Nepal shares technical expertise with Timor-Leste on conflict sensitivity

Training in progress
The training in progress.

“The idea of South-South Cooperation makes a lot of sense where even countries usually boxed as recipients only can be providers of support.”


In what was among the few instances of South-South cooperation and triangular cooperation flowing out of Nepal, experts from Nepal have shared valuable technical knowhow on conflict-sensitivity with the Timor-Leste officials working on peace building.


The training-cum-study visit organized in early September 2013 was one of the few instances of cooperation between the two Asian countries emerging from prolonged conflicts. While Timor-Leste experienced a conflict in the wake of violent separation from Indonesia in 1999, Nepal witnessed a decade-long Maoist insurgency (1996-2006) that left 16,000 dead and thousands displaced.


Facilitated by UNDP in Nepal’s Conflict Prevention Project (CPP) and its Timor-Leste counterpart, the Nepali team trained 28 officials of Timor-Leste’s Ministry of Social Solidarity on integrating conflict sensitivity, especially the “Do No Harm approaches in development programming.


The training follows a UNDP-facilitated study tour of Timor-Leste officials to Nepal in early August 2013 which was led by the Minister for Social Solidarity Ms. Isabel Amaral Guterres.


After their return the Nepali delegation said the training they delivered in Timor-Leste provided them a new level of confidence and that they are now able to share technical knowhow on conflict sensitivity to more countries undergoing similar post-conflict transition.


“The idea of South-South Cooperation makes a lot of sense where even countries usually boxed as recipients only can be providers of support,” said Rajendra Adhikari, a Nepali trainer in the team. Mr. Adhikari, a permanent staff at Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC), was one of the first 17 Nepal Government officials trained by UNDP’s CPP.


Nepal has started successfully mainstreaming conflict sensitivity into all development programs. Timor-Leste is trying to replicate Nepal’s experience in mainstreaming conflict sensitivity in all government ministries, in both programming and policy works.


“I believe the training has prepared groundwork for Timor-Leste to add the new dimension of conflict sensitivity in its efforts to secure a lasting peace,” said Technical Advisor for UNDP’s Conflict Prevention Program in Nepal, Ms. Pressia Arifin-Cabo.


Nepali trainers’ team comprised five senior trainers from Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC), Local Development Training Academy (LDTA) and National Center for Educational Development (NCED), the three training institutes with which CPP has build a long term partnership.


In early 2013, UNDP Nepal’s conflict prevention project trained 17 senior officials from 11 government training institutes, including NASC, LDTA and NCED, on conflict-sensitivity. In the last few months, the Training of Trainers (TOT) graduates at NASC, LDTA and NCED have jointly trained hundreds of senior and mid career officers working at different ministries and departments.


“With the experience and skills we have acquired over the years, our national training institutions have developed a cutting-edge training module on conflict-sensitivity,” said Mr. Deepak Thapa, who represented LDTA in the Timor-Leste visit. It makes perfect sense for us to share with countries that may benefit from our experience, he said.


“The study tour to Timor-Leste and the training we delivered were a great learning experience for us as well,” said Ms. Kunti Adhikari, a trainer from NCED. “What this actually tells is Nepal, as a post-conflict country, does have some replicable stories, skills and models to share with the rest of the world.”


UNDP facilitators believe the successful cooperation between the countries has opened up new possibilities for taking this South-South cooperation to a higher level. “While at the moment, UNDP is facilitating between Nepal and Timor-Leste, the two countries are considering direct and long-term technical partnership between their training institutes in order to share technical knowhow on a range of peace building and conflict prevention issues,” said Pressia.


“This is a significant achievement for Nepal and it has exposed Nepal’s training institutes and their trainers to the global level,” said Ms. Arifin-Cabo. “Nepal is now able to contribute to peace building efforts in other developing countries.”


Timor-Leste’s preference to learn from developing countries like Nepal, who have undergone similar kinds of conflict under similar socio-economic conditions, was crucial to make the cooperation meaningful.


“They prefer to hear from those who have undergone similar experiences rather than from the experts in developed countries who have not experienced similar conflict,” said Ms. Arifin-Cabo.


Since 2011, CPP has been working with the Government of Nepal to develop national capacity for mainstreaming conflict sensitivity. This entails training UN and Government officials on Do No Harm (DNH) approaches; providing technical assistance to UN and Government of Nepal for applying conflict sensitivity in policy and programming.

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