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.
Nepal’s federal transition, aimed at restructuring governance and enhancing democracy, marks
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
communities and marginalized groups in growth and development is imperative for the success
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.
Nepal's graduation from Least Developed Country (LDC) status and the implementation of the
periodic plan are significant milestones that emphasize the core principles of inclusion
governance and development as outlined by the constitution. These endeavors reflect Nepal's
commitment to fostering inclusive economic growth, reducing income disparities, improving
to quality education and healthcare, and empowering marginalized communities, including
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,
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
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
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
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.
Ministry of Federal Affairs & General Administration
Minisry of Finance
National Planning Commission
Office of the Prime Minister & Council of Ministers
15+ Thematic Areas
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
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
into the policymaking process. The session also explores creative approaches
discusses the crucial role of government-friendliness in policies/
Government Partner for the Session: Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers
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
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
Government Partner for the session (TBC): MoFE