Session Chairs and Discussants

Session 1A: South-South Cooperation & Developmental Issues

Chair: Mukti Upadhyay, Eastern Illinois University, USA
James Michael Mahar
Pradumna Bickram Rana
Vinayagathasan Thanabalasingam

Session 1B: Resources and Environment

Chair: Kaustubha Nand Bhatt, G.B. Pant Social Science Institute, India
Sakib Mahmud
Rishikesh Bhandary
Bill Fleming
Keshav Bhattarai
Shandar Prasad Acharya

Session 2A: Political and Administrative Restructuring

Chair: James Michael Mahar, University of Arizona, USA
Andre Lecours
Kaustubha Nand Bhatt
Christopher Butler
Sucheta Pyakuryal
Pramod Kantha

Session 2B:

Chairs: Bill Fleming, University of New Mexico, USA
Arati Maleku
Prakash Adhikari
Parbat Dhungana
Menuka Karki
Sadixya Bista
Bonita Sharma

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Thursday, October 11th
12:00 AM

A North Indian village that changed, 1954-2010

James Michael Mahar, University of Arizona, USA

12:00 AM

What social, economic and cultural changes have occurred in Khaalaapur since 1954 when Cornell and Lucknow Universities conducted a base line study prior to government efforts to effect change? This study is based on a comprehensive census survey of the entire village carried out in 1954, 1968, 1979, 2001 combined with anthropological observations conducted on twenty visits of three to nine month duration following an initial two year residence. Statistical techniques of microdemography are used to assess changes in occupation, education, fertility, and urban migration.

Coalition formation in climate negotiations: Insights for mountain coalitions

Rishikesh Bhandary, Tufts University, USA

12:00 AM

This paper investigates coalition formation in climate negotiations. By using the Alliance of Small Island States and the Coalition for Rainforest Nations as case studies, a coalition formation model is created to provide the basis for recommendations for the mountain coalitions. After providing the narratives of the two competing models of the mountain coalitions, the coalition formation model is used to identify gaps. Significant areas of convergence exist between the two coalitions and the primary bottleneck lies in taking the work of the technical experts into the negotiating arena.

Coherence between environment policy and school level curricular processes in Nepal

Parbat K. Dhungana, Kathmandu University, Nepal

12:00 AM

The study takes multiple sources of evidence including relevant literature as one major source. This is a case study that examines constructive interpretation of data aligned with qualitative research. The study builds its conclusion on the actions and behavior of core respondents, namely policymakers, curriculum developers, curriculum practitioners and implementers (schools), students, and parents. An important finding of this research is that the penetration of environment education gets shallower at each step of the process from policy formulation to classroom practice. The gaps are relatively wide between policy and curriculum development, and curriculum and classroom teaching. The curriculum evaluation practices are malfunctioning and need to be fixed urgently. The major problem has been a lack of professional expertise in the institutions responsible for managing environment education.

Decentralization and development in India: Issues and challenges Kaustubha Nand

Kaustubha Nand Bhatt, University of Allahabad, India

12:00 AM

This paper analyses the possibility of empowering human rights – particularly citizens’ rights to development – by utilizing the process of decentralized development within the broader context of globalization. It examines various contemporary theoretical perspectives of participatory development and social justice. The paper discusses issues concerning the creation of decentralized democratic institutions of development at the grassroots level within the existing constitutional provisions in India in order to erase the adverse impacts of global markets and increase productivity, efficiency and equity.

Determining carbon abatement cost through the integration of remotely sensed land cover observations and biogeochemical model

Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri, USA

12:00 AM

This paper estimates the economic returns of carbon abatement through biological sequestration in the forests of Nepal under future REDD policy. Using sequential remotely sensed land cover observations and a biogeochemical model, this paper attempts to estimate the contemporary and future ecosystem carbon trends. The paper applies the General Ensemble Biogeochemical Modeling System (GEMS) and examines how effective carbon sequestration can be through a sustainable forest management approach. This study uses a case example of the Bara district of Nepal for the period of 1970-2010.

Ethnic wage differential in Nepal: The cost of being Dalit

Menuka Karki, University of New Mexico, USA
Alok Bohara, University of New Mexico, USA

12:00 AM

This paper analyzes the wage differential between different caste groups for finding whether Dalit, a minority caste group, faces wage discrimination in Nepal. The paper uses data from Nepal Labor Force Survey-I, which is the first multi-topic national labor survey conducted by the Central Bureau of Statistics in 1998 and 1999 and which includes data from all across the country with details of work type and payment basis.

