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Accounting for nutritional changes in six success stories: a regression-decomposition approach

16 May 2017 11:16:38 GMT

Over the past two decades, many developing countries have made impressive progress in reducing undernutrition. In this paper, the authors explore potential explanations of this success by applying consistent statistical methods to multiple rounds of Demographic Health Surveys for Bangladesh, Nepal, Ethiopia, Odisha, Senegal, and Zambia.

The research finds that changes in household wealth, mother's education and access to antenatal care are the largest drivers of nutritional improvement, except for Zambia where large increases in bednet usage is the single largest factor. Other factors play a smaller role in explaining nutritional improvements with improvements in sanitation only appearing to be important in South Asia. Overall, the results point to the need for multidimensional nutritional strategies involving a broad range of nutrition-sensitive sectors.


  • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries

  • improved sanitation is more strongly associated with height-for-age in South Asian countries

  • asset accumulation and parental education are important predictor of nutritional improvement in most countries

Equate and conflate: political commitment to hunger and undernutrition reduction in five high-burden countries

16 May 2017 04:27:25 GMT

As political commitment is an essential ingredient for elevating food and nutrition security onto policy agendas, commitment metrics have proliferated. Many conflate government commitment to fight hunger with combating undernutrition. Here the authors test the hypothesis that commitment to hunger reduction is empirically different from commitment to reducing undernutrition through expert surveys in five high-burden countries: Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Findings confirm the hypothesis. The paper concludes that sensitive commitment metrics are needed to guide government and donor policies and programmatic action. Without, historically inadequate prioritisation of non-food aspects of malnutrition may persist to imperil achieving global nutrition targets.


  • nine key components of political commitment are identified

  • political commitment to reducing (a) hunger and (b) undernutrition is measured
  • research uses expert perception surveys in Bangladesh, Malawi, Nepal, Tanzania, and Zambia

  • hunger reduction commitment differs from commitment to address undernutrition
  • commitment metrics must be sensitive to these differences to better guide policy

Stories of change in nutrition: an overview

11 May 2017 04:05:48 GMT

After a period of relative success in generating political momentum to address malnutrition, there is an increasing urgency to focus on implementation and impact on the ground. This requires better documentation of the experiences of policymakers, nutrition leaders, program managers and implementers in making decisions on what to do in real time, such as coordinating and implementing multisectoral nutrition plans in dynamic country contexts.

The goal of the Stories of Change (SoC) initiative is to foster and support such experiential learning by systematically assessing and analysing drivers of change in six high-burden contexts (Ethiopia, Zambia, Senegal, Bangladesh, Nepal and Odisha, India) that have had some success in accelerating improvements in nutrition. While recognising context-specificity, here the authors unpack the key pre-requisites (commitment, coherence, accountability, data, leadership, capacity and finance) that fuel and sustain progress.

Highlights of this research:

  • political commitment is essential, but institutional commitment needed for action
  • leadership is transformational, and pivotal in triggering and sustaining change
  • Policy coherence, accountability, data, capacity and finance are other key factors.

Work, family and social protection: old age income security in Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

17 Feb 2017 12:45:16 GMT

How does growing older affect a person’s income security in Asia? This question is becoming increasingly urgent in the context of rapid population ageing in the region, yet relatively limited comparative analysis has tried to answer it. This report aims to fill the gap by providing a comparative investigation of the income security of older people in five Asian countries that have diverse contexts; namely, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The report paints a picture of the multiple sources of income that contribute to income security in old age and how they interact. This has been done by mining existing survey data in each country to explore three key sources of income for older people: work, transfers from family and social protection. This marks a departure from most previous analysis of old age income security which has focused on age-disaggregated poverty data – which can only provide a relatively superficial picture of the issue. As well as providing new insights, this study highlights many weaknesses of existing data on ageing and points out opportunities for improvements in data collection and analysis.

Household food security in the face of climate change in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan region

29 Sep 2016 11:14:13 GMT

This study attempts to understand local people’s perceptions of climate change, its impacts on agriculture and household food security, and local adaptation strategies in the Hindu-Kush Himalayan (HKH) region, using data from 8083 households (HHs) from four river sub-basins (SBs), i.e. Upper Indus (Pakistan), Eastern Brahmaputra (India), Koshi (Nepal) and Salween and Mekong (China).

The majority of households in SBs, in recent years, have perceived that there have been more frequent incidences of floods, landslides, droughts, livestock diseases and crop pests, and have attributed these to climate change. These changes have led to low agricultural production and income, particularly in Eastern Brahmaputra (EB) where a substantial proportion of HHs reported a decline in the production of almost all staple and cash crops, resulting in very low farm income.

Consequently, households’ dependency on external food items supplied from plain areas has increased, particularly in the Upper Indus (UI) and EB. After hazards, households face transitory food insecurity owing to damage to their local food systems and livelihood sources, and constrained food supply from other areas. To cope with these, HHs in SBs make changes in their farming practices and live-stock management. In EB, 11 % of HHs took on new off-farm activities within the SB and in SM, 23 % of HHs chose out-migration as an adaptation strategy. Lastly, the study proposes policy instruments for attaining sustainable food security, based on agro-ecological potential and opportunities for increasing agricultural resilience and diversity of livelihoods.

Dynamics of rural water flows to quench urban thirst: implications on local water security

27 Sep 2016 11:37:53 GMT

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu and expansion of built- up area in the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted in formation of the peri- urban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban forms, and simultaneously, water diverted or transferred from these areas is rapidly increasing.

This paper describes the changing modes of urban oriented water flow from the peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu and the implications of this water transfer on water security of peri-urban areas. Through series of semi-structured interviews, formal and informal discussions with local people and key informant interviews, the study found that Matatirtha, a peri-urban area, has traditionally been a source of water for the domestic water demand in Kathmandu. However, the social and economic developments have induced a paradigm shift in urban water transfer from the area and promoted the economic benefits as a way of compensating the loss of local water resources. Moreover, the increasing opportunities of economic benefits through water market in absence of a regulatory mechanism has facilitated exploitation of resources and therefore created a need for a strong mechanism, promoting insights for sustainable water resource management to prepare a water secure area.

People's experience and facts of changing climate: impacts and responses

27 Sep 2016 11:34:00 GMT

Apart from modeling and quantitative analysis of climate change, it is also important to understand what local communities feel about climate change and how they are affected by it and are responding to those impacts in order to bring new policies and programmes in the particular area. This paper tries to analyze the connection between perceived changes in different attributes of climate change by the local people residing in peri-urban areas of Kathmandu Valley and the results obtained from analysis of recorded temperature and rainfall data of seven different hydro-meteorological stations located in different parts of Kathmandu Valley. Besides, the study also explores the impact of climate change on the local people and their responses in order to enhance their resilience. The study is based on focus group discussions with communities and household survey whereas the analysis of hydro-meteorological data is done in R software.

