National Governance Synposium 2023

Governance Innovations for Inclusive Development

Event Schedule

The National Governance Symposium 2023, with the theme "Governance Innovations for Inclusive Development," addresses Nepal's transition to federalism and the importance of inclusion in democratic development. The Constitution of 2015 emphasizes equitable representation and active engagement of historically marginalized groups. However, challenges have emerged in achieving inclusive development. The event aims to bring together stakeholders to celebrate innovative models, identify interventions for economic, social, and political inclusion, and foster collaboration.

Expected outcomes include a better understanding of the link between inclusion and prosperity, innovative strategies for inclusion, and the establishment of a platform for knowledge exchange. The event will be organized in collaboration with the Office of the Prime Minister & Council of Ministers (OPMCM), the Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MoFAGA), the Ministry of Finance (MoF), and the National Planning Commission (NPC). The organizing partners are Daayitwa and the Nepal Leadership Academy. The sessions will be held in collaboration with various non-government agencies such as Dignity Initiative, Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal (FWEAN), Nepali Times, Inclusion Economics Nepal at Governance Lab (IEN) and International Water Management Institute (IWMI).

Throughout both days, discussions will cover social, political, and economic dimensions of inclusion. Day one will emphasize youth-government collaboration, dignity & self-determination in the Dalit community, and women entrepreneurship. On the second day, the symposium will pivot towards local government's pandemic response, climate governance, and migrant returnee employment. Both days will be enriched with keynotes, remarks, and interactive dialogues among government, private sector, academia, and civil society stakeholders.

Themes & Objectives

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Our Partners

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Our Speakers

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Nepal’s federal transition, aimed at restructuring governance and enhancing democracy, marks a significant turning point in the country's developmental landscape. A pivotal impetus for federalism is the emphasis on inclusion – the principle that equitable representation of diverse communities and marginalized groups in growth and development is imperative for the success of a democratic system.

The 2015 Constitution of Nepal prioritizes political inclusion, aiming to actively engage historically marginalized groups like ethnic minorities, women, Dalits, and disadvantaged populations. Emphasizing local governance, it delegates powers to local bodies, enabling customized policies for addressing specific social and economic challenges at the grassroots level. This tailored approach fosters more effective social inclusion strategies, with local bodies identifying and prioritizing economic development projects aligned with the needs and opportunities of their communities, thereby reducing disparities.

However, as Nepal embarked on this journey of inclusion, it became increasingly clear that various governance challenges were hindering the achievement of the goals set during the federalization process. Despite initial optimism, doubts arose about the effectiveness of existing governance structures and policies in promoting inclusive development. At this point, it is crucial to raise public awareness about the ongoing efforts led by the government, private sectors, organizations, and the necessary adjustments needed to ensure inclusion.

Keynote Speakers

Prof. Rohini Pande

Director of the Economic Growth Center and Faculty Director of Inclusion Economics, Yale University


Dr. Baikuntha Aryal

Chief Secretary, Government of Nepal

Dr. Pukar Malla

Chairperson, Governance Lab

Dr. Ram Prasad Ghimire

Secretary, Ministry of Finance

Dr. Sohan Shah

Member, Policy and Planning Commission, Madhesh Province

Dr. Toya Narayan Gyawali

Secretary, National Planning Commission

Mr. Bhim Prasad Dhungana

Mayor, Neelakantha Municipality and President, Municipality Association of Nepal

Mr. Bhola Kumar Paswan

Executive Director, Dalit Sarokar Manch

Mr. Binod Prakash Singh

Secretary, Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration

Mr. Chandra Bhandari.jpg

Research Fellow Consultant, Inclusion Economic Yale

Mr. Chandra Ghimire

Former Secretary, Government of Nepal

Mr. Ek Narayan Aryal

Secretary, Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

Mr. Jiblal Bhusal

Joint Secretary, Industrial and Investment Promotion Division, Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies

