Nepal is unlikely to reach the Millennium Development Goals target by 2015 of “Achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all, including women and young people.” The lack of in-country employment opportunities leads many Nepalis to seek employment outside their homeland. The underdevelopment of Nepal’s trade and industry, the low volume of exports, low agricultural productivity, lack of access to affordable credit and the weak law and order situation all contribute to the lack of good employment opportunities and the relative weakness of Nepal’s economy.
UNDP in Nepal promotes inclusive growth and sustainable livelihoods through the ongoing Micro-enterprise Development Programme (MEDEP), Livelihood Recovery for Peace (LRP) and Enhancing Access to Financial Services projects (EAFS).
These projects have helped to bring about improved policies and institutional frameworks for inclusive growth whilst directly benefitting tens of thousands of community people through skill training, short term employment, improved local infrastructure and improved access to financial services.
The Livelihood Recovery for Peace project is promoting peace and social cohesion by creating livelihood opportunities in the three terai districts- Sarlahi, Mahottari and Rautahat, where poverty, conflict and natural disasters most hinder development. The 1.7 million people who live in these three districts have a mixed ethnic makeup and 40% are from traditionally disadvantaged groups.
The Micro-enterprise Development Programme has contributed to the achievement of the target “full and productive employment and decent work for all’ by training and supporting more than 53,000 poor rural people to become micro-entrepreneurs. One of the project’s most notable achievement has been the progress made towards institutionalizing the MEDEP model of micro-enterprise development into the government’s regular development programme.
The Enhancing Access to Financial Services project is supporting Nepal’s Central Bank to promote and oversee the country’s micro-finance institutions. With funding and technical support from UNCDF and UNDP, the project aims to provide an additional 330,000 people, mostly poor women, with micro finance services in Nepal’s remoter areas by the end of 2012.
With the closure of Enhancing Nepal’s Trade Related Capacity project and the culmination of Nepal Trade Integration Strategy, launched on 24 June 2010, UNDP has provided the government to prioritise the development of trade as a key means of developing the economy and helping Nepal achieve the MDGs in the country’s new Three Year Development Plan.