International Alert will contribute to Nepal's capacity to take advantage of its current opportunity for building peace and democracy. International Alert's programme entails a combination of research, capacity building of local organizations and advocacy.
- Improving Nepali knowledge about the peace process:
- By working with the Friends for Peace (FFP) policy research centre, which Alert helped to found, so they keep strengthening their capacity, so the Nepali peace process is nationally owned and sustainable;
- By working with FFP on disarmament, demobilization and reintegration issues in local communities, empowering communities and bringing these concerns to national and international attention;
- Working with western donors on development aid policies:
- To help define overall approach to support for the peace process;
- To maximize the peacebuilding potential of the 'Education for All' Initiative, through multiple dialogues on inclusive educational policy.
- Working with the private sector through the Nepal Business Initiative to involve business in reconstruction and reintegration in local communities and in national economic policy.
The April 2006 people's movement brought direct royal rule in Nepal to an end and created a chance for peace after ten years of war that resulted in 13,000 deaths.
Peace depends on the country successfully meeting complex challenges. Among the key short-term challenges is to continue the government/Maoist peace process. Medium term, Nepal needs sound government while a constituent assembly drafts a new democratic constitution. Deep-rooted deficiencies in governance, politics and development could hamper and derail progress. A return to direct royal rule would have no legitimacy but cannot be ruled out if the coalition government falters or peace talks break down. On the positive side, there is a great popular will for peace and democracy and the Maoists are more pragmatic than is often recognized.
The key for long-term peace in Nepal is to break down the patterns of exclusion that have marked the country. Most of the population has been excluded from decision-making on the basis of ethnic difference, caste, wealth or the city/country divide.
International Alert has worked in Nepal since 2002. One main strand of work is helping develop local knowledge about what is involved in a peace process, including the technical as well as political issues. A second is working with western donor governments to help them calibrate their development aid policies in Nepal. To meet new opportunities, Alert is adding the third strand of work with the private sector.