The perception of most of the local people on changes in temperature is almost in line with the recorded long term climatic trend whereas the perception of decreasing monsoon and non-monsoon rainfall is not matched with the recorded data as it did not find any long term clear visible pattern of rainfall. However, out of seven stations, four illustrated decreasing trend in number of rainy days in non-monsoon and three stations demonstrated decreasing trend of rainy days in the monsoon period. People have been facing several impacts from these changes such as decrease in water sources, decrease in agricultural crop production, increase in insect-pest attack and increase in weeds in agricultural crops. Local people are responding to these impacts basedon their own skills and traditional knowledge. Household level water management, adoption of innovative technologies in agricultural practice, construction of wells, changing cropping pattern and systems and occupational diversification are some important responses they are adopting to adapt to the impacts of changes in climate.

Groundwater extraction: implications on local water security of Peri-urban Kathmandu

27 Sep 2016 11:30:07 GMT

The rapid and haphazard urbanization in Kathmandu valley and expansion of built-up area to the peripheral rural landscapes has resulted to formation of Peri- urban areas which are now themselves transforming into urban form. This paper examines how the increasing urban water demand has put unprecedented pressure on groundwater resources in the peri-urban areas of Kathmandu valley. Based on the semi-structured interviews with local people, focus group discussions and key informants interviews, the study found that water security at Jhaukhel is closely associated with groundwater and the dependency of local people on groundwater has increased over the years. The implications of the groundwater extraction coupled with sand mining in the area have been manifested in form of declining groundwater table and drying of traditional water sources. Despite the growing awareness among the local people on the consequences of depleting groundwater table, in absence of strict regulatory mechanism, the exploitation of groundwater has been adding threat to the local eco-hydrology of the area and subjecting the local community to water insecurity.

Adapting to Peri-urban water insecurity induced by urbanization and climate change

27 Sep 2016 11:24:31 GMT

Urbanization is a continued phenomenon all over the world. In Nepal, the processes of rapid urbanization initiated during the 1980s and accelerated in the following two decades. Kathmandu valley has been the most urbanized area of Nepal. The rapid growth in the population of the valley has brought dramatic changes in the land use pattern in Kathmandu valley.

This paper describes the implication of growing urbanization in combination with climatic variabilities on water security and adaptation strategies of the people in peri-urban landscape of Kathmandu valley. Through multiple series of focus group discussions and key informant's interviews, the study found that the entire households at Lubhu depend on public stand posts with water supplied for few hours a day. The hydro-meteorological data analysis showed the increasing trend of temperature but clear pattern in precipitation was not found. However, people perceived the changes in both precipitation and temperature and impacts on their livelihood. People have envisioned development of filtration system to treat water from another source, however for now,they have been fetching water from spring sources in neighbouring VDCs and dug wells during the days with no water supply in stand posts. Farmers have been adapting to water scarcity for cultivating agricultural crops by switching to less water demanding crops, leaving their land s fallow and even by deviating towards off-farm activities to be more resilient to increasing water scarcity. The concern for sustainable water management is growing among the community however, strong dedication and unity among the communities is essential to ensure the water security in the village.

Urbanization climate change and water security: adaptation strategies and approaches

27 Sep 2016 01:20:16 GMT

The  relationship  between  urbanisation, water insecurity, and climate change is becoming evident  as cities are expanding in the global south. The first key challenge is to establish the links between these three themes. The second relates to  understanding the adaptation strategies of farmers and other stakeholders to address urbanization and climate change induced water stress.

This research brief looks at increasing water insecurity in four South Asian peri-urban locations, i.e., Khulna (Bangladesh), Gurgaon and Hyderabad (north-west and south India) and Kathmandu (Nepal). The paper shows how communities adapt to water insecurity created by urbanisation and climate change through a wide range of adaptive strategies.

Gender and Peri-urban water security

27 Sep 2016 01:11:43 GMT

As geographical areas subjected to rapid urbanisation and constantly  changing land use, peri-urban sites offer women and men greater economic opportunities.At the sametime,peri-urbanresidents are
also drawn away from traditionalmeans of livelihood.As the city encroaches into prime agricultural lands in the fringe areas,occupations become more subsistence in nature.  This increases women's workload. Often women, who migrate from rural areas after marriage and settle in peri-urban zones,face enormous challenges in accessing water. In peri-urban contexts,water is shared and accessed informally by most stakeholders and users.

This research brief underscores challenges,hazards,and opportunities in accessing water resources and  their gender consequences. The paper investigates four South Asian peri-urban resource-constrained locations and focuses on changing gender relations in peri­urban areas.

Interlinkages between climate change and sexual and reproductive health

02 Sep 2016 01:41:33 GMT

Reviewing the Nepalese government's climate change policy showed that the government do not have any policies addressing the linkages between climate change and sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR). There are separate policies on climate change which is looked after by the Ministry of Environment Sciences and Technologies, and the policies on sexual and reproductive health which are looked upon by the Ministry of health. As climate change and SRHR issues are interrelated, impacting women's health and livelihoods. Hence, it is important to have policy coordination and integrated response to the field realities from government's side.

The analysis of the data in this study showed that the women and girls are the ones mostly affected by adverse impact of climate change. The major reason behind this is increased frequency of natural disasters which increase the work burden on women, This increased physical and mental stress on women have directly impacted their sexual and reproductive health and the impact of climate change on agriculture has triggered the situation of food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition.

Voices from the field: using Photovoice to explore impacts of climate change on mental health in Nepal

02 Sep 2016 01:24:20 GMT

Photovoice is a participatory research method that uses photos as a tool for deconstructing problems and questions raised by community members, with the goal of generating actionable solutions. The method enhances and builds community by allowing members to identify, reflect on, and address their own needs.

“The photovoice method involves participants in the research process as much as possible and , as a result, is a very collaborative and community -enhancing process,” said Libby King MacFarlane, who used the technique in Nepal to address issues of climate change and mental health. “Using images as a point of contact to start discussing complex community topics allows people to unpack issues slowly and organically until they arrive at an actionable solution,” she explained.
It was evident in the exit interviews that the women recognised the benefits of sharing environmental best practices and the importance of building community capacity to adapt to and mitigate environmental issues in the community. They also reported feeling more confident and recognized the importance of sharing stories to ease pain. After the photovoice sessions , the women showed significant improvements in depression, anxiety, and resilience scores compared to before the sessions, further supporting the positive mental health outcomes reported by the women.

Ecosystem services and livelihoods in a changing climate: understanding local adaptations in the Upper Koshi, Nepal

30 Aug 2016 03:44:25 GMT

Mountain ecosystems are increasingly being affected by global environmental change, challenging the ubiquitous agro-ecosystem based livelihoods of the people. This paper uses participatory research methods to document and analyse 1) local and regional impacts of climate change on ecosystem services (ES), and livelihoods, and 2) the main current adaptation strategies of local people in the mountains of central Nepal.
Major observed impacts include reduced precipitation and an irregular rainfall pattern, affecting paddy cultivation and winter crop production. Production is also affected by increased pest and pathogen prevalence. Other impacts include increased livestock disease and reduced forest regeneration. The results confirm earlier findings of a decrease in the district’s forest cover in past; however; substantial efforts in forest conservation and management at the local level have gradually increased forest cover in recent years. Despite the increased potential for forest ecosystem services, the availability of forest goods, in particular fuel wood, fodder and litter, have decreased because of a strict regulation on forest goods extraction.
Additionally, new invasive species are colonising these forests, preventing regeneration of preferred and local forest vegetation in some areas and, as a result, the densities of tree crops are changing. Most users cope with these changes by short term, reactive solutions. However, a number of local adaptation strategies, such as changing both agricultural practices and water harvesting and management are increasing efficiency in resource use. To increase the adaptive capacity of poor households, it is suggested to incorporate climate change adaptations within the local planning process.

