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NCCR North-South - Research Partnerships for Sustainable Development

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South Asia

Regional Edition South Asia No. 12
Women in peacebuilding in South Asia

Women are among those who suffer most from violence and armed conflict. They thus have a major stake in prevention of conflict and violence and in peacebuilding. Experience from various war-torn countries shows that women can play a crucial role in the peace process. However, their potential contributions to peacebuilding have not yet been fully realised in South Asia mainly because of the patriarchal, top-down, and male-dominated mindset of political decision-makers. This brief explores ways in which the women in the region can be given the opportunity to contribute more fully to peacebuilding.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 11
Engaging the business sector in peace promotion in north-east India

Violent ethnic conflicts in north-east India severely affect all aspects of life in the region. The region's business sector has also been hard hit but has shown little interest in becoming engaged on behalf of peace promotion efforts. This policy brief outlines the key factors discouraging local business actors from actively promoting peace, including fears of being directly targeted by extremist groups or even state security forces. And it discusses ways of facilitating their constructive involvement, such as expanding the Look East Policy to include peace promotion through economic development.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 10
Protecting Nepalese women migrant workers

Government conditions on Nepalese women’s migration have increased their vulnerability. Rather than protecting them from trafficking as intended, many laws have forced women to choose riskier paths to employment abroad. In addition, a pattern of imposing, lifting, and re-imposing bans has sown widespread confusion about the legality of women’s migration. This uncertainty enables unregulated middlemen to coerce women into exploitative foreign work arrangements. Permanently ending bans and creating safe migration mechanisms, effective information dissemination, and strong regulations on middlemen can help protect women from trafficking.
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Regional Edition South Asia No. 9
Post-conflict state-building in Nepal: foundations for a stronger nation

Nepal’s prolonged transition to a federal republican system has complicated post-conflict state-building. Delays in fulfilling the provisions of its peace agreement, power struggles, and lack of political skills have hampered consensus-building. The economy, bureaucratic and political restructuring, natural resource governance, and international relations remain problematic. This policy brief asserts that conducive policies, responsive institutions, and facilitative regulatory frameworks for good governance are key to Nepal’s post-conflict recovery, peace, and stability.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 8
Taking gender and development seriously: supporting Pakistani women who work for rural development

Development projects in Pakistan are hiring increasing numbers of Pakistani female professionals to work on rural projects that target women in addition to men. However, women development practitioners face many challenges in their work in remote areas. Many of the challenges relate to their gender, such as mobility restrictions placed on women and questions raised about their morality if they take up employment, in particular a job that includes fieldwork. This discourages qualified women from taking on such work. As this policy brief shows, development organisations must address this issue if they are to adequately serve their female target groups..

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 7
Towards sustainable forest governance in northwest Pakistan

Pakistan’s remaining forest cover is depleting rapidly. Ineffective forest governance is seen as a major reason. Government authorities in Pakistan’s most forested province have undertaken several interventions with support from various international donors. These aim to change how forests are governed, making planning and management procedures more inclusive. But as this policy brief outlines, improving forest governance in Pakistan depends on addressing issues of mistrust between state officials and local forest users as well as unclear forest rights, the dominance of customary regulations in many areas, and a lack of economic incentives for sustainable use.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 6
Linking research with policy: experiences and lessons from South Asia

Linking research with policy is a major concern in South Asia, where few politicians and policymakers base their decisions on research evidence. Reasons for this include weak research planning, poor dissemination of research findings, ineffective use of media outlets, and a lack of engagement by researchers with policymakers. This issue of evidence for policy describes how NCCR North-South research in South Asia has contributed to policymaking and change processes by following a proper planning and dissemination strategy.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 5
Transformative land reform in South Asia

Land is a vital asset in South Asian agrarian societies, as it determines the overall socio-economic, political, and cultural status of individuals and families, as well as their power relations. Landlessness, poverty, marginalisation, social exclusion, discrimination, and inequality are largely linked to the skewed distribution of land. Though efforts have been made to solve these issues through reforms, their focus has been too narrow. This edition of evidence for policy argues for a holistic policy of transformative land reform that reduces pressure on this limited resource while balancing economic efficiency and social equity.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 4
Addressing issues and concerns of Internally Displaced Persons in Nepal

The plight of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) is a major global challenge. In 2010, 27.5 million people in 54 countries were displaced by conflict alone. In Nepal, an estimated 250,000 people were displaced by the recent Maoist conflict. To date, interventions for IDPs largely obey the “basic needs” framework of humanitarian agencies. But this often overlooks the heterogeneity of IDPs and the actual support they require. This issue of evidence for policy illustrates the need for more suitable interventions that reflect local contexts and consider IDPs’ livelihoods from a broader socio-economic and political perspective.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 3
Community-based and peace-sensitive tourism: fulfilling Nepal’s potential

Nepal is growing in popularity as a tourist destination due to its rich cultural heritage and natural attractions. Tourism has tremendous potential to promote economic growth and alleviate poverty in Nepal, especially if it is community based. This policy brief explains the advantages of building a tourism industry from the ground up, involving and educating local communities to ensure they benefit and to prevent conflicts or harm to the natural environment. A new trekking route collaboratively developed by researchers, the private sector, and local people is presented that could provide the basis for a Nepalese tourism code of conduct.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 2
Mediated policy dialogues to address conflict over natural resource governance

Mistrust and conflict between government departments and local stakehold­ers form a major barrier to effective natural resource governance in South Asia. In Pakistan, mistrust between forest officials and forest users has led to tension in joint forest management programmes. In Nepal, differing perspectives on land reform among political parties, the state, and local people have stymied progress. In both countries, state agencies are often viewed as opposing people’s rights. This policy brief highlights how mediated dialogues, facilitated by an independent group such as researchers, can develop and strengthen mutual trust and collaboration between stakeholders, and eventually lessen or solve conflicts over natural resources.

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Regional Edition South Asia No. 1
Nepal's peace process and challenges ahead

Nepal is facing tremendous challenges in post-conflict times. Studies by the Nepal Research Group ­– a loose network of research organisations including the South Asia Coordination Office of the NCCR North-South ­– have found that important tasks outlined in Nepal's 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement have not been implemented. Most pressing is the need to create a new constitution by May 2011. This policy brief describes the reasons behind the difficulties and the ingredients necessary for the peace process to succeed.

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Policy Briefs

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The NCCR North-South is hosted by the University of Bern
and funded jointly by the Swiss National Science Foundation and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation