Rapidly urbanising Nepal and youth unemployment present challenges to security provision

18 August 2014

Rapidly urbanising Nepal and youth unemployment present challenges to security provision. Last month's budget announcement for 2014-15 highlighted the problem of unemployment and youth drain from rural areas but made little connection with its links to urban violence. Recent IDS research shares unique insights the complex interplay of rural migration, urban poverty and crime.

Rickshaw drivers await customers. Many have come to the capital seeking work having been displaced from rural communities by civil unrest. Credit: Peter Barker - Panos

According to the UN, two-thirds of the world's population will be living in cities by 2050, with 90% of this growth in Africa and Asia, so it is vital action is taken now to understand who is benefiting and who is losing out, and take action to address poverty and exclusion as part of a violence mitigation approach.

Nepal is both rapidly urbanising and emerging from a long drawn-out civil conflict. In the Kathmandu Valley and Terai regions, this presents some unique challenges around:

  • rural migration (and the ensuing disconnectedness from families and communities)
  • youth vocational training and employment (and crime prevention)
  • policing and the justice system's capacity to deal with mitigating violence and criminal actions

Researchers with the IDS Addressing and Mitigating Violence programme interviewed both offenders and police offers to get to the bottom of complex interconnectedness between these three areas. Our research shows that being responsive to young people's needs will require a multipronged strategy, effective community-based partnerships and strengthened policy capacity.

Read the full report Key Challenges of Security Provision in Rapidly Urbanising Contexts: Evidence from Kathmandu Valley and Terai Regions of Nepal.

Listen to:

Our interviews with offenders and police officers (Nepali):

First time offenders talk of how they ended up in prison, conditions inside, and their hopes and fears for the future

First time offenders in Nepal (in Nepalese only) by IDS (UK) on Mixcloud

Interview with a regular offender talks about his criminal life, police corruption and what drives crime in the country (Nepali)

Regular offender in Nepal (in Nepalese only) by IDS (UK) on Mixcloud

Group discussion with regular offenders who talk about how they ended up in prison in Kathmandu, what compelled them to break the law and plans for the future (Nepali)

Group discussion with regular offenders in Nepal (in Nepalese only) by IDS (UK) on Mixcloud

Download the briefing which includes excerpts from these interviews and from the research (English)

Principle researcher Subindra Bogati outlines the recent upsurge and drivers of violence in Nepal and considers what can be done to tackle the problem (English)

Interview with Nepalese researcher Subindra Bogati, on violence in the country by IDS (UK) on Mixcloud

Watch interview with report co-author Dr Jaideep Gupte

Dr Jaideep Gupte discusses the implications of the report's findings on the next generation - what can be done they do not face issues of unemployment and violence in a rapidly urbanising Nepal, currently faced by today's youth?

Image credit: Peter Barker - Panos