The author is a founding board member of Nepal Policy Institute, an independent non-political international think tank, and a former staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
We are not sacrosanct to global events and sustain some forms of impact because Nepal heavily depends on imports of basic food items. It is difficult to foresee how Nepal will navigate through this at the end of the economic tunnel of the projected high growth and join the club with other middle-income countries like China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, for example.
Supreme Court of Nepal has delivered a landmark verdict reconfirming the protection of Nepali citizens wherever they are in times of pandemic. This comes at times of rising corruption in government involving the procurement of life-saving personal protection equipment urgently needed for the protection of frontline health workers. Transferring procurement responsibility to Nepal Army does not resolve the crises which emerged from governance failures. This action only reflects the government’s move to deflect public attention and scrutiny away from government inefficiency.
Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. Major climate stressors here are rising temperatures, increased floods, landslides and droughts. All major rivers, the agricultural lifelines, receive freshwater supply from melting snows and glaciers, and seasonal monsoon rainfall. Changes in the length, intensity and the amount of water flow in these river systems will adversely affect the population, eco-systems and biodiversity. Situation will be dire for majority of Nepal’s population who live in rural areas and survive on small-scale agriculture.
Political economy and interdependence refer to bonding relationships where parties mutually rely on each other, adapting to better management of harmony, togetherness and autonomy. This requires letting go co-dependence, ego and extreme independence. However, socio-cultural environmental norms teach us to be strong, never to be weak or reveal weaknesses to others or depend on others. Growing up in such a socio-cultural setting might keep us disconnected from developments and trends occurring elsewhere.
A follow-up interaction session between National Planning Commission (NPC), attended by a senior member of the commission, and Nepal Policy Institute (NPI) was held in Bangkok on May 29 this year. During the session, NPI recalled priority issues which were proposed as development planning goals in areas of (1) food security, for Nepal’s imports of basic food items have not abated (2) lifting restrictions on foreign direct investment and (3) inducting economic diplomacy as top foreign policy instrument.
Last March one event related to the preparation of long-term periodic development plan for Nepal was discussed at the Development Council chaired by Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli. Earlier to that, Nepal Policy Institute (NPI), together with some Nepali diaspora scholars, had organized an interaction program in Bangkok with Vice-Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC) and senior government officials.