Mr. Khom Raj Koirala

Joint Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

Mr. Krishna Gyawali

Former Secretary and Senior Governance Advisor, Daayitwa Abhiyaan

Mr. Susit Dhakal

Executive Director, Daayitwa

Ms. Aava Shrestha Karn

Joint Secretary, Women Empowerment Division, Ministry of Women, Children, Senior Citizen

Ms. Kalpana Kumari Katuwal

Mayor, Barathawa Municipality

Ms. Laxmi Devi Pandey

Chairperson, National Association of Rural Municipalities in Nepal

Ms. Medha Joshi

Research Manager, Inclusion Economics Nepal

Ms. Radhika_Aryal

Principal Secretary, Lumbini Province

Ms. Sadikshya Bhattarai

Research Coordinator, Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility

Ms. Sahina Shrestha

Online Editor, Nepali Times

Ms. Shova Gyawali

President, Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal

Ms. Sumitra Kc

President, Federation of Women Entrepreneurs Association of Nepal

Ms.Juna Mathema

Chairperson, Startup and Innovation Forum, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry

Nisha Onta, Phd

Executive Director, Governance Lab

Prof. Soledad Artiz Prillaman

Faculty Director of the Inclusive Democracy and Development Lab, Stanford University


Ms. Sama Thapa

Associate Editor, AP1


Nepal's graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status and the implementation of the 16th periodic plan are significant milestones that emphasize the core principles of inclusion within governance and development as outlined by the constitution. These endeavors reflect Nepal's commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth, reducing income disparities, improving access to quality education and healthcare, and empowering marginalized communities, including women and ethnic minorities. Moreover, they encompass innovative approaches such as sustainable infrastructure development, improvements in the economic and social sectors, and digital inclusion measures, ensuring equitable access to resources and opportunities. In parallel, the plan should emphasize good governance practices, transparency, and sustainability while fostering private sector engagement and entrepreneurship. This integrated approach not only promotes inclusivity but also harnesses innovation to propel Nepal towards a more sustainable future.

The National Governance Symposium (NGS) strives to create an intellectually enriching and politically unbiased platform for recognizing, discussing, and adapting innovative governance models, further advancing Nepal's journey toward inclusive development. The NGS is an annual event organized by Governance Lab (Govlab) at Daayitwa Abhiyaan in collaboration with various government, knowledge and financial partners.

In 2022, the Symposium was themed "Promoting Innovation in Local Governance for the Inclusive Economic Development of Nepal." Govlab collaborated with government partners including Office of the Prime Minister & Council of Ministers (OPMCM), Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration (MOFAGA), and National Planning Commission (NPC), as well as knowledge partners including the Economic Policy Incubator, Nepal Urban Resilience Program, and The Asia Foundation. The US Embassy and Swarthmore College Lang Center financially sponsored the event. The symposium served as a platform to celebrate the success stories of innovative governance models from 12 municipalities, exploring policy opportunities for scaling up the learnings. It provided an opportunity to gather valuable policy insights from academicians and researchers, contributing to the broader goal of fostering synergies among diverse governance stakeholders. Over 300 participants attended the two-day event held in Kathmandu. The Symposium concluded with the Kathmandu Declaration for Collective Action, emphasizing inclusion, innovation, local governance, and economic development as the four core commitment areas.


National Governance Symposium 2023 aims to bring together policy researchers, advocates and decision-makers to promote governance innovations for inclusive development. Three specific objectives are as follows:

  • Celebrate Nepal’s innovative models of inclusive development

  • Identify interventions for economic, social, and political inclusion

  • Foster collaboration among governance stakeholders

Expected Outcome

NGS 2023 is a manifestation of ideas and expects to achieve the following outcomes:

  • Enhanced shared understanding of the relationship between inclusion and prosperity among governance stakeholders

  • Identification of innovative strategies and practices to promote economic, political, and social inclusion

  • Establishment of a collaborative platform for knowledge exchange and potential partnerships on identified synergies

Program Design

The two-day event will include sessions focusing on economic, political and social inclusion and each session is designed to foster knowledge sharing, capacity building, and way-forward in the field of inclusive governance. We will draw inspiration from exemplary models, inform stakeholders with new knowledge, and explore sustainable solutions.

