Assessing the Impacts of Advocacy Initiatives On Indigenous Peoples’ Development Agenda in Nepal
Focusing on the Fifteenth Five-Year Plan 2019/20- 2023/24
The indigenous peoples of Nepal have been constantly advocating for inclusive and justifiable development in the nation. It is plausible to maintain inclusive democracy, equality and prosperity. Nepal has witnessed discrimination and oppression against historically marginalized communities based on ethnicity, race, sex, region, religion. Indigenous Peoples of Nepal is one of the major sections of the society; accommodate approx. 35.81% national population, marginalized from the development process of the nation.
Meaningful participation of historically marginalized communities in the planning process is inevitable to ensure equal development of all sections of the society. For that, the periodic plan of the government of Nepal is expected to be inclusive from its planning process to implementation and monitoring. But it is far from the aspirations of the indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities. However, indigenous peoples have been collectively acting to ensure the planning document inclusive and participatory.
For this, the indigenous peoples’ organization, National Foundation for Development of Indigenous Nationalities (NFDIN); Nepal Federation of Indigenous Nationalities (NEFIN), National Indigenous Women’s Federation (NIWF); Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal (YFIN, Nepal); Nepal Indigenous Disabled Association (NIDA); Federation of Nepalese Indigenous Nationalities Journalists’ (FoNIJ); Lawyers’ Association for Human Rights of Nepalese Indigenous Peoples (LAHURNIP); have restlessly worked to support the National Planning Commission and intervene in the planning process to make it inclusive. Remarkably, the hard work of Dr. Chaitanya Subba, former member of NPC, and his team has been instrumental to prepare a concrete document. Most importantly, these organizations have collectively prepared a “Proposed Five Years (2019/20 – 2023/24) Indigenous Peoples’ Development Plan” and presented it to the respective authority responsible for the preparation of the Fifteenth Plan (Fiscal Year 2019/20 – 2023/24), such as NPC, planning commissions in the provinces and local governments. In the course of preparing this document consultations have been made with the representatives of NPC, provincial governments, local governments, indigenous peoples organizations from federal to local levels. Basically, the document is prepared to enhance inclusive development and democracy.
The Indigenous Navigator- a set of tools to systematically monitor the level of recognition and implementation of the rights of Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, 1989 (ILO C. 169) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) are guiding international human rights instruments pertaining to indigenous peoples for the formulation of this document.
The present report is the comparative analysis of the final planning document of the government of Nepal and the proposed fifth-year plan of the indigenous peoples. The first chapter deals with the details of the proposed indigenous peoples’ development to be incorporated in the NPC’s 15th Plan. It was prepared as a development advocacy document for Nepalese indigenous peoples to pursue all three levels of government, primarily focusing on central (federal level) government. For this purpose, it was widely used. The second chapter contains the major development outlines of five years of the Government’ 15 Plan that are directly and indirectly related to indigenous peoples Assessing the Impacts of Advocacy Initiatives on Indigenous Peoples’ Development Agenda v (Janajati/Asivasi Janajati/ disadvantaged communities/marginalized and endangered ethnicities). Apparently, it is evident that after the persistent initiatives of indigenous peoples many issues/ demands and activities, which were presented to the NPC in time, have been accommodated to some extent in the planning document. However, the demand of a separate section for the development of indigenous peoples in the five-year plan document of government has not been accepted. The planning document lately published has indicated that there are some spaces for the incorporation of indigenous development demands in future for which IPOs should strive continuously. The third chapter presents a glimpse of the analysis of the development strategies and working policies scattered throughout the 15th plan document which are the bases of planned programs or projects. In the chapter, it is argued that such consideration is a positive signal and set precedents for future interventions in the planning process of the government. The final chapter provides, to a considerable extent, the scenario of the achievements of indigenous peoples’ Sustainable Development Goals compared to other caste and ethnic groups of the country despite limited disaggregated data by caste, ethnicity and gender. The chapter divulges that the asymmetry in the distribution of achievements of SDGs across different caste, ethnic, cultural and gender groups persist following the patterns and trends of the historical hierarchical caste system in the national benefit-sharing, the higher the caste status, the higher the share in sustainable development achievements or national outputs and the lower the caste status the lowest share in development achievements or national outputs.
Dr. Chaitanya Subba, Former member of NPC
Tahal B. Thami, Director, LAHURNIP
Durga Mani Rai (Yamphu), LAHURNIP
Manoj Rai (Aathpahariya), LAHURNIP