The Developing Democracy in Nepal Initiative comprised two projects between 2007 and 2011:

  • the Engaging Civil Society in Democratic Development project; and
  • the Engaging with the Constituent Assembly and Law Makers on Constitutional Issues project.

Under the projects, the Nepal Bar Association was supported to strengthen its institutional capacity, assist Nepalis to exercise their democratic and human rights and engage with the Constituent Assembly and law makers to ensure the new Constitution reflected the culture, traditions and preferences of all Nepalese citizens.

The result was a more inclusive and effective proposed Constitution with specific provisions on fundamental rights, including equality rights and administration of justice under a federal government structure.


Engaging with the Constituent Assembly and Law Makers on Constitutional Issues (DDN II)

AUGUST 2009 – AUGUST 2011

A collaboration between the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) with a focus on engaging with the Constituent Assembly (CA ) and law makers on constitutional issues. Project activities have included: launching the gender report; local public consultations by NBA bar units across the country to collect input on the areas researched under DDN I, including human rights and the justice system; publication and submission to Nepal’s CA of a Position Paper on the Justice System; drafting a NBA position paper on human rights; drafting a discussion paper and workbook on gender equality rights; drafting a Preliminary Report on a Justice System Transition Plan for Nepal; a delegation of 12 Nepali lawmakers to Ottawa and Toronto to learn about our federal structure and judicial system; regional workshops on the constitutional areas of contention identified by the CA to provide it with views on how to resolve the issues. The results to date include a more informed, deliberative and inclusive constitution making process, and an NBA that is increasingly knowledgeable and capable of supporting the new constitution.  Expected results at the end of the project include a more inclusive and effective constitution with specific provisions on fundamental rights, including equality rights and administration of justice under a federal structure of government.


Local Public Consultations 

Following up on the 4 test consultations held in June 2009 with the interim funding under DDN I, the NBA’s remaining 79 bar units conducted public consultations in their geographical area of the country. The data collected will be analyzed and incorporated into the final position papers. 

Finalization of Six Position Papers and Participation in the Constituent Assembly’s (CA ) Public Consultation Process

The timing of these activities depends on receiving the data from the local bar units, approval of the position papers by the NBA Executive, the CA ’s completion of the draft constitution and setting of a schedule for public consultations. 

Provision of Legal Services to DDN Partners 

Activities related to the NBA’s provision of legal advice and advocacy training to CIDA funded DDN I Partners (8-11 Nepali NGO's) include: group and individual meetings between the NBA (specifically with the NBA’s newly hired Legal Researcher and Policy Analyst) and DDN Partners to identify gaps in the knowledge and understanding of the rights and obligations contained in the new constitution and develop training and public education programs to address these gaps and to identify future areas for possible policy and advocacy engagement; holding a constitutional advocacy workshop for these NGO’s;  and, engaging Canadian technical experts to prepare a constitution implementation discussion paper focusing on equality rights.

Launching of Gender Equality Report

The report on the promotion of women in the legal profession is titled Ringing the Equality Bell: The Role of Women Lawyers in Promoting Gender Equality in Nepal was launched in early October 2009.

Justice System Transition Team, June 16-25, 2010

A photo of the Nepal Members

The CBA-NBA Developing Democracy in Nepal (DDN) Project has created a Justice System Transition Team (JSTT) comprised of three Canadian (see short biographies below) and six Nepali technical resource persons. The JSTT’s objective is to map the existing infrastructure, human resources and budget allocations related to Nepal's Justice System and identify the additional and/or increased needs in these three categories in order to implement an effective (inclusive, accessible and accountable) justice system in a federal Nepal.

From June 16 to 25 the NBA-CBA Transition Team met with various justice system stakeholders: government administrators; judges and judicial organizations; tribunals and commissions; law schools; rule of law NGOs; INGOs; and, lawyers to collect information on who provides what justice system related activities, where such services are provided (nationally, regionally, locally) and to whom. The information collected will be used to produce a JS Transition Paper which it is hoped will provide the CA with a framework for developing a transition plan for implementing Nepal’s federal justice system once the constitution has been promulgated.

Series of Meetings on Restructuring, Transition and Implementation

These meetings  will be supported by the NBACBAUNDP , Embassy of Switzerland and International IDEA. Participants will include, the CA Secretariat, CA Members, Government (Ministers and Senior Public Servants), the Administrative Restructuring Committee, legal professionals, civil society and media, and international and national subject experts. The meetings will focus on the Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches of government, the establishment of federal units and the civil service. At the end of the series participants, and specifically the CA Secretariat, expect to have practical and implementable recommendations to ensure transition provisions will be included in the new constitution, that the government and development partners have an early start in planning for the transition period, and that the implementation will be smooth and steady.

Engaging Civil Society in Democratic Development in Nepal (DDN I)

The objective of the Engaging Civil Society in Democratic Development project was to support Nepal in its movement towards democracy by strengthening the capacity of the Nepal Bar Association (NBA) to assist all Nepalis to exercise their democratic and human rights and to advocate for laws that protect these rights in a manner that reflects the culture, traditions and preferences of all Nepalese citizens.

January 2007 to March 2008

The original fifteen month term of the project included four missions to Nepal and accessed the expertise of eight Canadian and two international (Kenya and UK) resource persons. Project programming produced a training manual on elections, democratic institutions and constitutions and a publication with 99 recommendations for Nepal’s new constitution. The latter was based on extensive research and consultations with almost 1000 NBA members and over 500 representatives of civil society organizations and community leaders.

April 2008 to June 2009

CIDA extended funding for this project to June 30, 2009. Activities included CLE for young lawyers in the area of rights advocacy, law reform and constitution making activities and activities focused on building the capacity of women lawyers to engage in the democratic process and to advocate on behalf of women from all cultural, social and economic groups.