Climate change vulnerability - cases from CIRDAP member countries

30 Aug 2016 03:36:33 GMT

Countries of the Asia Pacific region are particularly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change as indicated by the global assessments by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

This monograph focuses on the impact of climate change – one of the key concerns for sustainable rural development. Six insightful articles based on studies in different CIRDAP Member Countries including Bangladesh, Fiji, Iran, Nepal and Thailand. The studies examine the vulnerability of the Asia Pacific region, how climate change is affecting agriculture and livelihood of the people and different adaptation and mitigations initiatives taken to address the challenges posed by climate change.
The articles are:
  • Climate Change and Livelihood in Bangladesh: Experiences of People Living in the Coastal Regions
  • Preliminary Study of Climate Change Impact on Rice Production and Export in Thailand
  • Rethinking Concepts of Human Health, Food and Nutrition Security in the Pacific Region in the Era of Climate Change with Focus on the Fiji Islands
  • Ecosystem Services and Livelihoods in a Changing Climate: Understanding Local Adaptations in the Upper Koshi, Nepal
  • A Study to Investigate Sustainable Adaptation to Drought among Nomads in Iran
  • Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management for Sustainable Development

Local actions: solutions to global challenges - initiatives of indigenous peoples in climate change adaptation and Disaster Risk Reduction based on traditional knowledge

12 Aug 2016 11:55:53 GMT

While governments around the world continue to debate about policies and practices to address climate change solutions, they pay little attention to the situation of indigenous peoples who are among those most affected by climate change on the ground. Thus indigenous peoples are compelled to act and respond immediately  to climate change impacts to reduce or minimize risk on their livelihoods. However, they still have very limited access to information and government facilities in terms of financial or technological support at the national and local levels.
This briefing paper is based on information and insights gained from a three-year project implementation, including community  assessments, as well as the two regional knowledge exchange programs Adaptation Learning Highway (ALH) participated by indigenous knowledge holders from 9 countries in Asia including Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Myanmar, North East India, and Nepal.

Drawing from these experiences, the paper is about collective responses on nature-based solutions, indigenous peoples’ adaptive strategies and measures to climate change-induced hazards in South and South East Asia, as well as on socio-cultural and political barriers that hamper the implementation of these practices.

Asia report on climate change and indigenous people

12 Aug 2016 11:38:30 GMT

The impacts of climate change are severe for at least 260 million indigenous peoples in Asia. The effects of warming temperature, extreme weather events, unpredictable seasons and sea level rise include loss of lives and property, loss of traditional livelihoods, food insecurity, environmental degradation, loss of biodiversity and related indigenous knowledge systems and practices, worsening health problems and disruption of indigenous communities’ social and cultural life.

While States are obliged to come up with National Action Plans to address the issue of climate change, it appears that not all governments in Asia have developed plans, policies and measures towards decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and preparing their citizenry to adapt to the consequences of climate change. Moreover, there are hardly any programs directed at the particular problems and situations faced by indigenous peoples in relation to climate change. Much less can you find meaningful participation of indigenous peoples in the formulation of government plans and strategies addressing climate change. Many Asian States still fail to fully recognize indigenous peoples and to acknowledge their valuable contribution to climate change mitigation and adaptation.
This report is a summary of national reports of indigenous peoples from 12 countries in Asia and the results of the regional  preparatory meeting of Asia indigenous peoples for the 21st Session of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of Parties (COP21).

This regional preparatory meeting, which was organized by Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) on September 16-18, 2015 in Chiang Mai, Thailand, was participated by 30 selected indigenous peoples’ representatives coming from Bangladesh, Cambodia, India, Thailand, Lao PDR, Taiwan/China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Vietnam, including  representatives of regional networks of indigenous women, indigenous youth and indigenous persons with disabilities

Seismic building codes: global and regional overview

30 Jun 2016 07:13:12 GMT

This report is the outcome of a rapid desk study to identify and collate the current state of evidence (in Nepal and other Low-Income Countries) to assess three issues:

  • The regulation and effectiveness of seismic building codes in achieving the construction of safer and more liveable buildings, and in creating resilience against disasters.
  • The types of seismic building code systems used in different countries (ie. the strength requirements for private housing versus public buildings, such as schools, health facilities or industrial buildings), particularly in countries in the Himalayan region that are similar to Nepal with respect to risk and level of income.
  • What systems and mechanisms are used to ensure compliance in areas where seismic building codes are in place, and what examples are there of new technologies or innovative approaches to encourage compliance?

Building better and safely: stimulating the private sector for sustainable solutions in Nepal

30 Jun 2016 07:07:36 GMT

Rather than focusing on how to reconstruct that portion of Nepal that was damaged in the April 25 2015 earthquake, the purpose of this document is to look to the future, with a particular emphasis on how the private sector can be stimulated to take action in non-earthquake impacted areas so that an effective strategy can be taken to prevent such devastating losses in the future. It examines the questions: How can the private sector be engaged and profitably involved in building and improving safe structures in Nepal? What can be done to establish the framework and create the proper incentives? What lessons can be learned from other countries, especially from those that have large sections of their populations on low, informally earned incomes?

Digital agriculture atlas of Nepal

31 Mar 2016 10:34:11 GMT

The Ministry of Agricultural Development (MoAD), Government of Nepal and the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) join hands together to develop the Agriculture Atlas of Nepal. The application, developed under SERVIR-Himalaya initiative, provides free access to information on crops (cereals, cash crops, legumes, vegetables and fruits) and livestock which is useful for agriculture planning, research and overall economic development of the country.

The Agriculture Atlas section of the application allows visualization of district based agriculture statistics for any given agriculture product in the form of map atlas whereas the District Profile section of the application allows viewing of agriculture statistics for any given district in the form of chart.

The role of social protection programmes in supporting education in conflict-affected situations

21 Mar 2016 02:05:29 GMT

This background paper examines the role of social protection programmes in supporting education in conflict-affected contexts. It looks at the impact, design and implementation issues of social protection programme experience in conflict, protracted crisis and post-conflict contexts, including in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sierra Leone, Somalia, Nepal, Northern Uganda and Pakistan.

The paper finds that the costs of education are significant in conflict-affected countries – not only are the direct costs of schooling high, but also parents often have to contribute a significant amount to the school to keep it functioning. In a context of high rates of poverty and disrupted livelihoods and potentially high opportunity costs of sending children to school, the direct and indirect costs of sending children to school are often the most substantial barrier to children’s schooling.