Full Proceedings

Vijaya R. Sharma, University of Colorado, Boulder
Mukti P. Upadhyay, Eastern Illinois University
Jeffrey Drope, Marquette University
Naresh Nepal, University of New Mexico

12:00 AM

Papers, abstracts and proceedings of the Seventh Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference, Thursday, October 11, 2012, Madison Concourse Hotel and Governors' Club, Preconference Venue of the 41st South Asian Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison

Gender mainstreaming in Nepal: Policy and practices

Bonita Sharma, University of Texas-Arlington, USA

12:00 AM

This report examines the efforts undertaken by Nepal for incorporating gender mainstreaming policies and practices in its plans and programs and assesses the overall level of performance in gender mainstreaming and promoting gender equality in the country. The United Nations Fourth World Conference (UNFWC) on women held in Beijing in 1995 adopted a ‘Platform for Action,’ which called on governments and other actors to promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programs of their country, so that an analysis is made of the effects on women and men before any program or decision is undertaken. Even though the conference gave no specific guidelines, many countries have adopted national plans for gender mainstreaming.

Impact of climate change on human livelihood and agricultural growth in Himalayan Country Nepal

Shankar Prasad Acharya, Nepal Rastra Bank, Nepal

12:00 AM

Present-day concerns continue to grow about the adverse impacts on human life of climate change, which includes issues such as increased food insecurities. Climate change has many impacts on the overall ecosystem, directly and indirectly, however its impact on agriculture can be understood to be more direct as it is particularly vulnerable to these changes. Concern about climate change in Nepal may be particularly acute as the result of the observed early symptom of rapidly increasing average temperatures. Partly as a result of these temperature changes, Nepal has recently become a rice importer, where it was an exporter previously. Nepal now faces a food deficit in more than 27 districts in the hill and high hill areas. Productivity and quality of food production is also in question in Nepal as both of them are in deterioration. In reaction to these challenges, farmers are employing excess chemical fertilizer and pesticides, which has led to widespread soil contamination in particular and increasing pollution in general. Amid this emerging crisis, the proposed paper, seeks to examine empirically over time the relationship between climatic variables such as temperature and precipitation and agricultural gross domestic product (AGDP), while controlling for the use of agriculture inputs (chemical fertilizer, pesticides, improved seeds, irrigation etc). In a paired qualitative analysis, the research will highlight the current trends of human habitat displacement and corresponding efforts at rehabilitation.

Inequities in antenatal care in Nepal: An ecological perspective

Arati Maleku, University of Texas-Arlington, USA
Vijayan Pillai, University of Texas-Arlington, USA

12:00 AM

The purpose of our study is to examine the relationship between SES and antenatal care across the distinct ecological zones in Nepal with an emphasis on the physical environment as a component of ecological effects on the utilization and consumption of antenatal care.

Inflation and economic growth: A dynamic panel threshold analysis for Asian economies

Vinayagathasan Thanabalasingam, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan
Roberto Leon-Gonzalez, National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, Japan

12:00 AM

This study investigates whether there is non-linear relationship between inflation and economic growth. To that aim we ask the following research question: (i) Is there a threshold level of inflation above which inflation significantly hurts economic growth in Asian countries, (ii) if there is one, how does this threshold affect Asian growth, and (iii) is the threshold value statistically significant?

Living on the edge: Exclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) population in Nepal

Sadixya Bista, SNV, Nepal

12:00 AM

Despite of all the achievements progress remains tenuous and LGBTI persons are often stigmatized for revealing identity and are barred from various life enhancing opportunities. Thus, they are socially, politically and economically backward and their access to available life opportunity is very limited. Thus, this paper has made an effort to explore a) their social relationship (individual and institutional level), b) their access over formal education and employment, and c) the repercussion of exclusion and discrimination on LGBTI persons.

Nepali troubled transition: Some broader patterns

Pramod K. Kantha, Wright State University, USA

12:00 AM

The end of the CA has amplified Nepal’s political uncertainties. The question that looms large is whether Nepal’s political parties will continue to work together to deliver a constitution that regularizes democratic process or whether they will drift further apart and endanger the gains already achieved. My paper argues that the basic dynamics underlying Nepal’s current political transformations remains unchanged. Cooperation among Nepal’s political parties has been the most crucial factor in this transformation. Interparty cooperation among Nepal’s political parties and the critical role of Nepal’s neighbors are the two linchpins of this dynamics. How will these internal and external factors impact Nepali politics in the new context of CA dissolution? In the following sections, I identify five broader patterns that have set the contours of Nepal’s current political transition and then I follow up with brief explanations of the same.

