About the Project

Although the Peace Accords in 2006 “officially” signalled the end of armed conflict, there is a rising preoccupation with the continued use and spread of small arms, the multiplication of armed groups and the impacts of violence on society and the economy. But comparatively little hard data exists documenting the scope and scale of the challenges confronting Nepali authorities and civil society groups. Developing robust evidence and analysis of secular trends of armed violence is essential in closing the gap between perception and reality.

The legacy of civil war still weighs heavily on Nepal’s shoulders. There are over 19,000 Maoist Army combatants who have yet to be reintegrated, no agreement on a Constitution despite continuous extensions of the deadline, and an emerging culture of impunity in the capital and the hinterland. These and other factors have contributed to a gradual breakdown in law and order and enabled the spread of crime and violence in ways previously unheard of.

There is limited information or analysis on the extent of weapons proliferation and availability in the country much less than on the characteristics of armed violence.  Without such information, it is difficult to set appropriate priorities, design targeted programs and monitor and evaluate effective interventions.

Acknowledged as one of the poorest countries in Asia, Nepal’s economy is weakened by a state of near perpetual insecurity. There are growing reports of the targeting of business elites for kidnapping and extortion by armed groups. Both foreign and domestic investors are increasingly wary of the instability in some sectors of Nepali society. And yet there is no public record of the extent or intensity of these and related challenges. 

Any assessment of armed violence in Nepal must also reckon with country’s many identity-related cleavages – whether according to caste, ethnic or religious affiliations. Indeed, the presence of over 100 languages and dialects is suggestive of the remarkable diversity in the country. And yet these divisions have also contributed to the easy fragmentation and splintering of political and armed groups.

In actively working with stakeholders across the public health, criminal justice and development sectors, the Nepal Armed Violence Assessment (NAVA) will generate a comprehensive evidence base to inform decision-making. NAVA intends to generate solid and reliable data on armed violence to assist the Nepali government, civil society and non-governmental organisations, as well as multilateral and bilateral agencies, make solid policy and programming decisions.

Activities

The NAVA initiative undertook research over a two year period between 2011 and 2012. The NAVA combined both primary and secondary data sources – but had a focus on generating original data and analysis through field research. Methods included key informant interviews, archival media research, focus groups with armed actors, household victimization surveys, and targeted surveys of the private sector.

The NAVA focused on generating information across the following themes:

  • Small arms transfers, trafficking, availability, and control;
  • The types and characteristics of armed actors;
  • The gap between real and perceived risks of armed violence
  • The distribution and scale of armed violence and victimization
  • Perceptions of armed violence and their economic impacts
  • Media depictions and representations of armed violence

A range of publications were released by the NAVA during 2013 and 2014.