Experience suggests that education subsidies and fee waivers offer important potential to offset costs and increase enrolment and attendance, but they have not been widely implemented. Education has remained mainly a secondary objective in social protection programming, for example in cash grant transfers, public works programmes and school feeding programmes. Longterm funding, institutional coordination and support for capacity building are needed to deliver sustainable social protection at scale which supports households to meet both the direct and indirect costs of education in conflict-affected contexts.

How do social protection and labour programmes contribute to social inclusion? Evidence from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal

19 Mar 2016 05:14:05 GMT

Today, the positive effects of social protection and labour programmes on core dimensions of well- being such as food consumption and access to health and education are well-recognised. However, less is known about the ability of these programmes to tackle the structural causes of social exclusion and poverty or to promote sustainable changes in the lives and livelihoods of the poor. This paper seeks to help to fill this empirical gap by drawing on the findings from four country case studies that examined the role of social protection and labour programmes in promoting social inclusion. 

The study finds that the interventions in the four countries have contributed to wellbeing outcomes and have had some, albeit small, impact on the drivers of social exclusion. However, it is also found that, on many occasions, interventions have not delivered transformative change. The findings and their policy implications are discussed and the following recommendations are delivered: i) design and delivery of programmes must be adequate and appropriate given context-specific economic, social and institutional factors, ii) design of policy instruments must start with social and institutional analysis and iii) a social exclusion framework is a useful tool in assessing outcomes and drivers of social exclusion and their intersections with poverty. 

Adapted from author’s summary.

Evidence and gaps in evidence on the principle political economy constraints and opportunities to successful investment in inclusive agribusiness in Asia

15 Mar 2016 02:27:37 GMT

This report pays particular reference to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Kyrgyz Republic, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Tajikistan. The purpose is to inform a more detailed call down piece of work for DFID to scope the potential establishment of one or more investment platforms through which it would deploy investment capital in order to catalyse private investment in south and central Asia. It’s been proposed that the platform(s) should
focus on clean energy, inclusive agribusiness and financial services.

Understanding the rapid reduction of undernutrition in Nepal, 2001–2011

09 Mar 2016 03:49:49 GMT

South Asia has long been synonymous with unusually high rates of undernutrition. In the past decade, however, Nepal has arguably achieved the fastest recorded decline in child stunting in the world and has done so in the midst of civil war and post-conflict political instability.

Given recent interest in reducing undernutrition, particularly the role of nutrition-sensitive policies, this paper aims to quantitatively understand this surprising success story by analysing the 2001, 2006, and 2011 rounds of Nepal’s Demographic Health Surveys. To do so, the authors construct models of the intermediate determinants of child and maternal nutritional change and then decompose predicted changes in nutrition outcomes over time.

Four broad drivers of change are identified: asset accumulation, health and nutrition interventions, maternal educational gains, and improvements in sanitation. Many of these changes were clearly influenced by policy decisions, including increased public investments in health and education and community-led health and sanitation campaigns. Other factors, such as rapid growth in migration-based remittances, are more a reflection of household responses to changing political and economic circumstances

Women as agents of change in water: reflections on experiences from the field

04 Mar 2016 05:08:44 GMT

The Women for Water Partnership (WfWP) currently includes 26 women’s networks covering around 100 countries, predominantly in the developing world. This publication pays tribute to some of the work of women’s organisations involved in the WfWP, by qualitatively documenting some of the best practices displayed, and highlighting the specific contributions of women around the world toward the UN General Assembly mandated International Decade for Action ‘Water for Life 2005 - 2015.   The introduction explains the context the report in terms of the importance of studying the gender-water-sustainability nexus, Water for Life, and the status of water and sanitation as a human right. The majority of the report then examines examples of good practice from a number of case studies involving WfWP members. Each of the case studies provide background information on the contexts and organisations involved, and describes the role played by the primary women’s organisations in driving change. Also disucssed are their contributions to Water for Life, which together with the Dublin/Rio Principles for Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), underline the central role of women in the provision, management, and safeguarding of water. The case studies examined include women’s organisations cooperating in: efforts toward a transformative gender-water-sustainable development agenda in Tanzania; contributions toward the Protocol on Water and Health for the UNECE Water Convention in Armenia and Ukraine; the implementation of the human right to water and sanitation in Nepal; provision of social accountability for water access in Kenya; sustainable water governance at Lake Victoria in Uganda; and empowering women in Nigeria through water and sanitation interventions.   The role of women’s civil society organisations, and the value they add to sustainable development, is discussed next, before the report identifies a number of lessons learned through examination of the projects. In terms of barriers to the meaningful participation of women in the water sector, most stem from either the direct and indirect difficulties of working in large, remote areas with limited access to water, or where customary law is actively involved in water rights and the role of women in society. Cultural resistance to empowering women consumes time and effort to overcome, though drivers for change exist, including: the introduction of gender equality legislation; strong political leadership committed to gender equality, as evidence by the catalytic effect of a gender-sensitive water minister in Nigeria; support by local communities themselves, which can be highly effective in changing mind-sets; and the use of peer networks that can provide support, training, coaching, and backstopping. Small scale projects that account for cultural differences are often more successful than large scale projects, but scaling-up these projects is an intensive and difficult task due to geographical scale, and a perpetual challenge of under-funding for women’s organisations.   The report finishes with a section on conclusions and recommendations for women-inclusive water cooperation, including that:   A human rights based approach is required to ensure effective cooperation between all stakeholders in the water sector. Institutional mechanisms guiding water cooperat[...]

Ecosystem services and livelihoods in a changing climate: Understanding local adaptations in the Upper Koshi, Nepal

15 Feb 2016 07:01:13 GMT

Mountain ecosystems are increasingly being affected by global environmental change, challenging the ubiquitous agro-ecosystem-based livelihoods of the people.

This article uses participatory research methods to document and analyse (1) local and regional impacts of climate change on ecosystem services (ES) and livelihoods, and (2) the main current adaptation strategies of local peoples in the mountains of central Nepal.

Major observed impacts include reduced precipitation and an irregular rainfall pattern, affecting paddy cultivation and winter crop production. Production is also affected by increased pest and pathogen prevalence. Other impacts include increased livestock disease and reduced forest regeneration.

Researchers findings confirm earlier results of a decrease in the district’s forest cover in past; however, substantial efforts in forest conservation and management at the local level have gradually increased forest cover in recent years. Despite the increased potential for forest ecosystem services, the availability of forest goods, in particular fuel wood, fodder and litter, have decreased because of a strict regulation on forest goods extraction.

Additionally, new invasive species are colonising these forests, preventing regeneration of preferred and local forest vegetation in some areas and, as a result, the densities of tree crops are changing. Most users cope with these changes by short term, reactive solutions.

However, a number of local adaptation strategies, such as changing both agricultural practices and water harvesting and management, are increasing efficiency in resource use.

To increase the adaptive capacity of poor households, the researchers suggest it is essential to incorporate climate change adaptations within the local planning process.

[adapted from authors' abstract]

Helpdesk report: Urban poverty in Nepal

08 Feb 2016 02:08:06 GMT

This Helpdesk Report responds to the following query: What are the issues and trends in relation to urban poverty in Nepal? Include data on key trends as well as a qualitative overview of the issues pertaining to informal settlements, housing and access to services that make poor people more or less vulnerable to hazards.

