Backstopping the Capacity Development of Sub-National Governments in Nepal for Improved Service Delivery and Democratization


Project Director: Trilochan Pokharel

Project Description
This program is envisaged in the context of the lack of capacity in institutional, political, and ‘substantive’ delivery aspects of the emerging sub-national governance in Nepal. While the
country has had local government, bodies instituted for some decades now, and a considerable effort has been made over the past two decades from the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local
Development (MOFALD) and line ministries, with significant involvement of donor agencies, on improving governance and service delivery at the local level. However, these initiatives were
undertaken mostly in relation to the decentralization framework. But the local and state level governments provisioned under the new constitution of 2015 comprise a significant break from
the ‘unitary’ structure of the past and the frameworks designed for the decentralization framework are insufficient and not tailored to the new set up. As opposed to very limited powers
and resources and weak institutional arrangement of the past, the new constitution makes a vertical separation of powers, duties and functions across three tiers of jurisdictions—comprising
the local, state, and federal levels—by conferring an expanded range of unique and concurrent powers onto the local and state-level structures. These powers and duties have a considerable
force of law, as these are clearly spelled out in the constitution itself. However, there is very limited practical experience of delivering these mandates for legislative, executive and quasijudicial
functions and service delivery on one hand, and of steering the political process of engaging whole-of-society viewpoints and capacity on the other. Through this concept note, we
propose a scheme on how NASC and Niti, as capacity building and policy institutions, can contribute to an understanding of and facilitation for the orderly transition toward a more
transparent, and accountable governance and open and democratic politics at the local and state levels.
Objectives of the project are as follows:
• Understand and map the political transition involving the transfer of power to local and state governments through the election and post-election processes over the mediumterm.
• Convene engagements with elected local government officials into a process of envisioning better governance, planning and effective service delivery.
• strengthen the capacity development of elected officials through specific, civil service personnel.
• Improve sub-national governance by supporting systems and processes/procedures at provincial and local levels.
• Engage with and support demand side actors for greater citizen voice for accountability and transparency.
• Support institution-building for networking, learning and collaborative planning across local governments.
Major Outputs
1. Emerging political analysis of education governance 
Team: Punya Prasad Neupane (Principal Researcher), Trilochan Pokharel, Trilochan Poudyal, Ishwari Ghimire, Hari Dhungana, Anil Gupta & Anita Poudel
2. Emerging political economy analysis of post-earthquake reconstruction
Team: Trilochan Pokharel (Principal Researcher), Mohan Das Manandhar, Achala Dahal, Tara Prasad Kharel, Rameshwor Bhandari & Bishal Chalise
3. Crash course for local government official
Team: Rajendra Adhikari (Team Leader), Gyan Laxmi Shrestha