Nepal Human Development Report 2009: State Transformation and Human Development

Report / White Paper

March 7, 2011

Nepal Human Development Report 2009: State Transformation and Human Development

Without peace, human development is not possible and without human development, peace is not sustainable. Both require inclusion and participation—which can evolve through the restructuring of the state and deepening of the democracy of a political system. This Report makes the case that inclusion and participation can restore sustainable peace and human development through state transformation. Politics—or the exercise of power through participation—matters for human development because people everywhere want to be free to determine their own destiny, express their views, and participate in the decisions that shape their lives. These capabilities are
just as important for human development— for expanding people’s choices—as being able to read or to enjoy good health. Democracy must widen and deepen if politics and political institutions are to promote human development and safeguard the freedom and dignity of all individuals. Peace, together with prosperity and democracy, also constitute the core mandates of the 2006 April Janandolan (people’s movement). This is articulated firmly in the Comprehensive Peace Accord and the Interim Constitution 2007. The Comprehensive Peace Accord has at least four components:

  • political and socioeconomic transformation;

  • management of armies and arms;

  • ceasefire provisions and measures for normalization; and

  • protection of human rights and fundamental rights.

This Report focuses on the political transformation or restructuring of the state for inclusion and for human development while recognising that implementing all the other components is necessary for peace. Here inclusion refers to the equitable political representation of the excluded segments
of Nepal’s population, including women, various caste and ethnic groups, and those who live in underdeveloped regions. Participation implies the active engagement of representatives in voicing the views of their constituencies so that these opinions are heard and heeded. The Report advances the view that because exclusion causes unequal human development— which, in turn, perpetuates exclusion— eliminating it through the equitable representation and participation of excluded groups and regions will improve the quality of human development. Consequently, the
Report explores different options in changes to the state structure or political system to accommodate the interests of different groups of people. Nevertheless, the Report
also recognises that equitable representation cannot alone resolve the problems of exclusion
unless those who represent Nepal’s various constituencies can influence policy decisions
through direct and active participation. Those now excluded are unlikely to participate as effectively as the advantaged groups because of their lower level of human development and endowment as chapter two presents, along with their marginalisation and socio-political repression. Inequalities in endowment not only create, but cause exclusion. Consequently, inequality and exclusion must end simultaneously in all its dimensions.

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