In presenting urban poverty trends and data in Nepal, key findings include:
  • Urban poverty is becoming more pervasive in Nepal: The poverty rate is increasing in urban areas, whilst it is declining in rural areas.
  • Urban poverty rates vary substantially across Nepal: Urban areas in the hill ecological zone are the least poor with a poverty incidence of 8.7 per cent. This increases to 22 per cent in urban parts of the Tarai, whilst Kathmandu has a poverty rate of 11.5 per cent.
  • Informal settlements are a relatively new phenomenon in Nepal and there is a poor understanding of the overall context of slums and squatter settlements. Informal settlements are increasing in number and growing in population. The slum population as a proportion of the urban population increased in absolute numbers from 1.2 million in 1990 to 3.1 million in 2009, before reducing again to 2.8 million in 2014. Squatter settlements are rising in fast-growing cities such as Kathmandu and Pokhara, as well as in urban areas such as Dharan, Birganj, Bharatpur and Mechinagar. Additionally, increasing urban land and house prices are contributing to the growth of squatter settlements. The housing problem is particularly acute in the Kathmandu Valley.
  • The urban poor are vulnerable to natural hazards because of the location of informal settlements in marginal areas, the poor quality of housing, and the lack of assets to assist in their recovery.
In addition, the paper identifies several dimensions of poverty that impact upon the vulnerability of the urban poor, including:
  • Property rights and security of tenure
  • Access to infrastructure and public utilities
  • Health
  • Social exclusion
  • Crime and violence.
Further, the paper argues that a number of factors contribute to increasing the resilience of the urban poor. Social organisation within informal settlements, local level initiatives and self-help schemes are helping to reduce vulnerability of the urban poor. Squatters are relatively organised in demanding their rights, whilst locally established saving and credit groups and cooperatives are providing access to credit and financial assets. Government policies on urban poverty and informal settlements do not directly address the issue of land tenure, and no policy exists to prevent unnecessary evictions and violations of housing rights. There is a lack of public investment in slums and squatter areas, and housing development trends in Kathmandu largely ignore the urban poor.

The role of skills training for youth employment in Nepal: an impact evaluation of the employment fund

02 Feb 2016 10:35:48 GMT

The Employment Fund Project (EF) was founded in 2008 and is currently one of the largest youth training initiatives in Nepal. 15,000 youths are engaged with annually. EF competitively contracts training and employment service providers. Training courses are market-driven. Providers must complete a rapid market assessment during the competitive bidding process. Services include formal technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, public and private providers, as well as skilled artisans. In 2010 in partnership with EF funders, the the Adolescent Girls Employment Initiative (AGEI) was launched. The objective was to expand the programme to reach an additional 4,410 Nepali young women aged 16 to 24 over a three-year period. Evaluation of the programme indicates it had positive impacts on the following labour market outcomes: employment rates; finding employment; and earnings. 

Making the case for eco-system based adaptation

04 Jan 2016 12:50:38 GMT

This report highlights the experience of three pioneering countries -  Nepal, Peru and Uganda - where governments and civil society have joined hands, supported by the German Government’s International Climate Initiative, and worked with implementing partners UNDP, UNEP and IUCN, in piloting new approaches through the Mountain EbA Programme.

It suggests that the Mountain EbA programme has also facilitated a number of key interventions at the global scale, and has generated new evidence on the cost-effectiveness of ecosystem-based adaptation options.

This has involved testing new EbA interventions, such as stabilizing mountain slopes, that are vulnerable to erosion from more intense rains, with indigenous plants, which can be harvested and sold.

As the UN’s development network, UNDP promotes adaptation efforts like these that have multiple benefits, and create opportunities for poverty eradication and social inclusion.

The researchers show that demonstrating these benefits is a vital element of making the case for EbA, especially with communities.

The Global Ecosystem-based Adaptation (EbA) in Mountain Ecosystems Programme was jointly implemented from 2011 to 2016 as a flagship programme of UNEP, UNDP and IUCN, funded by the Government of Germany through the International Climate Initiative (IKI), in partnership with the Governments of Nepal, Peru and Uganda. The programme was implemented at global level and at national level with pilot project work in mountain ecosystems in countries that are particularly vulnerable to climate change.

Towards upscaling the application of low-carbon and energy-efficient technology in the construction sector in South Asia - cases of India, Nepal and Pakistan

04 Jan 2016 02:56:06 GMT

The Asia-Pacific Network for Global Change Research (APN) is a network of 22 governments in the Asia-Pacific region that promote research, the participation of developing countries in research, and strengthens the links between policy-makers and scientists. As part of their ‘APN Global Change Perspectives’ series of policy briefs, APN have published this concise look at three case studies - India, Nepal, and Pakistan - concerning efforts to upscale the application of low-carbon and energy-efficient technology in the construction sector. In India, the brief notes that the construction sector has a very high ecological and carbon footprint, which is set to increase further. Small cities and towns have been the primary focus of growth, and housing requirements must continue to be considered in efforts to reduce impacts from construction. Low carbon and resource-efficient technologies exist and could substantially reduce the ecological footprint of the sector. This will require a policy mix drawn from a green mandate, and implemented with cooperation across governmental departments. The use of fly ash, a by-product of thermal power plants, in the production of bricks and cement in India is presented as an positive example of resource use, while a lack of bamboo production is cited as a regulatory failure, with numerous barriers to production and little in the way of support. This section ends with national and local level recommendations. The second case study is Nepal, a country that is expected to require an additional one million urban houses between 2011 and 2021. Upscaling low carbon and energy-efficient construction technology for housing has emerged as an important policy and implementation agenda in Nepal, and the authors note that it is essential to enable the policy environment to promote and strengthen supply lines for sustainable materials, and to stimulate the demand for sustainable housing as an economical, environmentally sound solution. Recommendations include the use of subsidies for designs using low carbon construction materials, a voluntary green building certification system, promoting awareness of alternative building materials, and stringent building regulations. Finally, Pakistan is the focus of the third case study, where disaster-resilience is a consideration as well as low carbon and energy-efficient alternatives. The construction industry in Pakistan has grown considerably in the last decade, yet despite floods in 2010 that destroyed over 2 million homes, disaster-resilience has been given very little consideration. This is something that requires urgent promoting across all sectors, public and private. A number of other recommendations are also made, including: the need for the Pakistan government to break the monopoly of cement industries in the market, and open the way for alternatives; education programmes to promote awareness of alternative materials; partnerships with donor institutions, agencies, and banks to ensure funding for entrepreneurs; incentivisation of bamboo production, and the need to overcome social barriers associated with the use of bamboo; and governmental encouragement of research and implementation of greener technologies.

Vulnerability and impacts assessment for adaptation planning in the Panchase mountain ecological region Nepal

18 Nov 2015 04:52:44 GMT

This report is a presentation of the tools and methods of a vulnerability and impacts assessment (VIA) of both climatic and non-climatic changes on ecosystem services and community livelihoods in the Panchase Mountain Ecological Region (PMER) of Nepal, with a focus on interventions for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA).

