south asia watch on trade, economics and environment

Completed Programmes

Strengthening the role of SAARC in the Sustainable Intensification of Agriculture in South Asia

SAWTEE implemented the project Strengthening the role of SAARC in the sustainable intensification of agriculture in South Asia with the support of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). The objective of the project was to strengthen the cooperation among SAARC member countries in support of sustainable intensification of agriculture with a particular focus on poor smallholder farmers. 

A Survey on Regional Investments and Value chains in South Asia

SAWTEE implemented the Nepal component of the project A survey on regional investments and value chains in South Asia from June 2016 to June 2017.

Trade and Transport Facilitation Audit in South Asia

SAWTEE implemented the project Trade and transport facilitation audit in South Asia from Jun 2013 to Jun 2016. The project was designed against the poor state of trade and transport facilitation and associated high costs in South Asia.

Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio

SAWTEE, in collaboration with CUTS-CITEE, implemented the Sustainable Development Investment Portfolio. It is a, Department of Foreign Aid and Trade (DeFAT) (Government of Australia)’s multi-year portfolio investment approach in South Asia. 

Trade promotion through standardisation in the South and South East Asia regions (SESA)

SAWTEE had launched a project titled “Trade promotion through Standardisation in the South and South East Asian Regions (SESA)” in 2013. The programme gave support to eight countries in South Asia (Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Pakistan) and Southeast Asia (Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Indonesia) in order to strengthen the capacity of their National Standardization Organisations (NSBs).

Adaptation, Access and Benefit Sharing: Effects on Management of Plant Genetic Resources in India and Nepal

SAWTEE, in co-operation with Fridtjof Nansen Institute (FNI), Norway, worked on a project titled “International Objectives for Adaptation, Access, and Benefit Sharing: Effects on the Management of Plant Genetic Resources in India and Nepal.” 

Trade, Climate Change and Food Security in South Asia III

SAWTEE completed Phase III of Trade, Climate Change and Food Security Project. The main objectives of the study were  to assess the level of public investments in the agriculture sector, including the empowerment of small-scale women farmers, and suggest a way forward. 

A Study on the Impact of the Earthquake on Food Security and Livelihood on Urban Poor in Nepal

A study to assess the impact of the earthquake was undertaken in Bhaktapur, Lalitpur and Kathmandu Districts of Kathmandu Valley. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of the earthquake on food security and livelihood in order to suggest ways to minimise the negative impact. 

South Asian Country study on products with regional trade potential and associated Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) with special focus on Women in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (WMSMEs) - A case of Nepal

SAWTEE is undertaking a country study on Nepalese products with regional trade potential and associated non-tariff barriers with special focus on women owned and led micro, small and medium enterprises (WMSMEs) since July 2014.

A Perception Survey of Non-Tariff Measures Experienced by Firms in South Asia

SAWTEE is implementing a project titled “A perception survey of Non-Tariff Measures experienced by firms in South Asia” in collaboration with World Bank South Asia and Indian Council for Research and International (ICRIER)

South Asian Forum on International Trade (SAFIT)

SAFIT aimed to establish linkage between the civil society organizations and research institutions while conducting advocacy with the governments and intergovernmental organizations. 

Linkages between Trade, Development and Poverty Reduction

CUTS Centre for Trade, Economics and Environment (CUTS-CITEE), Jaipur, India implemented this project along with SAWTEE. The four-year project was implemented in 16 countries across Asia, Africa and Europe. 

Role of Non-state Actors in Trade Policy Making Process in Select Asian Countries

The project envisaged documenting good practices pertaining to non-state actors role in sovereign trade negotiations in Nepal, the Philippines and Thailand to help stakeholders in other countries in the region improve their participation in trade policy making process and trade negotiations. 

Research and Dialogue for Nepal’s Enhanced Trade (REDNET)

SAWTEE initiated a project titled “Research and Dialogue for Nepal’s Enhanced Trade (REDNET)” with the support of German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ), as a part of the latter’s programme to build trade capacity in Nepal since September 2013. Particular focus of the Project is on three products identified by NTIS—namely medicinal and aromatic plants (MAPS) and essential oils, silver jewellery and honey.

Innovative Approaches to Reducing NTBs and Para-tariffs facing Nepal

With support from Asia Foundation, SAWTEE is carrying out a detailed study on ginger value chain and exports of the product. The objective of the study is to identify the critical non-tariff barriers in export to destination market in general and to India in particular. 

