Nepal: COVID-19 and the SDGs

Nepal should recover from the human and economic devastation caused by COVID-19 by accelerating efforts to achieve SDGs.

Nepal needs clamor for policy attention and scarce resources, there is great temptation during crisis to react only for the immediate term. That would be a big mistake: as every recent crisis has revealed, Nepal is extremely vulnerable to underlying threats that can quickly become existential for large sections of the population.

For Nepal, response to crises must therefore be treated as a strategic opening, an opportunity to turn focus onto these underlying threats – as well as a chance to push for appropriate and affordable policy choices.

Crisis resilience must become a strategic policy priority for Nepal. There is an urgent need to achieve food self-sufficiency and renewable energy security, rationalize emergency services and stockpiles across all seven provinces.

Crisis resilience also requires strategic investment in technologies that support vertical and horizontal coordination of government, remote education and health, food supply chains, and energy efficiency.

The crisis exposes critical gaps in Nepal’s policy-making infrastructure, which must be plugged. Nepal’s unwieldy, bloated pre-federal public administration architecture must be rationalized to drive policy coherence across the whole of government.

Massive weaknesses in how data and evidence are utilized by the government become glaring during crises. The fragmented approach to data is not helpful, especially in the context of federalism. Improving and unifying data for policy-making is an essential policy choice.

By SDGs National Network Nepal.

Read this national chapter here.

Source: Report Spotlight on Sustainable Development 2020.