It suggests options for adaptation to and mitigation of the negative impact of climate change including loss of agricultural productivity, ecosystem degradation, habitat fragmentation and the occurrence of invasive species with the aim of helping increase the resilience of local communities. 

Community-based resource management practices in Nepal recognize the importance of obtaining benefits from natural resources in a sustainable manner.

This makes these practices a useful entry point for ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA).  

Post-Nepal Earthquake Assessment Report: Imja, Tsho Rolpa, and Thulagi Glacial Lakes

26 Oct 2015 03:02:04 GMT

Nepal has entered an era of accelerated catastrophic events that has been exacerbated by the recent earthquake and aftershocks according to this paper. The continuation of glacial lake outburst floods can be predicted with confidence, both in frequency as well as magnitude.

Detailed case studies based on fieldwork around the communities in Nepal downstream of the Imja, Tsho Rolpa, and Thulagi glacial lakes, show communities are fearful of the likelihood of GLOFs, and lack adequate information about early warning systems (EWSs), lake risk reduction methods, and disaster management planning.

The researchers argue that there is no need to wait until GLOFs kill people and destroy hydropower installations in Nepal before taking action. Proposed actions include building upon the lessons learned from Peru and to begin conducting detailed scientific surveys of all lakes, designing Himalayan-specific methods to reduce their risks of growing and unstable glacial lakes.

Peru, with glaciers at lower elevations and closer to the equator, was in a similar predicament 60 years ago. In 1951 the Government of Peru established a Glaciological Unit based in the city of Huaraz, at the foot of the Cordillera Blanca or “white mountain range.” The reason for the establishment of the unit was that, between 1941 and 1950, three GLOFs had occurred that killed an estimated 10,000 people and destroyed the hydropower plant that furnished the region with most of its electricity.

This suggests future risk reduction work in Nepal and elsewhere in the high mountain world should take more of an interdisciplinary and participatory approach than in the past, considering the human, economic, environmental, and development aspects of glacial lake mitigation in addition to the standard physical and engineering surveys.

Output 4 Options Analysis: options analysis for a regional climate change programme to deliver more effective climate services, early warning and disaster risk reduction

15 Oct 2015 10:07:27 GMT

South Asian countries are particularly vulnerable to extreme weather events, climate variability and longer-term climatic changes due to high population density, poverty, and lack of resources for adaptation.

This report provides an Options Analysis for a South Asia regional programme on climate services for risk reduction and economic growth. It is the fourth output of a scoping project, which has reviewed evidence on climate services, early warning systems and disaster risk reduction in selected countries: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Burma. It considers four options for DFID investment with different emphases on the ‘supply’ or ‘demand’ sidei of climate information provision and use, the choice of sectors, geographical focus and finally the appropriate delivery mechanisms for implementing the programme. The proposed investments range from £5 million to £145 million. The lowest cost options involve small-scale research and innovation projects with targeted support to country offices or existing donor programmes, whereas the larger options include significant capital expenditure on weather observations and investment in national hydrological and meteorological services.

Impacts of climate change on hydrological regime and water resources management of the Koshi River Basin, Nepal

21 Sep 2015 04:39:48 GMT

This assessment is made of the hydrological regime of the middle hilly region of the Koshi River Basin in Nepal under climate change.

The study found that climate change does not pose major threat on average water availability. However, temporal flow variations are expected to increase in the future. The magnitude of projected flow for given return periods, however, strongly depends on the climate model run considered. A relation was derived to estimate projected flood flow as a function of return period and flow estimated from historical series. Amidst the uncertainties, these predictions provide reasonable insight for re-consideration of design standards or design values of hydraulic structures under climate change.

[Adapted from source]

Driving across the South Asian borders: the Motor Vehicle Agreement between Bhutan, Bangladesh, India and Nepal

17 Sep 2015 11:24:47 GMT

The benefits of strengthening physical connectivity in a
geographically contiguous region are increasingly being
recognised. These links are expected to increase economic Tactivity and people-to-people interaction, leading in turn to regional and sub-regional integration. In this backdrop, the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) signed among Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal is expected to facilitate cross-border movement of vehicles, thereby reducing cost of
transportation and boosting commercial ties. The four countries have taken a significant step in upgrading their bilateral relations into a diversified and constructive engagement.

However, challenges in the implementation of the agreement remain, requiring careful consideration. This paper examines the circumstances leading to the signing of the agreement and explores its implications for the eastern
part of South Asia.

High mountain adaptation partnership: lessons learned in Nepal and Peru

03 Sep 2015 09:58:38 GMT

Glacier-dominated mountains play a major role in providing water to large numbers of people. These glacier-dominated areas also pose unique challenges to downstream communities as they adapt to recent and continuing global climate change. Two of the more serious problems in high mountain regions include decreased water supply reliability and increased threats from glacial lake outburst floods (GLOFs), or moraine-dammed lakes left behind receding glaciers that can cause enormous downstream devastation if suddenly released by triggers such as an earthquake or overhanging ice.

This report details the lessons learned during the implementation of the High Mountains Adaptation Partnership (HiMAP)( project between March 2012 and June 2015. Located under the broader USAID Climate Change Resilient Development (CCRD) project, the goal of the HiMAP is to strengthen the climate change adaptation capacities of people who live in, or are dependent on, high mountain glacial watersheds and the ecosystem services which they provide. The document is intended to be a resource for USAID Missions, donors, practitioners, and NGOs interested in learning more about the challenges of working in remote and roadless high altitude regions, particularly in view of USAID’s growing portfolio of high mountain climate change adaptation, water management, biodiversity conservation, and livelihood improvement projects throughout the world.

The lessons learned should also be of interest to those seeking to learn more about the new and emerging field of urban mountain development; highland-lowland interactive systems; and science-based, community-driven adaptation and community development projects.

Linking attitudes, policy, and forest cover change in buffer zone communities of Chitwan National Park, Nepal

01 Sep 2015 03:26:33 GMT

This paper examines Nepal’s Master Plan for Nepal’s Forestry Sector (MPFS) and its effectiveness.

The results of the study are taken to suggest that since the MPFS was enacted, there was first a continued decrease in forest cover, followed by a significant increase overall. Survey results suggest a significant difference in attitudes toward forest conservation in the two areas studied, and in both study sites, participation in community forestry strengthened support for conservation, supportive forest conservation-related attitudes aligned with forest cover gain in recent years, and a negative relationship was found between economic status and having supportive attitudes. The results from the agent-based model (ABM) suggest that improving forest-related policies would have a dramatic effect on the forest cover over time, the ability for villages to cooperate will likely have little effect on forest cover, and population growth rate will likely have a significant effect on forest extent.

[Adapted from source]

Annotated bibliography on developmental states, political settlements and citizenship formation: towards increased state capacity and legitimacy?

22 Aug 2015 12:35:55 GMT

Policymakers and academics agree that an effective state is the foundation for inclusive development, whilst also recognising the critical role of non-state actors in the delivery of goods and services to poor people. This compilation demonstrates that recent research has offered important insights into the role of state-society relations and bargaining amongst elites in shaping development, and of the progressive role that informal forms of politics can sometimes play.

