‘Uneven distribution of population a challenge’

  • The report says emerging urban areas are growing slowly

Kathmandu, November 21

Managing rapid urbanisation in Nepal has become challenging due to uneven distribution of the urban population and there is rapid pace of urbanisation in major cities due to the availability of basic services and employment opportunities in the rural areas, states a report.

According to the report ‘Inclusive Cities: Resilient Communities’ recently published by the Ministry of Urban Development, emerging urban areas are growing very slowly.

In this regard, implementation of the National Urban Policy, 2007 has not been effective in directing growth to selected towns for balanced urbanisation.

The policy is not backed by adequate investments in urban development or priority-based comprehensive investment plans linked with the national urban system as later envisaged in the National Urban Development Strategy, 2015.

“The severely limited technical and financial capabilities of local bodies and inefficient institutional arrangement at the central level have also impeded the integration of the NUP into sectoral plans and programmes leading to inefficient investment, duplication and delays in project implementation,” it reads.

Investment in various infrastructure projects is not integrated with inter-urban economic linkages, strategy for development of key sectors for local economic base, and rural-urban linkages.

The report said despite gradual change in resource constraints by exploring external sources from funding agencies, assigning priority to the urban sector and allocating adequate resource is still a big challenge. Difficulty in accessing land, insufficient budget allocation and limited institutional capacity for capital investment in urban infrastructure have remained major challenges in developing new towns and growth points.

“Urban development plans are generally prepared using participatory approach in which women participate. However it is seen that the real participation of women, especially of the marginalised and disadvantaged ones, is not encouraging in terms of making their voices heard,” the report states.

According to the report, despite the formulation and implementation of various policies, programmes and projects, internalising them into the working policies of concerned agencies will be challenging for a considerable period in future.

They will require, among others, the placing of special units/sections under appropriate organisational setting, adequate authority and resources to implement plans and programmes, recognising cross-cutting nature of the job and building on institutional memory. Another future challenge includes ensuring real participation of the poorest of the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised women in urban planning and development.