Ensuring Development-Supportive Accession of Least-Developed Countries to the WTO: Learning from Nepal

The project, based on an assessment of Nepal accession to the WTO, aimed to evaluate to what extent the accession process, agreement and implementation in Nepal contributed and/or was likely to contribute to achieving the country public policy objectives. 

Public Expenditure Tracking and Budget Demystification in Nepal

SAWTEE has initiated a programme to track public expenditure in the health sector. The proposed project will analyse government budget allocation in Nepal’s health sector. It will specifically focus on the analysis of public expenditure in the health sector from the perspectives of gender and social inclusion. The project is supported by the Centre for International Studies and Cooperation (CECI).

Research Studies on Nepal’s Trade with India and China, SAFTA and SATIS, and Trade Analytical Models

In 2011-2012, SAWTEE conducted three detailed studies on Nepal’s trade with India, China and South Asian countries. The studies were conducted based on secondary information/data as well as primary information/data collected from stakeholders in Kathmandu, Kolkata and major border towns. SAWTEE also conducted an assessment and prepared a report on the various analytical models applicable for Nepal. The major objectives of these studies were to identify the prospects and challenges of Nepal’s trade with the mentioned countries, and provide recommendations to the Government of Nepal.

Preparation of a Training Manual on International Trade

Under the Nepal Economic, Agriculture and Trade (NEAT) Activity implemented by Chemonics International and supported by USAID, SAWTEE prepared a training manual on international trade, which was handed over to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies, Government of Nepal. Based on the manual, a training programme on international trade issues was organized for relevant government officials of different ministries and departments, the Central Bank, and researchers, mainly representing the private sector, working on trade issues.

Report on Operational Guidelines to Implement the Competition Promotion and Market Protection Act

In early 2012, SAWTEE conducted an in-depth assessment of the issues surrounding competition in Nepal to recommend appropriate enforcement regulation guidelines to the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), Government of Nepal to implement the Competition Promotion and Market Protection Act (CPMP). SAWTEE worked in close collaboration with the Department of Commerce to produce a report on the operational guidelines for implementation of the CPMP. 

Nepal Case Study for The European Development Report 2012-2013

In May-August 2012, SAWTEE and the Centre for the Study of Labour and Mobility (CESLAM) of the Social Science Baha (SSB) jointly prepared the Nepal case study to be included in the European Development Report (EDR) 2012-2013. The theme of the EDR is “Development in a Changing World: Elements for a Post-2015 Global Agenda,” and includes case studies from four low-income countries, including Nepal.

Research, Advocacy and Capacity Building on Food-Related Legislation in South Asia

Realizing the urgency to tackle the problem of food insecurity in South Asia, and the need to institute proper legislation in order to effectively address food security-related concerns in South Asian countries, SAWTEE, in collaboration with Oxfam GB, launched a project in December 2012 to carry out a comprehensive study of existing legislation that are relevant to food security in five South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). The study aims to identify and analyze the features of food security-related legislation in these countries and highlight good practices as well as existing loopholes in the legislation

Diagnostic Study of Services Subsectors and Their Potential for Development expansion of Export Market

Under the Nepal Economic, Agriculture and Trade (NEAT) Activity implemented by Chemonics International with support of USAID, SAWTEE is conducting a diagnostic study of selected services sub-sectors to assess the potential for development/expansion of export markets and identify market access barriers in their exports. The study will aid in the identification of potential markets for the chosen services sectors, barriers to export in those markets, as well as required reforms at the domestic level. 

Addressing the Impact of the Phasing out of Textiles and Clothing Quotas on Nepal

The overall goal of the project was to contribute to address Nepal’s human development challenges through promotion of external trade. The project comprised of various research and advocacy activities. The research included Human Development Impact Assessment in the Post ATC Period, Export Diversification and Value Addition, Creating a Conducive Trade and Industrial Policy Environment in Nepal and Capacity Enhancement of Trade Negotiators. 

Cost of Economic Non-Cooperation to Consumers in South Asia-Phase I and II (COENCOSA)

In early 2012, SAWTEE conducted a project titled “Cost of Economic Non-cooperation to Consumers in South Asia (COENCOSA)” in Nepal. The project was implemented by SAWTEE’s member organization Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS) International in five South Asian countries (Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) with support from the Asia Foundation

Supporting Competitiveness of Low Income Countries and Middle Income Countries in a Carbon Constrained World

SAWTEE has partnered with the Overseas Development Institute (ODI), United Kingdom, to carry-out research in Nepal as part of a research project entitled “Practical Approaches to Supporting Competitiveness of Low Income Countries (LICs)/Low and Middle Income Countries (LMICs) in a Carbon Constrained World” which began in January 2012. The research project aims to develop a “Low Carbon Development Diagnostic” tool through engagement in five LICs.

