Workshop Report on State-building as a Mechanism
for Conflict Resolution
Organised by National Media Development
27 December 2009
National Media Development Center (NMDC), in cooperation with
Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) Nepal -a German Foundation, organized
a workshop on "State Building as Conflict Resolution Mechanism"
on December 27, 2009 at Hotel Orchid, Tripureshwor, Kathmandu,
Nepal. The workshop was organized in two sessions - Inaugural
Session and Presentation and Discussion Session.
President of National Media Development Center (NMDC), Bishnu
Prasad Sharma chaired shed light on the theme of the seminar.
Minister for Peace and Reconstruction, Rakam Chemjung was invited
as chief guest at the program. Former Speaker Damannath Dhungana,
Chairperson of Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal and Head
of FES Nepal, Dev Raj Dahal were invited to the podium. The
participants of the program were professors of different universities,
media experts, journalists, Constituent Assembly Member, government
officials, students and civil society members.
President of NMDC Bishnu Prasad Sharma introduced the objective
of the program. Mr Sharma said that Nepales for long have dreamed
of making a prosperous Nepal where everyone can live in peace
and harmony but the political instability and the Maoist insurgency
in the country has shattered the dream and today Nepali state
tatters between order and anarchy. It has not been able to do
its duties. Against this background, the main objective of this
seminar is how can we divert political towards state-building
agenda so that it can justify its very raison detre. He compared
Nepali state with a situation of "Tilaurakot" a historic
place where the boundary wires were broken, cows were grazing,
people were taking home bricks of the ruins of Durbar (palance).
No one was caring and no one was responsible on the historical
national property. Situation of Nepal's state looks similar
to the ruins of Tilaurakot," he said. He requested all
the participants to fully participate in the discuss the situation
lively and openly. Chief Guest of the one-day national workshop,
Minister Rakam Chemjong inaugurated the program by lighting
the oil-fed lamp, called Panas.
Head of FES Nepal, Dev Raj Dahal highlighted the key objectives
of the workshop and also spoke about the theories of the state
from Max Weber, Meinecke, Machiavelli, Hobbes, Burke, Hegel,
Mazzini, JS Mill, Karl Marx and Kant. He said their insights
could help Nepali policy makers and academic community to evolve
ideas for crisis prevention and conflict resolution.
Mr. Dahal further said that the resolution of conflict between
the traditional and modernity, between re-feudalization of public
sphere and democratization of public sphere and between peace
and justice require vigorous process of social transformation".
Highlighting Nepali context, he said-" Nepali state and
inter-governmental institutions have played crucial role in
conflict resolution applying various approaches-imperial, muscular,
hegemonic and democratic. Even before the adoption of Westphalian
norms Nepalese applied insights of local societies and historical,
cultural and religious treatises, memories and wise counsels."
In his inaugural speech he threw lights on state minimalism
and changing nature of conflict, challenges to conflict transformation
weakened state capacity and fragmented identities.
Concluding his opening remarks, he said- "Strengthening
state capacity requires an understanding of the driving forces
of change that can balance the precariousness of post-conflict
situation and sustainability of means: democratic ideals-- particularly
social equality, inclusion and inter-generational and ecological
justice; patterns of political engagement- especially voting
participation, debates and dialogues about salient issues, protests
and social movements to negotiating social contract and peace
building measures; nature of state institutions- particularly
inner-party democracy, civil-military relations, constructive
role of civil society, discursive formation of laws and jurisprudence,
bureaucratic reforms and democratization of educational, media
and disciplinary institutions; and inclusion of all the relevant
concepts in a new road map- for getting to the final democratic
arrangements including the use of subsidiary, humanitarian principles
and donor coordination in conflict resolution."
Former Speaker and Peace Negotiator, Daman Nath Dhungana said
state has been facing challenges and there should be a mechanism
to resolve them. "There have been great changes from 2007
BS but they could not be sustained, great leaders are needed
to sustain great changes," he said.
He said there were differences on various issues including
ideological one between Maoists and other political parties.
He stressed the need for common consensus for preparing national
document. Mr. Dhungana stated that combatants should be adjusted,
common consensus and mechanism must be crafted and peace lobbies
should be strengthened.
Chairperson of Administrative Court, Kashiraj Dahal said Nepal
is facing contentious issues of use of executive power and De
Jure institutions have been weakened. He stressed the need for
strengthened cohesive power of state authority, capital formation
and charismatic leadership.
He stated need for document of common consensus with objective
resolutions for completing the task of constitution building
Addressing the Inaugural Session, Minister for Peace and Reconstruction,
Rakam Chemjung said movements from 2007 to 2046 BS could not
resolve regional and caste based social issues. Causes of conflict
should be addressed at the time of constitution making. Issues
of suppressed, Madhesi, women and indigenous people have emerged
and three largest parties cannot unilaterally resolve them,
he added. Stating on current peace process, he said that deepening
suspect and mistrust among the major political parties was obstructing
the pace of ongoing peace process, management of Maoist combatants
and constitution writing process.
"If the parties fail to create consensus on major issues
like new constitution, foundation of federalism and management
of Maoist combatants, achievements made so far through the April
Jana Aandolan would not be institutionalized", stressing
on the need of building consensus he said.
There are different models of federalism and peace shall be
sustainable if issue of federalism is rightly resolved. There
have been distrusts among Maoists and other political parties
and constitution would not be prepared in time unless the distrusts
He said that civil societies had played strong role before
constituent assembly election and they should play stronger
one to lead the peace process to reasonable conclusion.
