Nepal is a small landlocked country bordered by India and China. It has unique bio-diversity and geography (with an altitude ranging from 80 to 8,000 metres), much of which is mountainous but in the south of the country, towards the border with India, the Terai tropical savanna and grasslands are home to a growing population.
The population of Nepal is now around 26,000,000, over 80% of who live in rural areas reaching a density of more than 1000 people/km2. More than a quarter of those people and in some areas, as many as 45%, live in poverty. The harsh mountainous environment and isolated nature of many communities is a major contributing factor to this poverty. However, a number of additional factors have also contributed to the high rates of poverty in the country, including a caste system, which traditionally limits social mobility and a feudal system which has resulted in a pattern of land ownership where a wealthy few own most land and the poor generally have limited ownership rights or access. The growing population now means that immense pressure is being put on the little land that is available. This and the high rates of poverty have led to extremely high rates of migration from rural areas to urban centres and, more often, abroad, from where remittances are sent home.
Now recovering from a devastating 10-year civil war, which ended in 2006 and transformed the country from a Kingdom to a Republic, this fledgling democracy is confronting many challenges. The rural poor face isolation, limited educational possibilities and little access to health care. These extreme disadvantages are compounded by limited water availability and serious environmental damage, particularly heavily degraded forests. These are just some of the issues IFAD is trying to address throughout the country.
Nepal is a small landlocked country bordered by India and China. It has unique bio-diversity and geography (with an altitude ranging from 80 to 8,000 metres), much of which is mountainous but in the south of the country, towards the border with In...