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Nepal Case Study for European Report on Development

At a validation workshop on “Nepal Case Study For European Report on Development”, organized by South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) and Center for the Study of Labour and Migration (CESLM), experts highlighted the role of development framework in post 2015 era and stressed on the need to better utilize development support in both the unmet MDG targets and in new areas such as climate change and sustainable development.

The study is a part of the European Report on Development (ERD), an annual report commissioned by the European Commission since 2009 that looks at the course of development cooperation in several socio-economic areas. The focus of the ERD 2012-2013 – the fourth in the series – is “Development in a Changing World: Elements for a Post-2015 Global Agenda.” A consortium of three European development institutes, namely, the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), the German Development Institute (DIE) and the European Centre for Development Policy Management (ECDPM) will be preparing the report.

MDG targets are helping to galvanize global support and mobilizing resources accordingly. “In post 2015 era, meeting some of the MDG targets will still remain a challenge, which will require development partners to reorient their development interventions keeping in mind the changing actors and new challenges like climate change and the impact of financial crisis,” said Dr. Prosh Raj Pandey, Executive Chairman of SAWTEE.

Highlighting the objective of the study, Dr. James Mackie, Senior Adviser EU Development Policy and lead author of European Report on Development 2013, said that it aims to evaluate progress made so far in meeting MDG targets, learn from the experiences and use it to frame post 2015 development agenda. “The goal is to think beyond MDGs and aid in order to suggest a framework for the future, and in Nepal’s case the relationship between Nepal the EU development cooperation.” The three main themes are aid and finance, trade and investment and migration.

The present ERD is in its fourth edition and is aimed at policy oriented study to bridge the gap between research and policymaking related to development initiatives. “The deadline for 2015 is close and not all MDG targets will be met. It is good time for ERD to think about post 2015 framework for development initiatives and support mobilization,” stated Mr. Lluis Navarro, Head of Operation, Delegation of the EU to Nepal. He remarked that the post 2015 development framework needs to look at framing support of both traditional as well as new donors in relation to the needs of recipient country.  

Dr. Yubraj Khatiwada, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, said that donors need to focus on hardware aspects as well because “in the absence of infrastructure, mobilizing development support in soft areas, including rights issues, will not be fruitful. There is a need to create enabling environment for economic growth so that domestic revenue mobilization could finance social protection and human security related development activities.” He emphasized on the need to refocus development efforts and social progress agenda so that they don’t undermine economic growth. So far, both donors and the government have been unable to fully meet their commitments in both financing and governing the needed development initiatives, he said.

Co-presenting the major findings of the report Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari, Chief Executive Director of SAWTEE, stressed upon the need to scale up absorptive capacity and need assessment, strop frequent transfer of staff in government bureaucracy and increase ownership of development projects. In the international level he said that development partnership should provide enabling environment, not intrude on policy space. Other aid and finance related interventions include continuing ODA numerical target of 0.7% of  GNI, additional funding for Aid for Trade and climate finance and targeting foreign aid in productive sectors. Regarding trade and investment, at the domestic level the emphasis is on addressing supply-side constraints and at the international level the emphasis is on promoting regional investment agreement, resolve definitional complexity related to AfT, promoting trade and investment nexus, and source one percent of developed country imports from LDCs, among others. On the technology front, the emphasis was on increasing expenditure on research and development to one percent of GDP and at the international level the focus should be on easing technology transfer and adoption, among others.

Another presenter, Dr. Bandita Sijapati, Research Director at Center for the Study of Labour and Mobility, focused on migration and argued that at the domestic level if migration is unavoidable then migrant’s rights and welfare have to be protected. At the international level, Sijapati emphasized on promoting initiatives that would help channel remittances into productive sectors and strengthen regional initiatives to secure rights and welfare of migrants, among others.

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