Presentation and Discussion Session
Presentation and Discussion Session was divided into further
Secretary at Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, Punya Prasad
Neupane moderated the first session in which Former Speaker
Damannath Dhungana presented his thought as working paper. Mr
Dhungana spoke about various dimension of peace-process and
stressed on the need of good governance which can assist to
establish rule of law. He also raised few questions:
1. Can arm be raised for democracy?
2. Should there be benevolent dictatorship?
3. Should democracy be shunned aside in the name of security?
4. Is citizen's supremacy the issue of Maoist alone?
He said democracy should be strengthened by identifying and
resolving its challenges. Economic and religious crimes would
rise if democracy could not be responsive. Nepali people are
informed and they desire the government that can deliver. All
changes from 2007 are major changes but major issue is to resolve
Nepali people's problem and development is for making them powerful.
Panchayat regime saw nationality in Nepali Topi and and tried
to link development, authority and nationality with the King.
In democracy, the King should have become ceremonial but he
could not be abided by law, thus Nepal turned into republic.
Bringing Maoist, who were engaged in armed struggle since one
decade, into peace process was the most important achievement,
but there is suspicion that they do not believe in democracy.
However, republicanism, constituent assembly, inclusiveness
and federalism were the issues raised by them.
After four months of debate, Maoist entered into the government
but engaged in disputes with Chief of the Army Staff. Prime
Minister brought the army into politics and President used the
Following are the characteristics of Nepal State, as per Dhungana.
a. State dependent on army;
b. State dependent on neighboring state; and
c. Supremacy of people
However, emphasized on the need of armies engagement in decision
making process of security issues. The nationalism factor should
unite all Nepalese for the cause of development and empowerment
of people. India helped in designing 12-point agreement pointed
out Dhungana. There can be consensus in building the constitution:
These should be convergence of ideas from the different spectrum
of political parties such as Nepali Congress's focus on political
issues and Maoists and UML's focus on economic and other issues
should be taken into account. Other major parties should also
make their agendas clear. In addition to this, political parties
must resolve youth unemployment problem to hold them back from
entering into extreme groups.
There is nothing bigger revolution than democracy (Loktantra).
Parties should develop their capacity to decide on major political
issues and constitutional process should be accomplished in
time. Extend time for constitution making process is to invite
another conflict said Dhungana. For all these it is necessary
to generate consensus at political levels as well as societal
levels. People's pressure should be there for completing the
task in time. People must make leaders responsible for their
failure in completing the task in time.
After Mr. Dhungana's delivery, Chair opened the floor for discussion.
Chunda Shrestha, Bodh Prasad Parajuli, Nav Raj Dahal, Prof.
Lalbabu Yadav, Dr. Prem Sharma, Krishna Adhikari, Arun Poudel,
Hem Lamsal, Ramchandra Humagain, Dhan Bahadur Magar, Prawalraj
Pokharel and others put their remarks in the discussion.
After the discussion, Secretary Neupane concluded the session.
He said the state is moving from one conflict to another which
is weakening the capacity of the state. He said affiliation
of civil societies with political parties have made them weaker
and stressed that the discussion should be a beginning rather
than end, in which preventive and curative roles must be sought.
Member of Constituent Assembly Hon. Usha Kala Rai moderated
the second Presentation and Discussion Session in which Chandra
Dev Bhatta Presented working paper on "State building as
a Conflict Resolution Mechanism".
He said the overarching aim of state building is guided by
three concepts (1) creating greater level of security, (2) reconciliation
and (3) development, which can contribute to harmonise state-society
relations by addressing the root causes of conflict. He stressed
that state building hover around political settlement, survival
functions of the state-society relations and expected function
for sustainable peace in society.
Giving political emphasis in state building he said, "in
the context of Nepal, we need to push for ideological settlements,
political settlements and reformation of our political institutions
in tune with popular spirit. We have to find out common ground
on the national issues and develop mechanism how people can
govern themselves rather than developing mechanism to rule the
Focusing on the point of peace and state building he said that
-"the inclusive political settlements are at the center
of integrated approach to peace building and state building.
It provides platform to achieve other objectives of the state.
The peace building lens highlights the need for state building
approaches to pay sufficient attention to the causes of conflict
and fragility, the conditions for peace." Peace and state
building are fundamentally linked to each other and their focus
is to find out the root causes of the conflict and avoiding
recurring such conflicts in the future, he concluded.
After Mr. Bhatta's delivery, Chairperson Rai opened the floor
for discussion. Prof. Lalbabu Yadav, Narayan Gurung, Rishikesh
Tiwari, Chunda Shrestha, Dr. Prem Sharma, Praval Raj Pokharel
and others put their comments on the paper.
After the discussion, Chairperson Rai concluded the session.
She said that the situation that exist outside and opinions
in public differ sharply. There is suspicion among public that
constitution might not be built in time but that is not true,
She stressed that new constitution must be completed in time
and people must put pressure on their leaders. Civil societies
and human right activists must exert pressure on leaders to
reach common consensus.
After conclusion of both the sessions, Head of FES Nepal, Mr.
Dahal put concluding remarks. He said walk itself begins formation
of trail. He stressed that Nepal is passing through multiform
of transformation and problem in knowledge would further create
"State need identity, resources and recognition and election
legitimizes the state, and both need socializing communication.
Conflict can be based on identity, ideology and interest and
they must be rationalized in common ground within the state.
Power sharing is distributive phenomenon and people would penetrate
the system if it does not cater their dream," he added.
Avenews Television, Metro FM, broadsheet daily newspapers carried
the news of the workshop. News cuttings of the newspapers is
also attached herewith in Annexes for references.