In 2006 the Comprehensive Peace Agreement ended a decade long conflict in Nepal. While some progress has been made, the country has been unable to reach political consensus on a number of statebuilding issues, leading to the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly in May 2012.
The prolonged political transition in Nepal hit a major setback in May 2012 when the Constituent Assembly was dissolved. This has overshadowed some of the achievements of the peace process such as the discharge, voluntary retirement, and integration of Maoist ex-combatants. People's confidence in political leaders is at its lowest level for some years. The president has declared the current government's status as that of a caretaker and the majority of the political parties including the Nepali Congress and the United Communists Party Nepal (Marxist-Leninist) are determined to bring it down.
Political debates around state restructuring, the contentious issue that led to the dissolution of the Constituent Assembly, sparked identity-based tensions (such as ethnicity and caste) around the country including numerous bandhas (strikes) by different groups either opposing or demanding a state based on identity. The split in the Maoist party which has resulted in the formation of a hard-line faction pursuing the continuation of the ‘people’s revolution’ has created further uncertainties about Nepal’s future. This high level of uncertainty makes projects and policies that are conflict and gender-sensitive – and owned by local people – even more relevant.
Saferworld established an office in Nepal in 2009. We work on promoting cooperative approaches to community safety, understanding the relationship between gender, peace and security and supporting key actors in making the security and justice sector more gender-responsive and conflict-sensitive.
A cooperative approach to community safety
In partnership with the Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC), and in a consortium with other partners, we are working in four districts of Nepal to improve community safety and advocate for more gender-responsive safety provision. We are supporting local people to engage with the police and local authorities so they tackle their security concerns together; and with civil society to advocate for more gender-responsive safety provision. We use the findings from these projects to influence district and national level policy and practice.
Researching public perceptions of security
We have been conducting annual public perception surveys for four years in partnership with Interdisciplinary Analysts. These surveys have informed the approach of security agencies, government actors, civil society organisations and international actors contributing to Nepal’s peace and development programmes.
Understanding gender and security
In 2010, Saferworld researched the different concerns and needs of male and female Maoist Army combatants as they return to civilian life. Based on this research we recommended specific rehabilitation options for women and men, several of which have been adopted by the Nepali government.
In 2011 we supported the development of the Nepal National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 which focus on women, peace and security, and have continued to support the implementation of the NAP in 2012 by assessing current M&E provisions and how they could be made ‘fit for purpose’.
A Saferworld docudrama released in early 2012 is raising awareness of the positive role women can play in policing. It has been screened in 20 districts, with support from local partner MIREST and broadcast on national TV channels. The awareness it is generating is helping to improve working conditions for female police officers, change social perceptions towards women working in policing, and encouraging women to report violence to the police.
In a current project with IHRICON and other consortium partners, Saferworld is working with platforms involving civil society and government stakeholders in 2 districts to advocate for more gender-responsive security and justice provision.
This map is intended for illustrative purposes only. Saferworld takes no position on whether this representation is legally or politically valid.
Inspired by real life events, we have produced a short film showing the important role women in Nepal can play in providing security, particularly in the police force.
More than 19,000 Maoist Army combatants are living in cantonments in Nepal waiting to be integrated into security agencies or to return back to civilian life. In 2010 we conducted an assessment investigating the different needs, concerns and priorities of male and female combatants.
Nepal's vulnerability to climate change is increasing. In response to this we have helped make local adaptation plans in the country more conflict sensitive. Ivan Campbell, a senior advisor at Saferworld, talks to the Environment, Conflict and Cooperation Platform about the project.