Nepal country office: Development Operational Plan 2014

1. Executive Summary

Humanitarian context

One of the poorest countries in the world, Nepal ranks 157 out of 186 on the UNDP's human development index 20121, with around 31 per cent of the population living below the poverty line. Still emerging from a 10-year conflict with some aftershocks, Nepal is passing through a momentous and prolonged political transition. The political context around a new constitution that endorses the devolution of power, social and political inclusion, democratic elections, and political accountability represents an opportunity in this transition. However, political transition and attainment of peace has overshadowed economic issues. The country still has a long way to go in terms of development and this, together with weak infrastructure (such as roads and buildings) and overpopulation in urban areas, makes it increasingly vulnerable to natural shocks.

Additionally, Nepal experiences a range of natural hazards, some of which occur year after year such as floods and landslides and others that occur less frequently but have the potential to cause great devastation, such as earthquakes. Due to its geographic location, Nepal is very active seismically and is vulnerable to earthquakes. Past records have shown that Nepal can expect two earthquakes of magnitude 7.5 -8 on the Richter scale every 40 years. These complex natural conditions make Nepal one of the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world. The World Risk Index ranks it 99 out of 173 countries (6.15 per cent) in terms of overall risk scoring ‘very high’ in terms of vulnerability (61.69 per cent) and ‘high’ in terms of susceptibility (50.712 per cent), lack of coping capabilities (81.84 per cent) and lack of adaptive capacities (52.52 per cent). The need for humanitarian assistance is paramount.