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Addressing gender-based violence in Nepal

Zainiddin Karaev's picture
 David Waldorf
Nepal has a high incidence of gender-based violence and women remain — by large — the main victims. Credit: David Waldorf

Last month, I visited Nepal to understand the gravity of gender-based violence (GBV) and how victims can seek help and access confidential and quality support services.   
 
Nepal has a high incidence of gender-based violence. And while everyone, regardless of their sex, can be affected, women remain — by large — the main victims.   
 
In 2017, 149 people were killed as a result of GBV in Nepal. 
 
Of these victims, 140 were female, 75 of whom were killed because of domestic violence.  
 
In 2017, out of 680 documented cases, the main perpetrator was a family member or relative in 163 cases of them.  
 
However, such cases are generally unreported due to the stigma attached to GBV. 
 
In this bleak context, it was heartening to hear about an integrated platform that addresses GBV issues and has helped improve response and support to the victims.  
 
With assistance from the World Bank’s State and Peacebuilding Fund (SPF), the government of Nepal has set up a helpline and a network of service providers for GBV victims.
 
Since 2017, these programs have supported over 677 cases. 

Are Pakistan’s urban professional women immune to sexual harassment?

Saman Amir's picture

Woman face harassment in all type of jobs, no matter where or who. One can’t say that she works in a big firm so she is safe… [but] she doesn’t know who will believe her if she reports harassment – she… fears that the others will say she is asking for it.  Thus, she doesn’t say anything.” -Young working woman in Quetta.

This statement was echoed by 93 educated women of all ages in the Pakistani cities of Quetta, Peshawar, Lahore, and Karachi.

In the era of the #MeToo Movement, focus group discussions with these women affirmed that sexual harassment continues to be a part of the experience of urban educated Pakistani women seeking jobs.
 
The good news is that there’s legislation to protect against harassment, the bad is that few know about it and fewer feel comfortable reporting harassment.

For employed women, sexual harassment disrupts careers and dampens professional potential; its fear can deter women from entering the labor force at all.

We explore this as part of a study on female labor force participation in Pakistan with the Center for Gender and Policy Studies and support from the Pakistan Gender Platform. 

The women we spoke with talked about experiencing sexual, physical, verbal, non-verbal or psychological harassment at the hands of supervisors, senior staff members and colleagues, as well as strangers in public transport and spaces.

They also highlighted cyberstalking, staring, phone numbers being leaked, lewd comments, stalking in public places and harassment on public transport as common occurrences, and that such harassment occurs regardless of a woman’s age or socio-economic status.

Announcing the winners of the 2018 #OneSouthAsia Photo Contest

World Bank South Asia's picture


Home to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, South Asia is one of the world’s most dynamic regions.

It's also one of the least integrated.

A few numbers say it all: Intra-regional trade accounts for only 5 percent of South Asia’s total trade; Intra-regional investment is smaller than 1 percent of overall investment.

Pulling out all stops: World Bank in Nepal

Faris Hadad-Zervos's picture

Nepal

Few countries in recent history have experienced change on a scale as sweeping as Nepal – that too, in the span of a single generation. The journey is ongoing as Nepalis continue to confront and challenge the conventional wisdom about Nepali statehood and chart a path towards a more inclusive, equitable and modern nation-state.

The new federal structure also redefines the World Bank Group (WBG)’s engagement with Nepal. This week, as the WBG’s Board of Executive Directors endorsed a new five-year Country Partnership Framework (CPF), Nepal’s Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada attended a series of Nepal Day events at the WBG headquarters in Washington DC. There, he unfurled the new government’s vision and development priorities and discussed approaches to address Nepal’s financing and knowledge needs in the WBG’s upcoming programme of assistance.

Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada's Vision for Nepal's Future


The CPF is designed to balance support to Nepal’s transition to federalism with its quest for higher growth, sustained poverty reduction and inclusive development. To that end, our strategy and approach seeks to support the authorities and engage with development partners in three transformative engagement areas: (i) public institutions for economic management, service delivery and public investment; (ii) private sector-led jobs and growth; and (iii) inclusion for the poor, vulnerable, and marginalised groups, with greater resilience against climate change, natural disasters, and other exogenous shocks. These focus areas were informed by extensive consultations and surveys across the country’s seven states with over 200,000 citizens, government, civil society organisations, the private sector, media and development partners.

In many respects, Nepal is starting from a clean state. While Nepal did practise a limited version of decentralisation in the early 2000s, the scope of devolution proposed by the 2015 Constitution is unprecedented.  Meanwhile, reforms promise to rid the country of a legacy of exclusion based on geography, ethnicity and gender.

Over the last decade, Nepal experienced frequent government turnover and political fragmentation with a considerable toll on development.  The 2017 elections mark a significant turning point, in that they offer higher hopes for political stability and policy predictability that remained elusive during most of Nepal’s recent past. This is a considerable achievement.

Interview with World Bank Country Director for Nepal, Qimiao Fan


Nepal has achieved a remarkable reduction in poverty in the last three decades, but the agenda remains unfinished. While the national poverty estimates await updating starting next year, at last count, poverty fell from 46 per cent in 1996 to 15 per cent in 2011 as measured by the international extreme poverty line. However, most of the poverty reduction resulted from the massive outmigration of labour, and a record increase in private remittances. Moreover, a significant disparity remains in poverty incidence across the country.

Compared to the average 4.5 per cent of GDP growth over the last decade, Nepal needs to achieve faster growth to meet its coveted goal of attaining middle-income status by 2030. Nepal needs to grow in the order of at least 7 to 8 per cent and shift from remittance-led consumption to productive investment. The economy also remains exposed to exogenous shocks like earthquakes, floods and trade disruptions. These long-standing economic vulnerabilities will require far-reaching but carefully-calibrated reforms.

Nepal now faces the daunting task of adapting to a three-tier structure in the face of nascent and often-nonexistent institutions at the sub-national levels. Immediate challenges include the need to clarify the functions and accountabilities of the federal, state and local governments; deliver basic services and maintain infrastructure development; enable the private sector; and ensure strong and transparent governance during the early years of federalism. Meanwhile, if left unmet or unmanaged, heightened public expectations of federalism could rapidly degenerate from anticipation to disillusionment.
 
Short Take: Nepal Country Partnership Framework (FY2019-23)

South Asia’s transport corridors can lead to prosperity

Martin Melecky's picture
 World Bank
Transport corridors offer enormous potential to boost South Asia’s economies, reduce poverty, and spur more and better jobs for local people, provided the new trade routes generate growth for all and limit their environmental impact. Credit: World Bank

This blog is based on the report The Web of Transport Corridors in South Asia -- jointly produced with the Asian Development Bank, the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency

No doubt, South Asia’s prosperity was built along its trade routes.

One of the oldest, the Grand Trunk Road from the Mughal era still connects East and West and in the 17th century made Delhi, Kabul and Lahore wealthy cities with impressive civic buildings, monuments, and gardens.

Fast forward a few centuries and today, South Asia abounds with new proposals to build a vast network of transport corridors.
 
In India alone—and likely bolstered by the successful completion of the Golden Quadrilateral (GQ) highway system—several transport proposals extending beyond India’s borders are now under consideration. 
 
They include the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), linking India, Iran and Russia, the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor, and the Bangladesh, China, India, and Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor.
 
The hope is that these transport corridors will turn into growth engines and create large economic surpluses that can spread throughout the economy and society.

Arguably, the transport corridor with the greatest economic potential is the surface link between Shanghai and Mumbai.
 
These two cities are the economic hubs of China and India respectively, two emerging global powers.
 
The distance between them, about 5,000 kilometers, is not much greater than the distance between New York and Los Angeles.
 
