1. This Country Programming Framework (CPF) sets out three priority areas of the Government of Nepal (GoN) to guide FAO's partnership and support, bringing together innovative international best practices and global standards with national and regional expertise. It aims at supporting the government efforts towards addressing sustainable and competitive agricultural production for poverty reduction and eradication of hunger and malnutrition; resilient natural resource management and agricultural production system; and inclusive and gender responsive livelihoods enhancement.
2. The CPF outlines the key priority areas of FAO technical assistance support to and partnership with the Government of Nepal in period of five years from 2018 to 2022. The formulation process of this CPF (20182022) involved a wide range of consultations among national stakeholders including line ministries of the Government of Nepal, civil society, private sector, development partners and relevant United Nations agencies including RBAs. It also brought together technical inputs of FAO staff in both FAO Headquarters in Rome and the Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. This CPF document does not prescribe a rigid framework; rather, it can be revisited and adjusted when required according to the changes in government priorities during the period.
I. Country context and priorities
3. Nepal has made remarkable progress over the last 20 years, despite a challenging environment, which included a decadelong conflict, trade disruption at the southern border of the country, and two major earthquakes. The country also achieved most of its development goals and is committed to achieve the Agenda 2030. The Constitution of Nepal promulgated in 2015 has adopted a federal model of governance with three tiers of governments (Federal, Provincial and Local) providing a unique opportunity for Nepal to establish an equitable development trajectory, which leaves no one behind.
4. Over the past decade Nepal's economy performed reasonably well with 4.3 percent growth. Agriculture is a major driver of Nepal's economy and the dominant source of employment. Over that period, poverty rates declined from 42 percent in 1994/95 to about 21.6 percent in 20151 . Agriculture growth has been instrumental for reducing poverty but insufficient to adequately address malnutrition, as underweight, wasting and stunting among under five year old children are 27 percent, 10 percent and 36 percent, respectively, and around 22.8 percent of the population live below the level of minimum dietary consumption requirements2 .
5. Nepal has been undergoing a gradual 'feminization' in the agriculture sector, as male farmers continue to move out of agriculture, migrating to urban areas and abroad in search of more remunerative employment opportunities. The Country Gender Assessment of Agriculture and Rural Development in Nepal shows that 76.4 percent of women are engaged in agriculture work as unpaid family labour with 10.4 percent receiving only inkind payment and 13.2 percent receiving cash and inkind payments3 . Furthermore, only onethird of the extension services delivered reach females.
6. Fortyfour percent of the land in Nepal is under forest. Forestry has significantly contributed to local communities providing wood and nonwood forest products for crop and livestock sectors and household consumption as well as balancing the natural ecosystems and conserving biodiversity. It has also contributed directly and indirectly to the national economy. In line with the SDGs, Nepal targets to increase forest area under community management from 39 percent to 42 percent by 2030. Similarly, it proposes to halt forest loss and plant 5 000 ha of forests per year.
7. Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change, hydrometeorological disasters and extreme events such as drought, storm, flood, inundation, landslide, debris flow and soil erosion4 . These natural disasters often affect food and nutritional security of vulnerable households as well as their livelihoods. Women and children are the most affected people.
8. Against this background, Nepal developed its national Sustainable Development Goals and Targets proposing to reduce the rate of the population below the national poverty line from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 13.8 percent by 2022 and to increase the consumption share of bottom 20 percent households from 7.6 percent to 9.7 percent during the same period5 . The national SDGs for Nepal also aim to reduce stunting from 35.8 percent to 28.6 percent, wasting from to 11.3 to 7.0 percent and proportion of underweight children from 30.1 to 18 percent, by 20226 . The national SDGs for Nepal plan to integrate these aspects into the national development policy and planning targets.