Enhancing Nepal’s Exports through WTO Compliance

SAWTEE, in association with the German International Cooperation (GIZ) and the Ministry of Commerce and Supplies (MoCS), Government of Nepal, implemented the programme “Supporting Nepal’s WTO Accession” in April 2011. The major objectives of the programme were to build capacity of national WTO focal points in order to enable them to undertake specific actions as per Nepal’s commitments at the WTO; create awareness among stakeholders in general about the WTO, and in particular on SPS, TBT, IPR, trade facilitation, and other relevant issues; and identify bottlenecks to export expansion of two products, namely medicinal plants and essential oils and silver jewellery, identified by Nepal Trade Integration Strategy (NTIS) 2010. The programme is supported by GIZ.

ICTSD-SAWTEE Programme on Monitoring Effectiveness and Development Impact of Aid for Trade

SAWTEE, together with International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), Geneva, have successfully completed a programme to evaluate the effectiveness and development impact of Aid for Trade (AfT). SAWTEE was involved with the programme since the inception of the idea in early 2010. For the programme, SAWTEE prepared the methodology for conducting country case studies in six countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America/Caribbean. SAWTEE also implemented the Nepal component of the programme.

Research, Capacity Building and Advocacy on Trade (ReCAT)

SAWTEE has implemented a three-year regional project titled “Research, Capacity Building and Advocacy on Trade (ReCAT)” so as to strengthen the capacities of concerned stakeholders to better understand the different trade and development issues concerning bilateral, regional and multilateral trade. The project envisioned to strengthen the capacity of different stakeholders in South Asia to help them use trade as a means to address their development concerns.

Promoting Innovative Mechanisms for Implementing Farmers’ Rights through Fair Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing Regime in Nepal

SAWTEE and LI-BIRD implemented a three-year national programme in Nepal on January 2008. The overall objective of the programme was to develop innovative mechanisms for implementing farmers’ rights to fair access to and benefit sharing from the use of genetic resources and associated knowledge. The programme aimed to assess the appropriateness of policy and legal instruments to implement farmers’ rights relevant to access and benefit sharing (ABS); strengthen multi-stakeholder arrangements for the effective implementation of farmers’ rights and an ABS regime; identify and strengthen institutional arrangements appropriate for farming communities to manage functions related to securing farmers’ rights and enforcing an ABS regime, and sustainable management of their genetic resources; and support innovative practices for implementing farmers’ rights and ABS mechanisms, and for promoting conservation of biodiversity for livelihood security. The programme was supported by International Development Research Centre (IDRC), Canada.

Farmers' Rights in the Context of International Year of Mountains (FRIYM)

In the context of the United Nations having declared the year 2002 as International Year of Mountains (IYM), SAWTEE, in cooperation with ICIMOD, conducted FRIYM. Under this programme, SAWTEE and its member institutions conducted various activities such as organization of two sub-national workshops on farmers' rights each in India and Nepal, a roundtable on Protecting Farmers’ Rights in the HKH Region in Bishkek, Kyrgyz Republic during the Bishkek Global Mountain Summit in October 2002, and a regional seminar on Evolving Sui Generis Options in the HKH Region on 24–26 March 2003 in Kathmandu. SAWTEE network also produced several publications under this programme.

Gender and Trade

Under the Gender and Trade programme, SAWTEE conducted research on Gender Implications of Nepal’s Accession to the WTO. The Research Team looked at gender implications on the two major sectors of the Nepalese economy, namely carpet and tourism. The outcomes of the research were fed into the process of Nepal accession to the WTO. This programme was supported by UNIFEM, South Asia Regional Office, New Delhi.

Monthly Forum on Globalization and WTO (MFGW)

In its effort to sensitize stakeholders through the dissemination of correct information based on empirical evidence and to provide them a regular forum to express and exchange their ideas and opinions on globalization and WTO-related issues, SAWTEE, together with ActionAid Nepal, organized discussion forums and circulated e-newsletters on globalization and the WTO on a monthly basis from February 2003 to April 2004. The stakeholders of the programme included planners and policy makers, business chambers, NGOs, the academic community, the media and other interested individuals and organizations. Twelve monthly forums were organized on different issues related to globalization and the WTO.