But instead of crossing a relatively empty continent, a corridor from Shanghai to Mumbai—via Kunming, Mandalay, Dhaka, and Kolkata—would go through some of the most densely populated and most dynamic areas in the world, stoking hopes of large economic spillovers along its alignment.
 
“Build and they will come” seems to be the logic underlying many massive transport investments around the world.
 
However, the reality is that not all these investments will generate the expected returns.
 
Worse, they can become wasteful white elephants—that is, transport infrastructure without much traffic—that would cost trillions of dollars at taxpayers’ expense.
 
So, how can South Asia develop transport corridors that have a positive impact on their economies and benefit all people along the corridor alignments and beyond?  
 
First, countries need to change the mindset that transport corridors are mere engineering feats designed to move along vehicles and commodities.
 
Second, sound economic analysis of how corridors can help spur urbanization and create local jobs while minimizing the disruptions to the natural environment, is key to developing successful investment programs.
 
Specifically, it is vital to ensure that local populations whose lives are disrupted by new infrastructure can reap equally the benefits from better transport connectivity.
 
The hard truth is that the development of corridor initiatives may involve difficult tradeoffs.
 
For instance, more educated and skilled people can migrate to obtain better jobs in growing urban areas that are benefiting from corridor connectivity, while unskilled workers may be left behind in depopulated rural areas with few economic prospects.
 
But while corridors can create both winners and losers, well-designed investment programs can alleviate potential adverse impacts and help local people share the benefits more widely.
 
In that vein, India’s Golden Quadrilateral, or GQ highway system, is a cautionary tale. 
 
No doubt, this corridor had a positive impact. 
 
Economic activity along the corridor increased and people, especially women, found better job opportunities beyond traditional farming.
 
But this success came at a cost as air pollution increased in the districts near the highway.
 
This is a major tradeoff and one that was documented before in Japan when levels of air pollution spiked during the development of its Pacific Ocean Belt several decades ago.
 
Another downside is that the economic benefits generated by the GQ highway were distributed unequally in neighboring communities.  

Better data sharing to improve the lives of Afghan refugees

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province. Photo Credit: IOM Afghanistan / E. Schwoerer

Four decades of conflict, violence and uncertainty has made Afghans the world’s largest protracted refugee population and among the largest group of returnees in the past few decades. Each year as many as 100,000s Afghans are on the move.

Since 2002, some 5.8 million Afghan refugees and several million more undocumented Afghans have returned to Afghanistan. More than two million of these refugees and undocumented returnees have returned since 2015. Recent surges in returns such as the 2016 spike of over 600,000 returnees from Pakistan were recorded in just six months.
 
Most returnees relocate to urban and peri-urban areas where they find limited job opportunities and inadequate access to essential services, thus jeopardizing their reintegration prospects and fueling secondary displacement. Therefore, it is imperative that joint initiatives between international organizations and Afghan government ministries help support both returnees and the host communities in which they relocate.
 
To that end, the World Bank and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today signed a data sharing agreement (DSA), which formalizes an existing partnership between the two organizations in Afghanistan.

تشریک بهتر معلومات میتواند وضعیت زندگی افغان های عودت کننده را بهبود بخشد

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
یک موتر بس حامل عودت کنندگان افغان از پاکستان در یکی  از مراکز سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت حین ارزیابی وضیعت آنها در مرز تورخم، ولایت ننگرهار. عکس از  ایوا سوریر ، سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت

چهار دهه جنگ، خشونت، ناامنی، اوضاع شکننده یی سیاسی، اجتماعی و اقتصادی افغانستان را به بزرگترین نفوس بیجا شدگان مبدل ساخته است. تخمین میشود که هرسال بیشتر از۱۰۰۰۰۰ افغان در حرکت از یکجا به جای دیگر میباشد.