However, the author points that most governance research has tended to focus on either elitist or popular forms of politics (rarely both), to ignore the importance of global influences, and to deal with one-off case-studies. Yet, the paper underlines that full understanding the political process of globalisation and the retrenchment of the welfare state cannot be achieved without examining how these policies are experienced differentially on the ground.

The document argues that existing donor programmes fail to recognise the full potential of citizen engagement, resulting in lack of understanding of the complex relationship between citizens and the state that shapes governance outcomes. On the other hand, the inability of post-colonial states to move away from the colonial legacy and “depoliticise” cultural difference hinders processes of nation-building and gives rise to political and ethnic violence, particularly in Africa.

Research partnerships: the benefits of North–South collaboration

21 Aug 2015 02:31:10 GMT

Partnerships between Northern and Southern researchers are a powerful tool for studying problems of global change and for shaping development policies. North–South partnerships enable teams of researchers to focus on specific problems and to strengthen research capacities in developing countries. They also enable Southern researchers to contribute to their home countries as part of an international network. This issue of "evidence for policy" draws on recent publications from the National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South to illustrate how partnership benefits science and sustainable development.

Policy implications of NCCR North-South research:

  • partnerships support evidence-based policies Research partnerships are an ideal way for international donor agencies to generate policy-relevant knowledge for development. They enable teams of researchers from both developing and developed countries to collaborate with local people, development staff, and policymakers to identify solutions to pressing problems facing developing countries
  • partnerships improve research capacities in developing countries (and in the North) The exchange of experience between Northern and Southern researchers builds the expertise of both groups. As part of a team, Southern researchers are more likely to be able to publish their scientific results in renowned journals and to fulfil other international standards of research excellence
  • partnerships are an excellent way to fund research on global issues Complex, internationally relevant challenges such as global change and sustainable development are best studied in North–South partnerships. Sustained partnership networks are more capable of applying shared principles of transboundary research compared with short-term ad hoc partnerships


What does Nepal’s Old Age Allowance mean for the elderly? Evidence from Rolpa

21 Aug 2015 01:56:42 GMT

Introduced in 1994 by former Prime Minister Manmohan Adhikari, Nepal’s Old Age Allowance originally started as a monthly cash transfer of 100 Nepalese rupees to citizens of 75 years and above. Some years later, in 2008/09, this amount was increased to Rs 500 per month and eligibility was extended: members of the Dalit community and those living in the Karnali region aged over 60 years are now able to claim the allowance, as are other Nepalese citizens over the age of 70.

Today, Nepal’s Old Age Allowance is considered a core pillar of the state’s social protection system. However, questions regarding its effectiveness – and what it means for those receiving it – remain. More specifically, the impacts of the transfer on individual and household well-being as well as on recipients’ relationships with others (including the state) are not fully clear.

Drawing on primary research, this brief ‘situation paper’ explores these questions, concluding with some key recommendations for policy makers.

Key messages:

  • the Old Age Allowance is insufficient for fulfilling needs besides food, it would be beneficial to consider increasing the allowance from Rs 500
  • given the challenges many elderly people face in simply collecting their transfer, distributing the allowance through more localised ward-based offices would benefit recipients, as would home distributions by the Village Development Committee (VDC)
  • elderly people’s concerns around ethnicity and age eligibility barriers need to be considered by policy makers, especially as the Old Age Allowance is presented as a universally targeted scheme


Case study: Nepal’s agriculture, climate change and food security

13 Aug 2015 01:42:34 GMT

This brief is a country case study of Nepal produced alongside the DFID Topic Guide on Climate Change, Food Security and Agriculture. It highlights how climate change affects the situation of food security and agriculture in Nepal. The aim is to provide country offices with specific guidance on activities, barriers and opportunities for integrating climate change and Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) approaches within the national context.

Thia paper notes that:

  • Nepal’s government is aware and strongly committed to tackling climate change both nationally through programming, and internationally as chair of the Least Developed Countries Group in the international climate negotiations
  • this is despite, and because of its poverty Nepal is one of the poorest countries in the world, with an income of US $730 per capita and 25% of its population in poverty. It is highly dependent on remittances from overseas, with just under one third of its GDP from this source
  • Nepal’s Agriculture is important but seriously underdeveloped Agriculture is vitally important to Nepal, employing 65% of the workforce and generating over one third of the country’s GDP. However, Nepal does not grow enough food to support its population: 14% of the population are food insecure, and two thirds of the population are food insecure at certain points of the year


Strategic framework for resilient livelihoods in earthquake affected areas of Nepal

11 Aug 2015 03:59:46 GMT

This working paper explores the strategic choices and options for developing resilient livelihoods post-earthquake in Nepal.

The paper argues that a livelihood recovery strategy should adopt an integrated approach that brings together employment-intensive reconstruction work, the skill development of local people, enterprise development, microfinance, and social protection, as well as the capacity strengthening of government officials, local representatives, NGO workers, community-based organisations, and the private sector, to enable smooth and efficient recovery. For this a strong coordination mechanism is needed to maximize the various skills and resources of the multiple stakeholders involved in livelihood recovery. Finally, community empowerment is the centrepiece of rural livelihood recovery and key to sustainable and resilient livelihoods.

[Adapted from source]

Integrating indigenous, local and modern knowledge for sustainable conservation and management of forest ecosystems in Nepal

03 Aug 2015 04:20:39 GMT

This paper reports on the documentation and assessment of different community based traditional and local forest and pasture management practices, drawn from five case examples in five districts of Nepal.

These cases cover aspects including evolution, innovations, and adaptation processes. Using field-based shared learning approaches, the paper explores the challenges and opportunities of integrating, synergising, and complementing indigenous practices with modern scientific knowledge and technologies.

Climate change, as the newest driver of deforestation, forest land degradation in Nepal, has been impacting forest ecosystem by fragmenting habitats, altering species composition, changing growing season, lowering biomass productivity, and increasing risks of fires and floods. The paper highlights that indigenous peoples and local communities have been coping with these changes by using their indigenous local knowledge, skills, and practices (ILKP) and making them more adaptive and resilient.

[Adapted from source]

India and its Eastern neighbours: prospects for sub-regional cooperation

19 Jun 2015 09:08:30 GMT

South Asia is the fastest growing region in the world. The combined economy of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the third largest in the world in terms of GDP (PPP), with US and China ahead. SAARC countries make up around 21 percent of the total world population with around 1.7 billion people. India makes up for the majority of this region's area and population.

However, South Asia still remains one of the least integrated regions in the world: Intra-Regional Trade is dismally low compared to other regional trade blocs that are seeing fast growing trade. The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) was envisaged as the first step towards a Free Trade Area which would eventually lead towards a Customs Union, Common Market and Economic Union.

Membership of SAARC has not made any significant difference to the lives of people in the region over the years, a fact even acknowledged by the leaders of the member countries. This has been primarily due to bilateral differences between members of the group.

This Issue Brief focuses on the reasons for the need to have sub-regional integration and cooperation between the four South Asian countries—Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) It also looks at previous attempts made at sub-regional cooperation by countries in the region and the areas of potential cooperation.

