Report of Nepal’s Indigenous Peoples for Voluntary National Review of Nepal Under the UN High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development

The Shadow Report is prepared collectively by Indigenous Peoples’ Network for SDGs in Nepal to respond to the Voluntary National Review of Nepalese government under the UN High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, 10 – 19 July 2017. The report highlights progress of implementation of the SDGs in the country from the perspective of indigenous peoples. This includes challenges in SDGs implementation as well as recommendations from the network to the Nepalese government with regard to the realization of the SDGs.

Read the Executive Summary of the report below

This summary highlights the report submitted for Nepal’s Voluntary National Review during the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development being held from 10 to 19 July 2017 in UN headquarters New York.

Nepal is a diverse country in terms of ethnicity, languages, cultures, religions and geography. The recently promulgated 2015 Constitution of Nepal declares Nepal as multi-ethnic, multilingual, multi-religious, multi-cultural and with diverse regional characteristics. According to 2011 census, there are 125 caste/ethnic groups, 123 languages and 10 religious groups. Among them, indigenous peoples (IPs) comprise 35.8 percent of the total population.  Nepal has legally recognised 59 indigenous nationalities, referred to as Adivasi Janajati.

The 11 articles of the 2015 Constitution are against the rights of IPs, 23 articles are discriminatory to the IPs49 articles are exclusionary to them and 5 articles are tend to establish the supremacy of ruling caste groups. In this regard, the new Constitution affects the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) mainly in three ways to indigenous peoples of Nepal. First, the constitution lacks effective inclusion of all groups, including IPs, in state structures. Second, it lacks effective and meaningful participation of IPs at all levels including in decision making and thirdly, it excludes IPs’ issues and concerns that directly affect and question the mainstreaming of IPs at all levels of SDGs.

Indigenous peoples’ organizations of Nepal have collectively prepared this report. Several rounds of meeting were held and various reports and publications of government institutions, university and civil society organisations consulted in the course of preparation of the report.

The poverty level of the IPs is higher than that of the ruling caste groups. Among hill indigenous peoples, nearly one-fourth (24.6%) are living below the poverty line whereas the hill Brahmin’s poverty is 10.34%.[1]The major reason behind their poverty is the lack of recognition and promotion of their traditional occupation and lifestyles. Similarly, hunger is rampant among the marginalised indigenous communities; for instance, the Chepangs in the central Nepal constantly face food crisis and hunger. Early marriage, safe drinking water and access to modern toilet facilities are the major indicators of health and wellbeing. 35.48% IPs get married before the age of 18 and 82.32% IPs have access to safe drinking water where only 36.48% have access to modern toilet facilities.

Indigenous women are seeking for recognition of their distinct identity. But often they are ignored in the overall discussion on women, which disregards their specific concerns regarding access to economic opportunities and social and cultural development. The ruling caste women most often captured those opportunities for women. Industrialisation and infrastructure development project mostly initiated in the lands of IPs often disregard the right to information and Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) of IPs. Also, there is no mechanism established by the government and corporate sectors to ensure their right to FPIC.


[1] LAHURNIP (2014) A Study on the Socio-Economic Status of Indigenous Peoples in Nepal, P.27.

Click here to download full report.

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