A Country Analysis 2011: With a Human Face
Embarking on a Common Country Assessment (CCA) is the first step undertaken by United Nations Country Teams (UNCTs) when preparing for a forthcoming programming cycle. The CCA is intended to provide insights into key development challenges facing a country; these are then addressed in a multiyear United Nations Development Assistance Framework or UNDAF, which is the next step in the process and outlines the key areas of work for the years ahead. A CCA is typically organized around particular themes or sectors. However, this time, the UNCT in Nepal has chosen to depart from this more standard approach by attempting to conduct a country analysis (CA) with people at its core—a ‘country analysis with a human face’. In this CA, the UNCT sought to explore such questions as: who should be among the primary ‘clients’ for the next round of United Nations (UN) multiyear programming? How can the UN’s development contribution be measured over the years ahead (or in other words, what should be measured to ensure that the UN’s efforts are having the desired impact on the lives of potential clients)? Which groups have been left behind by recent development gains? Which groups do not experience a ‘level playing field’ in today’s Nepal? Are there groups who, being subject to particular vulnerabilities or future shocks could substantially reverse the development gains they have achieved in recent years? Are there groups who have long-standing grievances that, if unaddressed, might jeopardize Nepal’s fragile peace? By following this approach, potential ‘client groups’ have become the major focus of this CA.
The goal of this CA is not only to identify potential clients for UN development work, but also to identify the structural reasons for their vulnerabilities. In this way, future programming should focus especially on such issues and, it is envisioned, will result in transformational change in the development patterns of the country.
By focusing on beneficiaries, the CA is naturally grounded in a human-rights-based approach to development. As such, it places development policies and processes in a system of rights and corresponding obligations established by international law. This contributes not only to promoting the sustainability of development work but also to empowering people to participate in policy formulation, hold duty-bearers to account, and ensure the fair and equal distribution of available resources.