Sub-regional cooperation in South Asia would give impetus to India's international trade and also make South Asia a stronger regional trade hub. India would significantly stand to gain in trade, investment, assistance, cooperation within the region, people-to-people contact and connectivity. The BBIN initiatives clearly reflect India's desire to integrate the South Asian economy. But, for the sub-regional grouping to succeed, a focused agenda along with more political will is needed.

Data mapping on ageing in Asia and the Pacific: analytical report

02 Jun 2015 03:20:46 GMT

Population ageing is an increasingly important demographic, social, and economic issue for researchers and policy makers throughout developing Asia prompting a need for data to monitor change and formulate evidence-based policies. There have been increasing endeavors in the Asia-Pacific region to collect information specifically related to older persons through representative surveys. These surveys are either broadly comprehensive or focus on particularly important domains, especially health. However, there is no systematic accounting of what the datasets address; to what extent different sources overlap or complement one another; how comparable they; and what data gaps remain. In addition, other data sources not specifically directed towards the older population can be useful in providing relevant information.

This study documents the existence of data related to ageing issues as provided by surveys of older persons, censuses, and Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) for 25 low- and middle-income Asia-Pacific countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, Cambodia, China, Cook Islands, DPR Korea, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Palau, Philippines, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Tonga, Thailand, Tuvalu, and Vietnam.

A role for innovation prizes to support adaptation to climate change?

29 May 2015 10:31:59 GMT

The aim of this paper is to examine the role of innovation prizes in supporting adaptation to climate change in the context of development, in view of two parallel trends: First, a growing interest in applying innovation prizes to international development, and second, the increasing focus on ensuring that adaptation funding and implementation are achieving the goals of supporting the poorest and most vulnerable groups. We analyse innovation prizes – their origin, recent trends, and adaptation experiences–against a pathways approach as well as characteristics of successful adaptation, in order to examine whether and under what conditions innovation prizes can play a positive role in supporting adaptation.

The study finds that while there is significant overlap in goals and mechanisms between innovation prizes and adaptation, key challenges remain in reconciling tensions that could exclude vulnerable or marginal groups from competing for, or benefiting from, innovation prizes. The paper proposes a set of actions to explore the possibilities of overcoming the challenges, which will be tested through two innovation prizes for improving the usability of climate information (Kenya) and scaling up innovation capabilities (Nepal).

Evaluation of Norway’s support to women’s rights and gender equality in development cooperation

27 May 2015 07:31:30 GMT

The report evaluates Norway’s support to strengthening women and girls ‘rights and gender equality through its development cooperation. It assesses the extent to which results have been achieved and whether they are in line with the Action plan for Women’s Rights and Gender Equality in development cooperation and its four thematic priorities. Political empowerment, economic empowerment, sexual and reproductive health rights and violence against women.

The evaluation covers the period 2007-2013 in includes a desk study of on the global dimensions of Norwegian development cooperation’s support to women’s rights and gender equality as well as three in-depth country case studies including Ethiopia, Mozambique and Nepal. In addition, a desk study of Norway’s gender aid to Zambia is conducted.

The evaluation is commissioned by the Evaluation Department in Norad and carried out by Swedish Institute for Development Cooperation (SIPU) in collaboration with Overseas Development Institute (ODI) and Chr Michelsen Institute.

Scientific Framework for ICIMOD’s Regional Programme on Adaptation to Change

18 May 2015 04:22:41 GMT

This working paper attempts to improve the connections between science, policy, practice, and stakeholders and to tackle challenges at the intersection of local, national, regional, and global change processes in the context of the Hindu Kush Himalayas (HKH).

The scientific framework consists of three main components – science, policy, and practice. – and is guided by six cornerstones: historical and contextual complexities, consequences, conditions and vision for change, interpretation and subjective sense-making, responsibilities, and governance and decision making. It is argued that these cornerstones, along with the science-policy-practice nexus and the theoretical focus on linking adaptation to vulnerability and resilience, position efforts within a wider understanding of the drivers of social-ecological change and of the vulnerabilities and specificities of the HKH region. The framework provides guidance on to how to address challenges, where to make contributions, and how to direct efforts towards the ‘burning questions’ facing the region.

Review of Norad´s Assistance to gender mainstreaming in the energy and petroleum sector 2010-2014

27 Mar 2015 05:04:24 GMT


A review of Norad’s assistance to gender mainstreaming in the energy and petroleum sector through the framework agreement with ENERGIA was conducted by Norconsult in 2014. The purpose of the Framework Agreement (2010 – 2014) was to provide Norad with high quality technical support for gender mainstreaming in Norwegian support to the energy- and petroleum sectors.

Key findings

Through the framework agreement Norad has supported a variety of mechanisms for gender mainstreaming and the review found that they have had different degrees of success. Norad has for example successfully raised the visibility of gender issues in the energy sector through analytical work in several countries. In Nepal, Norad used the framework agreement to provide gender inputs to programme appraisals and the experience shows that they are the most strategic and effective when they feed directly into sectoral plans and programme appraisals to inform funding decisions. In Nepal, Mozambique and Ethiopia, Norad has provided advise in the development of gender action plans with technical support from ENERGIA. These plans have a practical approach and focus on operational measures. The report concludes that effective implementation of the action plans will require continued investments in capacity building and support to enable the gender focal points to implement the plans in the respective national energy institutions. The review also found that the demonstration projects developed and implemented through the framework agreement have had mixed results.


Norconsult concludes that the framework agreement has been achieved in so far as that through the agreement, ENERGIA was able to provide Norad with relevant and effective expertise on integrating gender equality in the clean energy and petroleum sectors. Capacity building on gender mainstreaming takes time. Finally, the report recommends strengthening the integration of gender equality and human rights in the petroleum sector, specifically. In many countries, this emerging sector represents both risks and opportunities to the affected population groups, with different impacts on women and men. 

Helpdesk Report: Costing family planning delivery in Nepal

24 Mar 2015 10:49:14 GMT

It was not possible to identify a clear data set of rates for family planning interventions within the scope of this study. Relevant literature did not give very recent figures.

Two benchmark rates were reported for family planning costs in Nepal:

  • Thapa and Tsui (1990) estimated annual family planning costs of US$38.54 million per year to reach 1.6 million users in the year 2000, a 34% contraceptive prevalence rate
  • Vlassoff et al. (2004) reported that per user cost of family planning in Nepal for 1980 was US$80 (1987 dollars)

Comparing with other figures in the Vlassoff report US$80 seems very high. Per user figures for South East Asia are reported as both US$22 and US$8.  These two different figures represent cost per unmet user and cost per current user respectively. That two different figures are reported for the same region highlights the complexity of reading data on this issue.

Section 4 of the report gives references for tips and advice on costing family planning with:

  • details of a reproductive health costing tool from WHO
  • an article providing practical tips on costing family planning programmes at the clinic level
  • an article highlighting the difficulty with costing family planning as so little is known about service delivery costs

Section 5 contains background reading material on family planning programmes and costs. Section 6 provides some references on healthcare delivery in Nepal.