Under the Sub-National Governance Program/SNGP-Phase II, Nepal Forum for
Restorative Justice-NFRJ organized a consultation workshop on policy Dialogue in
Kathmandu on 14 February, 2023. The title of the workshop was, “Role of local
governments in policy-making at the federal and provincial level.” The objective of the workshop was to create a deeper understanding of how the local governments (and their networks) can create a space for a dialogue between stakeholders (public and CSOs) in policy-making processes at the federal and provincial levels.
The consultation workshop started with introduction of participants and their
connections with policy-makings, and then the objectives of the consultation workshop
were shared. There were three speakers to facilitate the session on the role of local
government and their network to create a space for dialogue between stakeholders in
the policy-making process at the federal and provincial level and the need for policy
dialogue between tiers of government.
In the first session, Mr. Rajendra Prasad Pyakurel, a shared that the four pillars of
NARMIN are networking and institutional development, advocacy and lobbying,
leadership and capacity development, and research, study, and publication. He
discussed that there is a vital role and importance of inter-governance mechanisms and
autonomy to the local government in planning and policy-making. Also, he shared that
local governments are clear about its role, but the provincial governments are not
adequately clear about their functions and therefore, there is a likelihood of duplication
in planning and activities. He said there is a gap in understanding the role between the
three government layers, resulting in duplication on planning and budgeting. Similarly,
he said untying the knots between the provincial and local governance is needed to
collaborate and cooperate between tiers of governments. Also, he shared that there is a
provincial coordination committee but since it does not have a functional obligation, it
needs to be restructured. In addition, there is no practice of documentation in the
planning process and no proper steps are followed in provinces and federal mechanisms.
He revealed that knowledge, plans, and scopes are not decentralized. He shared there is only political decentralization at the local level, but the financial decision is still
controlled by the federal government, and central power. There is a huge lack of
qualified staff, a financial tally system, budget tracking, and expertise at the local level.
The second session was led by Mr. Parshuram Upadhyay. He shared that there is still
gaps in identifying real needs, and ensuring access and participation in policy-making
and policy dialogue at the local government levels. He remarked that that there are lots
of laws, bylaws, policies, and guidelines from the local to the federal levels and there is a
lack of connection with the public. Almost 80% of people are unaware of the policy-
making process and planning at the local, provincial and federal levels. They need to be
included for whom the policy is making. Also, he shared there are two types of rules i.e.
self-rules and shared rules. In self-rule, people believe that the power given to local
governments will be used without restrictions in decision-making. And in shared rules,
there is connection, collaboration, cooperation, and coordination between tiers of
government. He shared both rules are important at the local level and between the tiers
of government, there should be collaboration, acceptance, and respect for the
differences and ownership of the government tiers.
The third session was led by Ms. Srijana Koirala. She shared that the horizontal methods
of collaboration and coordination between the government layer could be more
powerful, along with inter-governmental collaborations for planning and policy-making.
She discussed that Nepal has practically entered into the federal system after 2017, with
the implementation of the Constitution of Nepal, in 2015. There are three levels of
governments: federal, Provincial, and Local level, each given some exclusive and
concurrent rights in Schedules 5-9 of the constitution. The constitution has abstracted
the cooperative federalism as well as local autonomy at some level. The vertical
coordination has been practiced in the budgetary process as well. But there has been
little mention about the horizontal collaboration among the same level of governments.
Similarly, she shared the collaboration between local governments in a region, through
formal and informal platforms like the Municipal Association of Nepal, the National
Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal, as well as the District Coordination
Committee, the National Coordination Council, and the Provincial Coordination Council,
which can be made more functional, so that integrated development can be made
possible through optimum utilization of resources, as well as strategic developments
through projects and development plans. For this, civil society organizations, elected and
non-elected officials and representatives, and stakeholders all must work together
towards a single goal of human progress and sustainable development, with missions
that are impact-oriented rather than output oriented.