Patronage, politics and administration in Naya Nepal

Sucheta Pyakuryal, University of North Florida, USA

12:00 AM

How has it evolved since the advent of multi-party democracy in 1990? What should be its role in the formation of “Naya Nepal”? How will a fractured, heavily politicized bureaucracy impact the process of democracy consolidation and constitution building? The paper seeks to answer these questions.

Re-invigorating South Asia by deepening "Look East" policies

Pradumna Bickram Rana, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

12:00 AM

This paper will argue that one way of re-invigorating South Asia is to deepen its “Look East” policies. Greater trade and investment with East Asia (defined as ASEAN+3) will not only re-energize South Asian economic integration which has stalled at a low level (for political reasons) but lead to greater economic dynamism in South Asia. Deeper integration within the sub-region and economic growth will, in turn, lead to the “re-emergence” of Pan-Asia.

Restructuring the state in Nepal: The difficulty of a federal bargain

Andre Lecours, University of Ottawa, Canada

12:00 AM

Why is the basic design of the federal system proving so problematic in Nepal? In the literature, the origins of federal systems are typically located in elite pacts seeking to create common markets and security arrangements or to provide autonomy to communities with a historical homeland. Not only does neither situation apply very well to Nepal, but the literature is mostly silent on what causes frictions in negotiations over federalism beyond the behavior of maximizing self-interested actors or the autonomist pursuit of a specific historical community. This paper will draw on historical institutionalism to account for the paradox of the difficulty to agree on federalism in Nepal despite the apparent unanimity between major political parties that federalism is necessary to manage the country’s diversity (close to 100 groups are officially recognized) in a democratic regime. It develops three complementary explanations for addressing this paradox.

“Since the Fighting Stopped”: Changing attitudes about development in rural Nepal

Christopher Butler, University of California-Santa Cruz, USA

12:00 AM

In the wake of a ten-year civil insurgency in Nepal, scholars are looking back into the conflict to understand the social transformations influenced by the rise of the Maoist party. Using Stacy Pigg’s three seminal articles on Nepal and development as a baseline, I explore data from 63 surveys recorded in the Jumla Village Development Committee in summer 2009 to understand how the Maoist presence altered rural attitudes about development and the Nepalese government. My data suggest that rural people have shifted from an expectation and reliance on the government and international aid and toward a cooperative and more self-sufficient model of producing change. These findings, I suggest, have implications for sustaining Nepal’s recently-established republic as well as future work dedicated to improving rural livelihoods.

Valuing adverse health outcomes against storm damages given the presence of private defensive strategies, public programs, and natural barriers: Evidence from Bangladesh coastal areas

Sakib Mahmud, University of Wisconsin-Superior, USA
Edward B. Barbier, University of Wyoming, USA

12:00 AM

Given the possible influence of public programs and mangroves on private defensive strategies, our paper is about specific private actions to reduce: a) the likelihood (probability or risk) that a household will face adverse health impacts from a major storm, and b) the adverse impacts, or severity, of any such health outcomes if they occur. The paper is also about whether exogenous influences, such as post-disaster government rehabilitation and relief programs, or the presence of mangroves and human-made embankments, affect these private defensive strategies of a household. To examine these issues, we classified a household’s private defensive expenditures into two categories: (1) self-protection expenditures, which are actions that reduce the likelihood of storm-inflicted health risks, a form of ex-ante prevention before the storm event; and, (2) mitigating activities and treatments expenditures, which are actions to reduce the severity or magnitude of storm-inflicted injuries or diseases, a form of ex-post adaptation after the storm event.

Wildlife sanctuary ecotourism in Kerala, India: An alternative source of livelihood for resident tribal families

Bill Fleming, University of New Mexico
Jeanie Fleming, Freelance writer, editor and photographer, USA

12:00 AM

The Parambikulum Wildlife Sanctuary in the southern Indian state of Kerala was established in 1962 as a reserve and enlarged in 1973 and 1985 to become a 285 square kilometer sanctuary with significant botanical and wildlife habitat. The setting and diversity of animals, including 268 bird species, 39 species of mammals, 61 species of reptiles, 47 species of fish, 16 species of amphibians and 124 species of butterflies, make Parambikulum a tourist destination. Due to its remote location, it has access only through Anamalai Tiger Reserve, a section of Indira Gandhi National Park in neighboring Tamil Nadu. There are no private tourist facilities nearby (unlike parks such as Corbett and Rathambore). The sanctuary itself provides lodging and meals for tourists. Over 47,500 people visited the Sanctuary in 2011-12, with a daily limit of 200 visitors. Private vehicles are limited to 30 per day. The authors visited Parambikulam in the winter of 2011-12 and found it an excellent example of making local livelihood a key component of park management. Methods of data collection included interviews, photo records and field evaluations with tribal guides.