Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) in November 2006, the Government of Nepal has taken important steps towards forging consensus on key contentious issues, mitigating conflict in the country and successfully completing its democratic transition. In this complex transition period, a key step is drafting a new Constitution, which will be the foundation for a new system based on inclusive power sharing, social justice and progressive state restructuring. The UNDP aims to assist the Government of Nepal, political parties and civil society organizations to successfully navigate the challenging transitional period. To do this, the UNDP in Nepal created the Democratic Transition Unit (DTU), which is comprised of two projects: i) the Conflict Prevention Programme (CPP); and ii) Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN).
Although the current political climate is complicated, it seems possible that an agreement on a first draft of the new Constitution will be produced in the first quarter of 2015. Concerted efforts have been made to build on the decision of the first Constituent Assembly (CA) that was formed in 2008 and draft a Constitution that includes the commitments made in the CPA and the Interim Constitution that was drafted in 2007. While gaps on key contentious issues of the Constitution have been narrowed, differences still remain between the key political parties on finding an appropriate balance between recognizing identity and viability as the basis for the federal design. Through its two projects, the Support to Participatory Constitution Building in Nepal (SPCBN) and the Conflict Prevention Programme (CPP), UNDP Nepal aims to assist the Government of Nepal, political parties and civil society organizations to successfully navigate the challenging transitional period.
UNDP in Nepal has been actively supporting the most important agenda for the country, the Constitution making through its SPCBN project. Nepal awaits a new Constitution that brings the country’s traditionally excluded groups into the political and social mainstream, which is fundamental for the resolution of conflict. UNDP has supported the establishment of the Centre for Constitutional Dialogue (CCD) in the capital- Kathmandu, providing a democratic dialogue space for individuals, communities and political groups to participate in Constitution making. The project has been instrumental in informing the citizens and key stakeholders about the Constitution making process through democratic dialogues organised at the village level directly with the communities and through television and radio programmes.
UNDP launched the Conflict Prevention Programme (CPP) in 2010 to support the prevention, mitigation and management of conflicts at the central and local levels which it aims to achieve through collaborative leadership and dialogue and ‘Do No Harm’ approach. The programme is working to ensure that development initiatives are designed, implemented and monitored in a conflict sensitive way that maximizes peace building impacts. CPP is designed to assist the government and key stakeholders in engaging in meaningful and constructive dialogue on contentious issues of transition, address tensions in districts/regions that are sensitive through its Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue approach, to identify sources of conflict through an early warning system and develop a mechanism for an early response, and to train organizations to mainstream Conflict Sensitivity (CS) into their approaches. The programme is also supporting the Government to develop a conflict Early Warning/Early Response (EWER) system to address the emergence of localized tensions in timely and constructive manner.
Through its two programmes, the UNDP’s key areas of work related to democratic transition are:
- Promoting participatory dialogues on political, resource and identity-based (PRI) conflicts and developing shared agendas through Collaborative Leadership and Dialogue (CLD)
- Developing Early Warning and Early Response (EWER) system to detect, analyse and manage emerging conflicts at the local level
- Mainstream Conflict Sensitive (CS) policies and programmes in key Government agencies/training academies and the UNCT
- Narrow down contentious issues between political parties in the Constitution drafting process
- Engage with civil society and excluded groups and ensure their meaningful participation in the Constitution making process