Nepal is bound to stride at a higher level of development trajectory the next decade or so. The national development goals and the positive trends in major contributing factors strongly support to this optimism. Four major interrelated trends should be watched, analyzed, understood and used for Nepal’s growth and development. These trends are related to urbanization, youth population, access to technology especially the proliferation information and communication technology, remittance and returnee migrants and the increasing ownership of development by the local governments.
Urbanization may or may not be happening in functional terms but the aspirations are clearly expressed in the new delineation and designations of local governments. Reducing number of local governments from nearly four thousand units to seven hundred fifty is an important commitment to make these units resourceful and capable to manage their own affairs. The designation of almost half of these units as “urban municipalities” implies our national desire to transform Nepalese society and economy from traditional, rural and subsistence to modern and industrial one is likely to have significant impact in the way land
use and market centers will develop in the country. This will require better planning and implementation of policies and regulations. This will demand close cooperation between development professionals in general and regional and city planners, academic institutions, private sector and the local governments work as partners at all levels.
When we established Nepal Institute for Urban and Regional Studies (NIURS) we very much were enthused by the possibility of using the above trends. Our goal is to help build a sustainable, happy and caring cities and settlements in Nepal. We want to continuously learn and share knowledge with development partners at large especially with the private sector whose active and enthusiastic participation and engagement, we consider is key to building prosperous nation with prosperous cities and villages.
We thank all the partners, friends, colleagues in government, business and society at large for sustained cooperation in research, studies and communication in the days ahead. We look forward to working with you.
Jagadish C. Pokharel, Ph. D