Nearly two years after the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in April 2015, the nation continues to struggle with disaster relief, reconstruction and recovery. Over 2.5 million people remain displaced or awaiting government assistance, with the country still reeling from the US $10 million in damages.
But the catastrophe also forced international observers as well as national stakeholders to acknowledge Nepal’s broader failure to stimulate inclusive growth, create just jobs for its people, and realize its full economic potential – even prior to the earthquake. In the aftermath of the disaster, the stories of Nepali migrants who had left home to find productive work abroad, but were unable to return to aid their families during the recovery, became symbolic of the country’s heavy dependence on migration as a development strategy.
For decades, Nepal has relied on sending its workers abroad to address poverty and unemployment challenges. In response, civil society, including trade unions, have long called for a different development paradigm in the country – one that makes labor migration a choice, not a compulsion, and addresses the well-being of the one million Nepali out-migrants who deserve access to just jobs closer to home.
The US$ 4.1 billion National Reconstruction Fund, dedicated to comprehensive post-earthquake reconstruction, provides an opportunity to channel investment toward policies that promote the creation of good jobs and inclusive growth in Nepal.
The JustJobs Network, in collaboration with the Solidarity Center, is studying how reconstruction efforts, and other sources of capital including remittance funds, can be leveraged to support good-quality employment creation and drive the nation’s economic development. The research will engage civil society and trade unions to craft evidence-based policy recommendations to bolster their advocacy efforts.
This 8-month long study will conclude in April 2017.