime in Nepal has been pervasive. We derive our general observations based on these two case studies.

We suggest that while foreign aid has been instrumental in generating policy, legislative as well as programmatic change in Nepal, the overall outcome is that the changes are more aligned with the priorities of donors and their functionaries. Despite renewed commitments through Rome (2003) and Paris (2005) declaration for aid effectiveness and harmonization, aid administration in Nepal entails co-opted national ownership and fails to accommodate to changing needs of the people. More effort is therefore required to ascertain that the government of Nepal duly represents people’s needs in relation to the mobilization of resources and effectively negotiates with development partners to be able to effectively administer and utilize foreign aid.

The Making and Implementation of Media Policies in Nepal
Author: Prakash Acharya Publication Type: Policy Discussion Paper 

In 1990 Nepal underwent a political change that marked the beginning of the state’s transition from an autocratic Panchayat system to a multi-party democracy. The period since has seen major changes in the media sector mainly due to an adherence to freedom of press, one of the underpinning principles of a democracy. The Nepali government as introduced several policies related to the burgeoning media sector as an indication of the changing dynamics of the sector and its role in an emerging democracy.

This paper examines three specific media policies introduced in Nepal since 1990. The nature of the policy outputs and the entailing agendas has been indicative of the expansion of the media policymaking domain. The agendas set out to address various factors such as the privatisation of media, the degree and level of participation of stakeholders in the policy process, the relationship between the media and the state and the nature of regulation suitable for a sector as dynamic as media.

The purpose of this study is to assess how media policies were formulated and implemented in Nepal during its transition to a democracy. The paper specifically analyses the media policies of 1992, 2002 and the media policy of 2013 which is still in its draft stage. These policies try to address the media sector and its diversity in regards to type, reach and diversity. However, the paper suggests that despite the positive policy outputs, the entire policy making process, including improved stakeholder participation and completion of the policy cycle is yet to be fully realized. By critically assessing Nepal’s media policy processes this paper puts forth the problems and challenges that exist in the policymaking domain. The issues noted and discussed affect the entire policy cycle and the paper highlights them by relying on invaluable information collected from some of the key stakeholders involved in the media sector and in the policymaking mechanism in Nepal. The paper offers suggestions to improve the formulation, design and implementation of media policies by highlighting the disconnect that exists between the various stakeholders and the involved agencies. It goes on to make recommendations that should be considered if the policymaking domain in the media sector is to undergo a complete structural and procedural change as suggested in the paper.