PRI Holds Interaction with Secretaries of the Government of Nepal on Public Policymaking and Policy Review

December 3, 2021

Place: Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers, Singhadurbar, Kathmandu

Date: 3 December 2021

Objectives of the Program:

The programme had two objectives. One was to explore ways to bring uniformity in the policy formulation and policy review process among ministries, commissions and policy formulation and policy review bodies.  Another was to seek comments and feedback from the Secretaries on the “Basic Guideline on Public Policymaking, 2078” and “Public Policy Review Guideline, 2078” drafted by PRI.

Program Operating Procedure:

At PRI’s request, the interaction was organized at the initiation and chairpersonship of Chief Secretary Mr. Shanker Das Bairagi. Mr. Shishir Kumar Dhungana, Secretary to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministries, moderated the discussion.

Initiating the interaction, Secretary Dhungana stated that a standard framework is needed to bring uniformity in the policy-making process and policy framework, and thanked PRI for drafting the guidelines to that end. He then passed the floor to PRI Executive Chairperson Dr. Bishnu Raj Upreti to make a brief presentation on the guidelines.

PRI Chairperson Upreti thanked the Chief Secretary for arranging the meeting and Secretaries and Joint Secretaries for their time, and made a brief presentation on PRI, its objectives and major accomplishments over the years. He also presented the main highlights of the two guidelines and invited comments and feedback from all the participants on them.

Major Points/Suggestions from the Interaction Program

In the interaction, following suggestions and feedback were given by the Secretaries.

  • Both the guidelines prepared by PRI are useful. Adding examples of procedural aspects of what to do within what time frame and based on which indicators to them will make it easier to understand and execute the evidence-based policy formulation process.
  • When discussing policy formulation and policy innovation, we also need to focus on capacity building of the staff involved in the process.
  • Since policy implementation is more problematic than policy formulation, research should focus on why ‘implementation’ has not been effective. It is not necessary to study all policies. Those that are passive and irrelevant should be prioritized over those that are active or successful.
  • Most of the policies relate to the functions of more than one ministry or body. It is, therefore, important to maintain a close inter-ministerial coordination in both policy making and implementation. Absent inter-ministerial cooperation, even good policies fail.
  • After the implementation of federalism, the task of involving all three levels of government in policy formulation has become complicated. Established as a specialized institution to support the government, PRI should take a lead to smoothen this complexity and assist governments at each level in formulating policies according to their area of responsibilities. Failure to do so will result in the difficulty to achieve policy innovation.
  • The policy community should not worry about the length of time a policymaking process involves. They should, instead, concentrate on whether the resulting policy is deliverable.
  • How to audit policies should also be included in the materials prepared by PRI. Similarly, emphasis should be given on the use of information technology as much as possible in policy implementation so that the implementation aspect becomes more accountable.

At the conclusion, Chief Secretary Mr. Sankar Das Bairagi thanked all the participants for their participation. He asked PRI to finalize both the documents in light of the comments and suggestions and assured that the government will use the documents as resources for policy formulation and review.