Session Chairs and Discussants

Session 1A: Economic, Education, and Health Issues I

Chair: Alok Bohara, University of New Mexico, USA
Hari Katuwal
Sushant Koirala
Vijaya R. Sharma

Session 1B: Economic, Education, and Health Issues II

Chair: Prakash Adhikari, Central Michigan University, USA
Keshav Bhattarai
Sherrie Palm
Sakib Mahmud
Naresh Nepal
Shikha Silwal

Session 2A: Environment and Climate Change

Chair: Sakib Mahmud, University of Wisconsin-Superior, USA
Mohan Balla
Chet Bhatt
Assem Sharma

Session 2B: Socio-Political Issues

Chair: Tanzeem Iqbal Ali, University of Wyoming, USA
Prakash Adhikari
Alok Bohara
Bijaya Gautam

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Thursday, October 17th
12:00 AM

Challenges of ensuring justice to victims in post-conflict Nepal

Bijay Raj Gautam, Informal Sector Service Center, Nepal

12:00 AM

The incidents of grave human rights violations committed in the past, if not addressed prudently, are likely to result in serious repercussions. Due to the total disregard of numerous human rights violations committed during the decade-long armed conflict, Nepal's human rights situation has been a matter of worry even after the end of the insurgency. This paper argues that it is indispensable for the government of Nepal to revisit the country's bloody and repressive past in order to adopt necessary measures towards reconciliation. This research provides a thorough review of the draft Truth and Reconciliation Commission bill introduced by the government of Nepal with particular emphasis on its shortcomings. The discussion of the limitations of the bill is supported with pertinent anecdotal evidence gathered through fieldwork.

Climatological variability and trends in the Koshi River Basin, Nepal

Assem Sharma, University of Northern British Columbia, Canada
Arun Shrestha, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal
Sager Bajracharya, International Center for Integrated Mountain Development, Nepal

12:00 AM

Research shows increasing frequency of climatic variability and extreme events throughout Nepal. However, there are not specific studies on the Koshi basin, one of the most important basins of the country in term of livelihood and economy. This study explores the pattern of climate change over the Koshi basin based on observed data from 1970 to 2010. The basin covers a total area of about 60400 km2. The Koshi River and its tributaries, through agriculture and other natural resources, support approximately 5.2 million people living in this basin. Any changes in climate will have significant impacts on the agricultural based communities of Koshi. Through this study we examine changes in climate indices and the trend of occurrence of extreme climate events over the study period. We provide recommendations of immediate, short term, and long term adaptation strategies and actions to cope with the changes.

Consequences of public programs and private transfers on household’s investment in protection from natural disasters

Sakib Mahmud, University of Wisconsin-Superior, USA
Gazi Hassan, University of Waikato, New Zealand

12:00 AM

Considering the issues of households’ accessibility to public programs and private inward remittances, there is a need to better understand the linkages through which households’ decision to pursue private defensive strategies (or private protection activities) might be influenced. This has significant policy implications especially for low-and-middle income countries vulnerable to natural disasters. We introduce a theoretical model of household private investment in protection against damages from a natural disaster event given the presence of public programs and the possibility of receiving inward remittances from members of the household.

Democratic transitions and Maoist insurgency: The Shining Path of Peru and the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist)

Prakash Adhikari, Central Michigan University, USA
Nick Rowell, University of Arkansas, USA

12:00 AM

This study compares outcomes of two major insurgency movements often noted for their harsh treatment of civilians, the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (CPN-M) and Peru's Shining Path. Both movements began as small isolated conflicts in the midst of a democratic transition, espoused similar ideologies with little regard for liberal democratic values or institutions, deployed comparably brutal tactics, and rose rapidly to seriously threaten the ruling state. Despite comparable origins, these insurgencies ended very differently. In Peru, the Shining Path was essentially defeated by the state in the years immediately following the 1992 capture of its leader, Abimael Guzmán. Meanwhile, in Nepal, the CPN-M fought to a negotiated entry into electoral politics in 2006 and currently holds major power in parliamentary politics. Why? Within the context of a democratic transition, what explains one Maoist insurgency's decline and the other's rise to power? Using a qualitative comparative historical approach, we provide a systematic examination of social and political forces associated with the outcome of each insurgency.

Does social participation make us happier?

Hari Katuwal, University of Montana, USA

12:00 AM

Recent studies on self-declared happiness show that higher income does not always lead to happiness; happiness depends on several other factors. Voluntary social participation, among several other factors, has a potential to contribute to greater happiness. In this study we use survey data (n=1200) from Kathmandu, Nepal to examine if individuals who participated in social activities are happier and more satisfied. More specifically, we hypothesize that social participation has positive impact on happiness and satisfaction. Impacts of other demographic and socioeconomic characteristics are also examined. We use an ordered probit model for this purpose. Our results indicate that social participation is indeed an important component of happiness and satisfaction.