از سال ۲۰۰۲ به این سو، حدود ۵،۸ میلیون پناهجوی افغان و چندین میلیون افغان ‌دیگر که اسناد و مدارک پناهجوی بودند، به افغانستان عودت نموده اند. این در حالیست که از سال ۲۰۱۵ به این سو بیشتر از ۲ میلیون پناهنده و مهاجر بدون  اسناد دوباره به کشور عودت نموده اند.

موج تازۀ برگشت مهاجرین از پاکستان درسال ۲۰۱۶ بخش مهم این روند را تشکیل میداد؛ چنانچه که در این جریان بیشتر از ۶۰۰۰۰۰ هزار عودت کننده صرف در ظرف شش ماه نخست این سال ثبت شده بودند. ارقام و معلومات موجود نشان میدهد که اکثر عودت کنندگان در محلات شهری و اطراف شهرها مسکن گزین میگردند زیرا انها نمیخواهند با مشکلات و محدودیت های فرصت های کاری، دسترسی به خدمات اساسی، و زیرساخت های اندک مواجه شوند. باور اینست که اگر آنان در این محلات جابجا نشوند ممکن مشکلات اساکان شان در مناطق دیگر مانع موفقیت ادغام مجدد شان شده و امکان دارد سبب بیجا شدن دوباره آنها گردد.

حمایت از عودت کننده گان و محلات میزبان که برگشت کننده گان در آن مناطق استقرار مجدد میابند، نیازمند ایجاد ابتکار و همکاریهای مشترک بیشتر میان موسسات بین المللی و وزارت های ذیربط حکومتی میباشد.

در همین راستا،  امروز بانک جهانی و سازمان بین المللی مهاجرت یک توافقنامۀ تشریک معلومات (DSA) را امضاء نمودند که مطابق آن همکاری های موجود میان این دو نهاد تقویت میابد.

د غوره معلوماتو شریکول کولی شي د راستنېدونکو افغانانو ژوند ښه کړي

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
A bus with returnees from Pakistan at the IOM Screening center on Turkham border in Nangarhar province
له پاکستان څخه یو بس چې افغان کډوال په کې لیږدول کیدل او په تورخم پوله کې  د کډوالو نړیوال سازمان په یوه مرکز کې د هغوی وضعیت څیړنې پرمهال. انځور له ایوا سوریر/ د کډوالۍ نړیوال سازمان

په افغانستان کې څلور لسیزې جګړې، تاوتریخوالي، ناامنۍ، د افغانستان بد سیاسي، اقتصادي او ټولنیز وضعیت له امله زیاتره کسان ګډوال شوي دي. داسې اټکل کېږي چې هر کال له ۱۰۰۰۰۰ ډېر افغانان له یو سیمې څخه بلې سیمې ته کډه کوي.

 له ۲۰۰۲ کال راهیسې شاوخوا ۵،۸ ميلیون افغان پناه غوښتونکي او څو ميلیونه هغه افغانان چې د پناه غوښتونکو اسناد او مدرکونه لري بېرته افغانستان ته راستانه شوي دي. دا په داسې حال کې ده چې له ۲۰۱۵ کال راهیسې له ۲ ميلیونه ډېر هغه افغان پناه غوښتونکي او کډوال چې اسناد یې نه لرل بېرته هېواد ته راستانه شوي دي.

له پاکستان څخه په ۲۰۱۶ کال کې د کډوالو بېرته راستنېدل د دغه بهیر مهمه برخه جوړوي؛ په دغه بهیر کې یوازې د روان کال په لومړیو شپږو میاشتو کې له ۶۰۰۰۰۰ ډېر راستنېدونکي ثبت شوي و. دغه شمېرې ښيي چې ډېری راستنېدونکي په ښاري او اطرافي سیمو کې ځای پر ځای کېږي، ځکه دوی نه غواړي چې د بېکارۍ له ستونزو، اساسي خدمتونو ته د لاس رسي له لږو ستونزو سره مخ شي. باورکېږي، چې که دوی په دې سیمو کې ځای پر ځای نه شي ممکن د استوګنې په نورو سیمو کې ستونزې د دوی د راټولېدو مخه ونیسي او د بیا بېځایه کېدو لامل یې شي.