Enhancing Private Sector Competitiveness in the WTO Era (ECOMP)

ECOMP was launched in February 2005 and completed in January 2006. The programme aimed to increase the competitiveness of the Nepali private sector, particularly the small and medium enterprises to survive and prosper under the multilateral trading framework (WTO) through enhanced capacity to understand and respond to the requirements of the new regime. Advocacy, research, sensitization, capacity building, information dissemination, networking and alliance building were the major focus areas of the programme. This programme was supported by The Asia Foundation, Kathmandu.

Reform and Capacity Building in the Post WTO Accession Era (RECAB)

RECAB was launched in September 2004 and completed in August 2007. The programme targeted to build the capacity of stakeholders, including the government, the private sector and the civil society on WTO-related issues. Advocacy, research, sensitization, capacity building, information dissemination, networking and alliance building were the major focus areas of the programme. The programme was implemented jointly with ActionAid Nepal. 

Competition Advocacy and Education Programme (CAEP)

CAEP was implemented from February 2004 to February 2007. The programme not only envisaged to create an atmosphere for the formulation and enactment of competition-friendly policies and build a healthy competition culture at different levels in Nepal but also targeted to build the capacity of concerned stakeholders to act as a watchdog to prevent anti-competitive practices and call for effective competitive market environment in different economic sectors of the country. The programme was supported by the Nepal office of Department for International Development (DFID), UK.

Managing Nepal's Foreign Debt (MANED)

MANED was implemented from April 2007 to December 2008. The programme was supported by ActionAid Nepal. The programme reviewed the situation of foreign debt in Nepal, assessed stakeholders' perception on the effectiveness of foreign debt and disseminated its findings among a wide range of stakeholders in Nepal. The programme sensitized Nepali stakeholders on various aspects of Nepal's foreign debt and made the concerned government authorities aware about the proactive measures they can and should undertake to ensure the effective use of foreign debt.

Grassroots and Policy Linkage on WTO Issues (GRAPOL)

GRAPOL was implemented from November 2005 to December 2008. The project was designed to create a linkage between grassroots and policy level, particularly for enabling stakeholders at both levels to take proactive measures to minimise the risks and reap the benefits from Nepal\'s membership to the World Trade Organisation (WTO). The goal of the project was to ensure that stakeholders at the grassroots level raise their voices on WTO issues and policymakers and planners take into consideration their concerns while formulating policy documents and legislation. Awareness Raising, Capacity Building, Networking and Media and Policy Advocacy were the major focus areas of the project. The project was supported by MS Nepal, Danish Association for International Cooperation, Kathmandu.

Farmers’ Rights Programme (FRP)

After the successful completion of the three-year programme titled “Securing Farmers' Rights to Livelihood in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya (HKH) Region”, SAWTEE, in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), Kathmandu, implemented the second phase of the project from July 2004 to June 2007. The major objective of FRP II was to protect and promote farmers' rights in the HKH region in the context of liberalization, globalization and WTO agreements. This programme was conducted in five South Asian countries, namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It was supported by the Ford Foundation, New Delhi and Novib, The Netherlands.

Progressive Regional Action and Cooperation on Trade (PROACT)

Following the successful implementation of the first and second phases of PROACT, the third phase of the programme was implemented from July 2004 to June 2007 with support from Novib, The Netherlands. PROACT–Phase III aimed at building the capacity of CSOs of the region, thereby contributing to create an atmosphere conducive to the formation of and commitment to a common position of SAARC countries during WTO negotiations by taking the "development dimension" into consideration. 

Capacity Building on Electricity Reforms in Select South Asian Countries (RESA)

SAWTEE conducted this programme in collaboration with its India-based member institution CUTS-International, Jaipur. The overall objective of the programme was to increase the long-term capacity of CSOs; and improve consumers’ representation as a measure to enhance the effectiveness of regulatory regimes in the electricity sector in Bangladesh, India and Nepal. SAWTEE managed and implemented the Nepal component of the programme. RESA was supported by The Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (NORAD) and its beneficiaries were consumers, CSOs, grassroots consumer groups, the media, policy makers, electricity regulatory agencies, representatives from distribution companies, etc.