DFID's bilateral programme in Nepal - International Development Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

DFID's work

1.  DFID has a broad portfolio of programmes in Nepal. We commend DFID Nepal for reducing their number and for examining the coherence of its livelihoods and communities' programmes. We recommend that in its response to this report, DFID report on the findings of this examination. (Paragraph 23)

2.  The Minister of Finance of GoN told us that he would like DFID to make roads and power an even greater priority; these are vital for Nepal, but we see DFID's task as using its influence as the world's largest provider of ODA to ensure they invest significantly in these sectors. We broadly support DFID's current bilateral portfolio, but DFID must ensure that its programmes are in line with the priorities of GoN and that it is aware of the political implications of its work. (Paragraph 24)

Climate change and disaster reduction

3.  Given the threats to Nepal from climate change and earthquakes, we welcome DFID's focus on these issues. We were particularly impressed by the community forestry programme which shows the advantages of working in the area for several decades. We support DFID's decision to give more emphasis to livelihoods in its forestry programmes. We support DFID's encouragement of solar power and recommend that this be a priority. However, we consider DFID's work on disaster resilience is on too small a scale. We recommend DFID engage with the Government of Nepal in urban planning, including transport planning. This is an area where UK has considerable expertise. If necessary, DFID Nepal should employ an additional adviser. (Paragraph 38)

Economic development

4.  We commend DFID for providing technical support for the Investment Board of Nepal when no other donors were willing to do so. Nepal seems about to construct two major hydro-electric schemes which will help address the country s chronic power shortages. If traditional political problems are overcome and these schemes are successful, the Nepalese economy could be transformed and DFID could begin to develop an exit strategy, perhaps within five years of their successful completion. We note the technical and design issues are still being considered and recommend DFID urge the Government of Nepal to ensure water storage is included in such schemes. (Paragraph 56)

5.  Nepal has huge potential to benefit from tourism and the jobs it brings. We welcome DFID's support for this industry in the Nepal Market Development Programme and recommend it expands this area of its work. We further recommend that CDC assess the potential for investment in tourism in Nepal. (Paragraph 57)

Governance and corruption

6.  DFID has provided significant funds for Elections in Nepal but not for the Constituent Assembly. We support DFID's decision to drop support for elections; other donors can fund them. We recommend DFID provide support for Parliament as soon as elections have been held, focusing on support for women MPs and committees. We recommend DFID support local elections through its existing local government programmes if possible, not least because the absence of local elections is seen as a source of corruption. (Paragraph 62)

7.  Corruption is endemic in Nepal. We welcome ICAI's decision to make Nepal a case study in its Anti-corruption Inquiry. DFID Nepal has responded robustly to ICAI's report, criticising its methodology; ICAI has accepted that the wording of the report gave too much weight to survey material, but has defended its conclusions. We recommend our successor Committee discuss with ICAI the contractors it plans to use in its inquiries and the proposed methodology. We do not see the use of local NGOs in place of the state as a panacea; in corrupt societies the NGOs can also be corrupt. If Nepal is to become less corrupt, improvements have to be made to state institutions. We recommend that DFID continue to work through state institutions, but ensure funding is linked to improvements in performance. DFID's large budget in Nepal can only be justified if there are such improvements. (Paragraph 74)

8.  Increasingly DFID's bilateral programmes are in the world's most corrupt and fragile countries. How to work in these corrupt and fragile countries is increasingly one of DFID's biggest problems and will be one of the biggest challenges facing not only DFID but also those charged with its oversight, including our successor Committee, ICAI and the NAO. We recommend they make this a priority in the next Parliament. (Paragraph 75)


9.  Nepal has made remarkable progress in its health systems in recent years. We recommend that DFID maintain its policy of using sector budget support in Nepal, which should be linked to continuing improvements, and effective steps to safeguard UK money from corrupt misuse. (Paragraph 81)

10.  Power supplies to health posts are a serious problem. If health posts cannot chill their medicines or power their lights they become much less effective. We recommend that DFID reviews this part of its programme and assesses whether greater use can be made of solar power. (Paragraph 85)

11.  We are concerned about reports of absenteeism at the Ministry of Health in Nepal. This should raise alarm bells about whether corrupt officials are paying 'ghost workers' or failing to take disciplinary action when staff are absent. We recommend that DFID use its influence in the Ministry of Health to require improvements in the attendance of civil servants at the Ministry. If this does not happen very quickly, the UK's budget support should be gradually withdrawn. (Paragraph 89)

12.  We recommend that DFID works to improve links between health sectors in the UK and Nepal and that Nepal be included in the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS). We further recommend that DFID improve links between its health advisors and the NHS, and assess the desirability of a short secondment to the NHS for its health advisor in Nepal. (Paragraph 92)

Water and sanitation

13.  We welcome DFID's support for the GWS and recommend that the scheme be expanded with a brief to work with the poorest communities, including considering working with the Terai, and not only in areas with Gurkha connections. We recommend that the GWS share its knowledge and expertise with the Nepali Government, and other WASH providers, in order to improve access to WASH across the country. This might be done by secondments of Nepali Government engineers to the GWS. (Paragraph 99)

Women and girls

14.  We recommend that in implementing its centrally-managed programme on early marriage in Nepal, DFID ensure that is well-integrated with its bilateral programmes and draws on DFID's experience, not only from South Asia and also from around the world. (Paragraph 107)

15.  While the situation of women in some countries in the region may be worse, Nepalese women face many problems and severe discrimination. We recommend that DFID address this issue by encouraging a change in social norms which currently discourage the use of contraception in some communities and encourage harmful practices, including child marriage and domestic violence. We also recommend that DFID encourages education of young girls and boys in schools to instil a greater sense of worth for women in general. We recommend that DFID continue to support community groups which can play a key role in changing social norms. (Paragraph 126)

16.  Great strides have been made in the provision and use of family planning, but certain groups such as Dalit and Muslim communities have high fertility rates and low use of contraception. We recommend that DFID looks at innovative ways in which contraception use can be increased. This is not just a matter of distributing contraceptives. (Paragraph 127)

17.  We recommend that in its Security and Justice programme, DFID ensures it places sufficient emphasis on engagement with community groups and the education system to change social norms and to encourage greater awareness of the legal age of marriage. (Paragraph 128)

18.  We are very concerned about selective abortion of female foetuses. We recommend that DFID carefully monitor male to female birth ratios for changes since the 2011 census. (Paragraph 129)

19.  We recommend that DFID encourage the Nepali police to introduce training for police officers in relation to women-specific issues, such as sexual violence, and to improve their mechanisms for collecting statistics of gender-based crime (both reported and prosecuted). (Paragraph 130)

20.  We are concerned that the high rate of suicide amongst women and girls and their mental health is not being addressed; we recommend that DFID review the issue and discuss with GoN how it best be tackled. (Paragraph 131)

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Prepared 27 March 2015