9. After the promulgation of the new Constitution in 2015 followed by the first democratic elections held in late 2017, the governance structure in Nepal has changed and now includes 753 local governments, seven provincial governments and a federal government at the center, along with decentralization of decision power and allocation of resources to each. Nepals political transition is a landmark event accompanied by the decentralization of control over natural and agricultural resources to the provincial and local level. As a result, provinces and local governments (municipalities) have become the relevant authorities to oversee the management of natural resources including forests and agriculture7 and will receive increased demand on their capacities. This institutional transition offers a significant opportunity to equip these new custodians at different layers with the capacities, policies and plans needed to support the scaling up of sustainable forest and agricultural management system in the changed context.
This CPF duly considers the above needs into its priority outcomes and outputs.
10. The CPF is consistent with the global SDGs. FAO, which worldwide contributes to the achievement of 15 out of the 17 SDGs, is well placed to support GoN's efforts towards achieving the SDGs. Furthermore, the CPF is linked to FAO's organizationwide Strategic Objectives (SOs) and FAO's Regional Priorities and Initiatives, specifically those on Blue Growth, Climate Change, Minimizing Food Waste and Loss, One Health, and Zero Hunger. CPF also aligns with the Nepal UN Development Assistance Framework's (UNDAF 20182022) priorities and outcomes.
11. The CPF is formulated in line with a series of national strategies and polices and international treaties as given below:
a. The Constitution of Nepal (2015) states the right to food as one of the fundamental rights of each citizen. Nepal enacted the Right to Food and Food Sovereignty act which ensures fundamental rights relating to food of its citizens.
b. The Agricultural Development Strategy (ADS) developed by Nepal for 2015 to 2035 provides the main policy framework for the sector. This strategy proposes a 4 percent annual growth in agriculture GDP by 2020 and 6 percent annually by 2025 through working on four strategic pillars: (a) improving governance, (b) increasing productivity, (c) supporting profitable commercialization, and (d) enhancing competitiveness. The ADS is aligned with the Government's Periodic Plans and MultiSector Nutrition Plan II (20182022). MSNP II guides the investments of the Government of Nepal in nutrition and details the roles of line ministries. The ADS also includes a flagship program on food security and nutrition (FSN), identifying priority activities to improve FSN across the country.
c. Nepal has also formulated its Zero Hunger Challenge National Plan of Action (20162025) with the objective of ending hunger and malnutrition based on people's access to adequate, nutritious and affordable food all year round. It promotes sustainable food systems, targetting a 100 per cent increase in the productivity and income of smallholders. It also aims to bring the level of food loss to zero.
d. The Forest Policy (2019) proposes sustainable management of forests to increase production and productivity through ecosystem management. Reducing deforestation is emphasized under the Forestry Sector Strategy (20162025), while sustainable management of forest resources is emphasized under the National REDD plus Strategy. Likewise, the Nepal Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (20142020) gives importance to biodiversity conservation and ecosystem resilience. All these contribute to the efforts to mitigate adverse environmental effects and disasters, influencing agricultural production and productivity.
e. The forthcoming Fifteenth National Development Plan (20192024) has proposed to generate prosperity and happiness as the national goal. In the agriculture sector the plan is to include livestock innovation, high value agricultural production, agroforestry and floriculture production, storehouse and cold storage construction, quality seed research and extension, agrimechanization promotion, climate change adaptation and resilient technology development, land productivity enhancement and sustainable land use, implementation of land use policy, and production and processing of nonwood forest products and medicinal plants.
f. As a party to the Paris Agreement, Nepal is committed to contribute to efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change. It has submitted to the UNFCCC its Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) Plan for efficient management and utilization of natural resources contributing to building resilience. The National Adaptation Programme of Action (NAPA) is prepared for adaptation to climate change and disasters. The country's Climate Change Policy (2011) is supportive of the socioeconomic development process while adopting climate resilient approaches. Other policies and strategies include the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA), the National Resilience Implementation Plan (NRIP) and the Environment Friendly Local Government Framework (EFLGF)
Source: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations