Inequalities threaten Nepal’s development gains

30 Dec 2005

imageInequalities threaten Nepal’s development gains

Press Release

Inequalities threaten Nepal’s development gains

Kathmandu, 30 December 2005: Thanks to steady economic growth during the 1990s, Nepal is ‘on-track’ to reduce the number of people living below the poverty line from 42% (1990) to 21% (2015), but this progress is fragile, development experts told media during a workshop hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Nepal Press Institute earlier today.

According to the United Nations, Nepal’s growth rate has fallen to only 2% (2004/05), mainly as a result of the ongoing armed conflict, which began in 1996.  

 Stressing the need to address issues fuelling the conflict, guest speaker Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Executive Director of the Nepal Rasta Bank said: “Unless we look at inequality, social conflict may remain forever, even though the armed conflict may end.”
 
“Through well-informed reports and analysis, the media is able to focus national attention on key areas of development concern,” said UNDP’s Sriram Pande during the meeting. “The media also has the power to give voice to the millions of individuals that make-up our national statistics. As development advisors, or public managers, we need to hear those voices in order to improve our performance and ultimately the nation’s progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals,” he said.   
 
During the workshop, participating journalists identified a number of obstacles hindering their ability to report on issues related to the Millennium Development Goals. These included: lack of reliable statistics or access to remote areas where the poorest people in Nepal live. The group recommended that support in the form of field visits, the establishment of a Millennium Development Goals 'media network', and regular information sharing on the goals, be undertaken.
 
The Millennium Development Goals are a series of globally-agreed objectives aimed at reducing poverty and disease, while protecting the environment, and improving the status of women, as well as people’s access to health and education by 2015.     
 
According the United Nations, Nepal is likely to meet targets for cutting infant death rates, and increasing access to safe drinking water. However, Nepal is unlikely to meet education targets or stem the spread of HIV/AIDS; meanwhile inequalities are on the rise.

Contact Information

For more information pls. contact Ms. Lisa Hiller, Communications Manager or Ms. Sangita Khadka, Communications Officer, UNDP Nepal, Phone 5523200