On both days, we will organize engaging discussions with a diverse and inclusive group of panelists representing both federal and local levels. These sessions will ensure equitable participation, with 50% representation of women, voices from the Dalit, Indigenous People, Madhesh, LGBTQI+ communities, and people with disabilities. This approach guarantees that a wide spectrum of perspectives and experiences will play an active role in shaping our forward-looking policies and initiatives.

Supported By

  • Ministry of Federal Affairs & General Administration

  • Minisry of Finance

  • National Planning Commission

  • Office of the Prime Minister & Council of Ministers

At a glance

25+ Speakers

275+ Delegates

15+ Thematic Areas

10+ Sessions

1. Political Inclusion

i) Championing Equality: Leadership Perspectives from Women Elected Representatives

This session, through an intersectional lens, will explore evidence-based insights and innovative approaches on the strategies and initiatives from both researchers and women elected representatives who are breaking barriers and driving change in governance leadership.

Government Partner for the session (TBC): Election Commission, MoFAGA

ii) Cultivating Innovation: Nurturing Youth-Government Collaboration for Evidence Based Policy Decisions

This session discusses how young people, often operating outside the conventional political sphere, can actively contribute to evidence-based decision-making, ensuring their voices are not only heard but also integrated into the policymaking process. The session also explores creative approaches and discusses the crucial role of government-friendliness in policies/ initiatives engaging youth.

Government Partner for the Session: Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers

2. Economic Inclusion

iii) Rebuilding Hope: Empowering Returnee Migrants for Employment Generation in Nepal

This session aims to synthesize diverse perspectives into concrete policy recommendations, addressing the integration of returnee migrants into Nepal's economy, leveraging their skills and resources to foster domestic employment generation and prevent socio-economic distress.

Government Partner for the session: National Planning Commission

iv) Breaking Barriers: Making a Case for Women Enterprise Development Policy

Women entrepreneurship in Nepal has been a conversation and reality in Nepal for the past four decades. Women entrepreneurs are active in high numbers. Despite this, they have been unable to further develop/scale up their enterprises. This has created a plethora of unaddressed challenges and questions. For instance, how can we connect aspiring women entrepreneurs with financial institutions? How can we provide a market for their produce? Why have we failed to connect them with value chains? How can we empower their personality, leadership, and social network? Who do we turn to for the issue of reducing women entrepreneurs in the country? These questions may seem ordinary but are nonetheless important. Therefore, let us try and dare to answer these questions.

This session aims to showcase inspiring success stories of rural women entrepreneurs who have used innovative approaches to overcome challenges and achieve growth. It will also include a panel discussion of prominent stakeholders to showcase the critical need for Women Enterprise Development Policy. Additionally, the session will analyze the role of government policies and initiatives in promoting women entrepreneurs.

Government Partner for the Session: Ministry of Industry, Commerce and Supplies

3. Social Inclusion

v) Moving Beyond Representation to Dignity and the right to self-determination

Existing legal provisions have limited the definition of inclusion to representation and participation of women and marginalised groups. Other important aspects of inclusion such as identity, dignity, meaningful participation, autonomy and the right to self-determination are yet to be discussed. This session will include in-depth discussion on the persistent challenges for social inclusion and explore legal, societal and behavioral changes needed for a truely inclusive Nepal.

Government Partner for the Session (TBC):

vi) Sustainable Inclusion: Exploring Climate Governance Challenges & its solutions

This session explores innovative strategies for integrating inclusive practices into climate governance, with the aim of ensuring that no one is left behind in the battle against climate change. We will discuss how the Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystems (WEFE) nexus can collaborate synergistically to ensure inclusion.

Government Partner for the session (TBC): MoFE