Effect of unplanned urban growth on human health and sustainable development: A spatial analysis of the urban growth patterns in Nepal

Keshav Bhattarai, University of Central Missouri, USA

12:00 AM

This paper first provides a spatial analysis of Nepal’s urban growth patterns from historical perspectives. Second, it geovisualizes urban morphologies of the Kathmandu metropolitan area using ESRI made CityEngine to display how unplanned concrete jungle would not only exert stresses on urban lives through increased heat waves and greenhouse gases, but also from increased urban vulnerabilities. Third, the paper analyzes urban sprawls and their unintended but irreversible environmental consequences on human health and sustainability. Fourth, it develops land use/cover metrics using remote sensing techniques to determine the ratio of built-in structures and open spaces. The ultimate goal of this paper is to provide a framework for the development of twenty-first century cities in South Asia.

Effects of Fuelwood and Adult Illiteracy on Household Health Expenditure in Rural Nepal

Sushant Koirala, University of Pittsburgh, USA

12:00 AM

This study estimates the effects of two factors—the amount of fuelwood used and the number of illiterate adults per household—on the health expenditure of rural households in Nepal. The data was obtained from a household survey conducted in the rural areas of Nepal by the United Nations Development Program in 2008. Using the OLS technique, the study finds that household health expenditure has a positive relationship with the use of fuelwood as well as the number of illiterate adults, suggesting that both contribute to higher health expenditure.

Farmers’ dependency on forests for transfer of nutrients (NPK) to farmlands in mid-hills and high mountain regions of Nepal (case studies in Tibrekot, Kaski, and Lete and Kunjo, Mustang district)

Mohan Krishna Balla, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Krishna Raj Tiwari, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Gandhiv Kafle, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Shrikrishna Gautam, Department of Forest Research and Survey, Nepal
Shankar Thapa, Tribhuvan University, Nepal
Bandana Basnet, Tribhuvan University, Nepal

12:00 AM

This study assesses several aspects of farming practiced by three small communities from parts of Nepal. The questions addressed are related to (1) the amounts of nitrogen, phosphorous, and potassium (NPK) that are transferred through litter from forest to farmlands, (2) the regulation of the forest product extraction systems and (3) farmers' perceptions on forest dependency for maintaining farm fertility. The communities surveyed are Lete and Kunjo from the district of Mustang (high mountains) and Tibrekot from Kaski (mid-hill region).

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 Eighth Annual Himalayan Policy Research Conference, Thursday, October 17, 2013, Madison Concourse Hotel and Governors' Club, Preconference Venue of the 42nd South Asian Conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Stakeholders' perceptions of foreign aid and an NGO-driven project: A case study of Sagarmatha National Park Forestry Project in Khumbu, Nepal

Chet Prasad Bhatta, University of Kansas, USA
Michal Bardecki, Ryerson University, Canada

12:00 AM

Even though foreign aid and NGOs were established with good intentions, the results associated with NGO-led development in developing countries are mixed. Nepal is an ideal location for studying the impact of foreign aid and NGO involvement in rural development as the numbers of NGOs grew from just 293 in 1990 to more than 27,000 in 2010 (SWC, 2010). NGOs in Nepal have established themselves as important stakeholders in the development process. They claimed to have positively impacted the lives of rural communities and are established as partners in the development process of the country. However, several scholars disagree with this claim (Acharya, 1997; Siwakoti, 2000; Bhattachan, 2004). Bhattachan (2004) argues that, despite more than two decades of NGO involvement in rural development, rural areas in Nepal have changed very little. However, due to the lack of a good evaluation, Nepal's NGO sector challenges many generalizations about the role that NGOs play.

The Value of a Sustainable Protocol to Address Uterine Prolapse in Nepal: Health Camp, Education and Employment Synergy

Sherrie Palm, Association for Pelvic Organ Prolapse Support, USA

12:00 AM

In order to address UP concerns in Nepal successfully, multiple aspects of UP dynamic must be incorporated into programs. Initiatives that focus on UP will only become successful when they address the need for long-term sustainability and target both the health condition and the challenging social norms associated with it.

Trafficking of tribal women in Sub-Himalayan region: With special reference to Manipur, North East India

Ajailiu Niumai, University of Hyderabad, India

12:00 AM

The main objective of this paper is to examine the trajectory of trafficking and the impact of globalization on it, including the subsequent spread of HIV/AIDS. It will also highlight the Look East Policy in the North East region and its future impact on women.

Valuing a multi-voiced perspective on comparative urban Bangladesh physics learning experiences

Tanzeem Ali, University of Wyoming, USA
Timothy Slater, University of Wyoming, USA

12:00 AM

A neo-culture of extra-curricular coaching prior to sitting the terminal exam was once the privileged domain of public education systems in the Eastern world, but this is no longer the case. This multi-phase study based on a grounded theory approach considered a diversity of physics learning experiences of students and alumni from two urban private schools, an extra-curricular coaching center, and a private tutor in a developing South-Asian country.