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The Carter Center Reports That Public Perception of Local Governance in Nepal Has Improved; Undue Influence of Political Parties Continues

Read the full report (PDF)

CONTACT: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404-420-5124

In a report released today, The Carter Center reports that public perception of local governance has improved over the past year. However, mismanagement of local-level budgets and the persistent role of political parties in influencing local development priorities remain, posing a significant challenge to local development and governance.

The report also makes a series of recommendations to the government of Nepal, political parties, civil society organizations, and the international public for local elections, governance, and development.

"The Carter Center has found that many citizens believe that the quality of local governance has improved in the past year, particularly since the dissolution of the All Party Mechanism in January 2012. Center observers also noted that many bureaucratic mechanisms designed to increase the role of women, marginalized group representatives, and citizens in general appear to have been relatively successful in boosting local-level participation," said David Hamilton, field office director for The Carter Center in Kathmandu.

"However, significant obstacles that have skewed local development priorities and hampered the quality of service delivery remain in place. The voices of disadvantaged group representatives appear to be ignored when final decisions on local priorities are made," said Hamilton.

The report, based on field observations between February and August 2013, found increased levels of public participation in mechanisms such as Ward Citizen Forums and a perception that money was spent on more local governance projects of need in the local area.

The majority of citizens interviewed for the report claim that local governance still faces challenges, including reduced or late budget disbursals, redirection of funds earmarked for disadvantaged groups, and absenteeism of local government officials.

Carter Center observers also reported that political parties remain engaged in local governance, although how they affect the process appears to be more uncertain since the dissolution of the All Party Mechanism. Of the citizens interviewed, the majority wanted to hold local elections as soon as possible, as they believed it would make local bodies more accountable. With the completion of the second Constituent Assembly election on Nov. 19, 2013, the issue of holding local elections also has regained momentum.

Additional findings of the report:

  • Disadvantaged groups reportedly participated during the planning and implementation of local projects, although the impact of this participation remains in doubt.
  • Although civil society and political party representatives were positive about the role of Ward Citizen Forums in increasing citizens' participation in the planning process, interviewed citizens raised concerns about the quality of participation and/or the ability of Ward Citizen Forums to prioritize projects.
  • Most Nepalis have limited knowledge of planning and budget allocation for local governance, with few knowing about Ward Citizen Forums and even less of Citizen Awareness Centers.

Read the full report (PDF) >

"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. Please visit 
www.cartercenter.org to learn more about The Carter Center.

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