Nation ranks 142; lowest in South Asia

KATHMANDU: Three years after it emerged from a decade-long

civil war, Nepal is plagued by ineffective governance and frustrated People’s

Liberation Army (PLA) combatants and needs

lasting peace to develop, according to a United

Nations report that was

unveiled here today.

The Nepal Human Development Report 2009 said the underlying causes of conflict - such as poverty and discrimination on the basis of caste and ethnicity - remained unresolved.

“Ineffective government, internally displaced people and frustrated combatants are some of the outcomes of conflict and these have yet to be tackled,” the UN said in a statement.

“Deepening democracy and strengthening the rule of law are critical in order to give peace a chance of success,” it said.

When it comes to the Human Development Index, Nepal ranks lowest in South Asia with a value of 0.534 on a scale of 1, placing the country 142 out of 176 countries. Life expectancy in Nepal is 63 years, while the literacy rate is 52 per cent. Life expectancy for the dalits and other disadvantaged groups like ethnic minorities, Muslims and women was much lower.

“Following the Comprehensive Peace Accord, the government of Nepal has already launched inclusive political and socio-economic programmes to make a prosperous, modern and just Nepal,” claimed Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada, vice-chairman, National Planning Commission, at a programme to launch the report.

“The message is that

the ‘absence of war’ will alone neither assure a lasting peace nor deliver prosperity,” said Robert Piper, UN resident representative in Nepal. “If Nepal’s transition is about changing these profound patterns of exclusion and inequity then the transition has barely started,” he added.