له راستنېدونکو او هغه سیمو څخه ملاتړ، چې راستنېدونکي په کې مېشت کېږي، د اړونده حکومتي وزارتونو او نړیوالو موسسو تر منځ ډېرو نوښتونو او همکاریو ته اړتیا لري. په همدې خاطر نن نړیوال بانک او د کډوالو نړیوال سازمان ( DSA ) د شریکو معلوماتو یو هوکړه لیک لاسلیک کړ.

Has Bhutan’s growth been jobless?

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Bhutan's youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016
Bhutan continues to maintain solid growth and macroeconomic stability but job creation is lagging; its  youth unemployment rate has increased from 10.7 percent in 2015 to 13.2 percent in 2016. This indicates that high growth has not been able to generate enough jobs for youth. 

“The main driver of growth in Bhutan continues to be the hydropower sector, but electricity generation does not create job,” said a senior government officials attending the presentation of The World Bank’s South Asia Focus on Jobless Growth on June 28th in Thimphu. The report was presented by Martin Rama, World Bank South Asia Region Chief Economist and was attended by senior government officials, parliamentarians and development partners. The presentation alongside the launch of Bhutan Development Update was a great opportunity for the policy makers to better understand and synthesize Bhutan and the South Asia region’s development opportunities.

In the case of Bhutan, it seems clear that growth alone will not allow it to attain higher employment rates as enjoyed by some other developing countries.

"More than 1.8 million young people will reach working age every month in South Asia through 2025 and the good news is that economic growth is creating jobs in the region,” said Martin Rama,. “But providing opportunities to these young entrants while attracting more women into the labor market will require generating even more jobs for every point of economic growth.”

The report informs that the fall in employment rates has been much faster in the region particularly in India, Bhutan and Sri Lanka and especially for women, risking foregoing the demographic dividend. While it is evident that the number of working age people is increasing, the proporation who are at work has declined owing to prioritization of the households to education, health and other commitments with increasing level of income.

How to boost female employment in South Asia

Martin Rama's picture
What's driving female employment in South Asia to decrease


South Asia is booming. In 2018, GDP growth for the region as a whole is expected to accelerate to 6.9 percent, making it the fastest growing region in the world. However, fast GDP growth has not translated into fast employment growth. In fact, employment rates have declined across the region, with women accounting for most of this decline.

Between 2005 and 2015, female employment rates declined by 5 percent per year in India, 3 percent per year in Bhutan, and 1 percent per year in Sri Lanka. While it is not surprising for female employment rates to decline with economic growth and then increase, in what is commonly known as the U-shaped female labor force function (a term coined by Claudia Goldin in 1995), the trends observed in South Asia stand out. Not only has female employment declined much more than could have been anticipated, it is likely to decline further as countries such as India continue to grow and urbanize.

The unusual trend for female employment rates in South Asia is clear from Figure 1. While male employment rates in South Asia are in line with those of other countries at the same income level, female employment rates are well below.
From the South Asia Economic Focus
Source: South Asia Economic Focus (Spring 2018).

If women are choosing to exit the labor force as family incomes rise, should policymakers worry? There are at least three reasons why the drop in female employment rates may have important social costs. First, household choices may not necessarily match women’s preferences. Those preferences reflect the influence of ideas and norms about what is women’s work and men’s work as well as other gendered notions such as the idea that women should take care of the children and housework. Second, when women control a greater share of household incomes, children are healthier and do better in school. Third, when women work for pay, they have a greater voice in their households, in their communities, and in society. The economic gains from women participating equally in the labor market are sizable: A recent study estimated that the overall gain in GDP to South Asia from closing gender gaps in employment and entrepreneurship would be close to 25 percent.

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