Sustainable development is only possible if there is peace. In Nepal, Switzerland supports the integrative social and democratic development of the state and promotes a transparent and effective administration. Swiss development cooperation is active especially in the areas of rural infrastructure, food security and income generation.

Despite progress since the end of a ten-year civil war (1996–2006), the country faces enormous socio-political challenges. Chief among these are deficits in the fields of human rights, the rule of law, transitional justice and social and economic inequalities among Nepal's more than 125 different ethnic groups.

The constitution, which was adopted in September 2015, did not fully meet the expectations and demands of disadvantaged groups. This dissatisfaction resulted in protests that lasted for months and an economic blockade at the border with India. The political events and the massive earthquake in 2015 have severely slowed down economic growth. As a result, many families have again been reduced to poverty.

Nepal ranks 145th out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index of the United Nations Development Programme. In spite of progress in fighting poverty a quarter of the population is still living below the poverty line.

Following the signing of the peace agreement in 2006, in 2008 Nepal became a secular parliamentary federal republic.

The Swiss Cooperation Strategy for Nepal (2013-2017) provides the strategic orientation for the activities of the Swiss Government in support of inclusive democratic state-building, human security and socio-economic development in Nepal. The strategy focuses on the work of the Swiss Foreign Ministry (Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation - SDC and Political Directorate, especially Political Affairs Division IV – PD IV).

Priorities and Objectives

Overall Goal

The overall goal of the Swiss Cooperation Strategy is to contribute to the transformation of Nepal into an inclusive and democratic federal State, which fosters human security and the rule of law, and to promote social, economic and political opportunities that enable women and men alike to make their own choices and sustainably improve their well-being.

Domains of Interventions

The Swiss Programme is comprised of two inter-related domains of intervention. Within the first one, Switzerland wants to contribute to developing an effective and inclusive Nepali Federal State based on Human Security and the Rule of Law principles; within the second domain Switzerland seeks to contribute to people’s increased well-being and resilience, especially of Disadvantaged Groups, living in rural and small urban centres. Using this point of departure, the Programme is able to establish a nexus between Nepal’s political and social conflict - the quest for peace and better governance addressed under Domain 1, and it’s social and economic conflict - the quest for equitable development and poverty reduction addressed under Domain 2. It is thus through this linkage that Switzerland envisions widening and securing space for development  and respond to Nepal’s transition in  relevant way.

Geographical concentration

The Swiss Programme will be implemented countrywide with special emphasis on two cluster areas in central and in western Nepal (see Maps below). Livelihood-related projects will be implemented mainly in VDCs (or the respective successor local administrative structures) along road corridors that offer economic opportunities, particularly for Disadvantaged Groups. The road corridor approach is not per se new, but it will mark an important extension to the cluster approach, which Switzerland has applied for a number of years. The selection of specific new road corridors will be made in 2013, based on an analysis of their potential for combining increased economic development activities, synergies among programmes and poverty reduction strategies, ensuring that Disadvantaged Groups are provided with multiple livelihood options.