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 Transnational Issues

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

Map of Nepal

Legend: DefinitionDefinition Field ListingField Listing Rank OrderRank Order
   Introduction    Nepal Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
In 1951, the Nepalese monarch ended the century-old system of rule by hereditary premiers and instituted a cabinet system of government. Reforms in 1990 established a multiparty democracy within the framework of a constitutional monarchy. A Maoist insurgency, launched in 1996, has gained traction and is threatening to bring down the regime, especially after a negotiated cease-fire between the Maoists and government forces broke down in August 2003. In 2001, the crown prince massacred ten members of the royal family, including the king and queen, and then took his own life. In October 2002, the new king dismissed the prime minister and his cabinet for "incompetence" after they dissolved the parliament and were subsequently unable to hold elections because of the ongoing insurgency. While stopping short of reestablishing parliament, the king in June 2004 reinstated the most recently elected prime minister who formed a four-party coalition government, which the king subsequently tasked with paving the way for elections to be held in spring of 2005. Citing dissatisfaction with the government's lack of progress in addressing the Maoist insurgency, the king in February 2005 dissolved the government and assumed power.
   Geography    Nepal Top of Page
Definition Field Listing
Southern Asia, between China and India
Geographic coordinates:
Definition Field Listing
28 00 N, 84 00 E
Map references:
Definition Field Listing
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 140,800 sq km
land: 136,800 sq km
water: 4,000 sq km
Area - comparative:
Definition Field Listing
slightly larger than Arkansas
Land boundaries:
Definition Field Listing
total: 2,926 km
border countries: China 1,236 km, India 1,690 km
Definition Field Listing
0 km (landlocked)
Maritime claims:
Definition Field Listing
none (landlocked)
Definition Field Listing
varies from cool summers and severe winters in north to subtropical summers and mild winters in south
Definition Field Listing
Tarai or flat river plain of the Ganges in south, central hill region, rugged Himalayas in north
Elevation extremes:
Definition Field Listing
lowest point: Kanchan Kalan 70 m
highest point: Mount Everest 8,850 m
Natural resources:
Definition Field Listing
quartz, water, timber, hydropower, scenic beauty, small deposits of lignite, copper, cobalt, iron ore
Land use:
Definition Field Listing
arable land: 21.68%
permanent crops: 0.64%
other: 77.68% (2001)
Irrigated land:
Definition Field Listing
11,350 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
Definition Field Listing
severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoons
Environment - current issues:
Definition Field Listing
deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal wastes, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluents); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions
Environment - international agreements:
Definition Field Listing
party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation
Geography - note:
Definition Field Listing
landlocked; strategic location between China and India; contains eight of world's 10 highest peaks, including Mount Everest - the world's tallest - on the border with China
   People    Nepal Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
27,676,547 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
Definition Field Listing
0-14 years: 39% (male 5,575,157/female 5,221,794)
15-64 years: 57.3% (male 8,137,410/female 7,720,691)
65 years and over: 3.7% (male 499,039/female 522,456) (2005 est.)
Median age:
Definition Field Listing
total: 20.07 years
male: 19.91 years
female: 20.24 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
Definition Field Listing
2.2% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
31.45 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
9.47 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
Definition Field Listing
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
Definition Field Listing
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.07 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.96 male(s)/female
total population: 1.06 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 66.98 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 65.25 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 68.79 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total population: 59.8 years
male: 60.09 years
female: 59.5 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
4.19 children born/woman (2005 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0.5% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
61,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3,100 (2003 est.)
Definition Field Listing
noun: Nepalese (singular and plural)
adjective: Nepalese
Ethnic groups:
Definition Field Listing
Chhettri 15.5%, Brahman-Hill 12.5%, Magar 7%, Tharu 6.6%, Tamang 5.5%, Newar 5.4%, Muslim 4.2%, Kami 3.9%, Yadav 3.9%, other 32.7%, unspecified 2.8% (2001 census)
Definition Field Listing
Hindu 80.6%, Buddhist 10.7%, Muslim 4.2%, Kirant 3.6%, other 0.9% (2001 census)
note: only official Hindu state in the world
Definition Field Listing
Nepali 47.8%, Maithali 12.1%, Bhojpuri 7.4%, Tharu (Dagaura/Rana) 5.8%, Tamang 5.1%, Newar 3.6%, Magar 3.3%, Awadhi 2.4%, other 10%, unspecified 2.5% (2001 census)
note: many in government and business also speak English
Definition Field Listing
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 45.2%
male: 62.7%
female: 27.6% (2003 est.)
   Government    Nepal Top of Page
Country name:
Definition Field Listing
conventional long form: Kingdom of Nepal
conventional short form: Nepal
Government type:
Definition Field Listing
parliamentary democracy and constitutional monarchy
Definition Field Listing
Administrative divisions:
Definition Field Listing
14 zones (anchal, singular and plural); Bagmati, Bheri, Dhawalagiri, Gandaki, Janakpur, Karnali, Kosi, Lumbini, Mahakali, Mechi, Narayani, Rapti, Sagarmatha, Seti
Definition Field Listing
1768 (unified by Prithvi Narayan Shah)
National holiday:
Definition Field Listing
Birthday of King GYANENDRA, 7 July (1946)
Definition Field Listing
9 November 1990
Legal system:
Definition Field Listing
based on Hindu legal concepts and English common law; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
Definition Field Listing
chief of state: King GYANENDRA Bir Bikram Shah (succeeded to the throne 4 June 2001 following the death of his nephew, King DIPENDRA Bir Bikram Shah)
head of government: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur DEUBA; note - the Prime Minister resigned in Februrary 2005
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the prime minister; note - the King dissolved the Cabinet in February 2005
elections: none; the monarch is hereditary; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of a majority coalition is usually appointed prime minister by the monarch
note: King BIRENDRA Bir Bikram Shah Dev died in a bloody shooting at the royal palace on 1 June 2001 that also claimed the lives of most of the royal family; King BIRENDRA's son, Crown Price DIPENDRA, is believed to have been responsible for the shootings before fatally wounding himself; immediately following the shootings and while still clinging to life, DIPENDRA was crowned king; he died three days later and was succeeded by his uncle
Legislative branch:
Definition Field Listing

: bicameral Parliament consists of the National Council (60 seats; 35 appointed by the House of Representatives, 10 by the king, and 15 elected by an electoral college; one-third of the members elected every two years to serve six-year terms) and the House of Representatives (205 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Representatives - last held 3 and 17 May 1999 (next election NA); note - Nepal's Parliament was dissolved on 22 May 2002
election results: House of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NC 37.3%, CPN/UML 31.6%, NDP 10.4%, NSP 3.2%, Rastriya Jana Morcha 1.4%, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 0.8%, NWPP 0.5%, others 14.8%; seats by party - NC 113, CPN/UML 69, NDP 11, NSP 5, Rastriya Jana Morcha 5, Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal 1, NWPP 1
Judicial branch:
Definition Field Listing
Supreme Court or Sarbochha Adalat (chief justice is appointed by the monarch on recommendation of the Constitutional Council; the other judges are appointed by the monarch on the recommendation of the Judicial Council)
Political parties and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Communist Party of Nepal/United Marxist-Leninist or CPN/UML [Madhav Kumar NEPAL, general secretary]; National Democratic Party or NDP (also called Rastriya Prajantra Party or RPP) [Surya Bahadur THAPA, chairman]; People's Front Nepal (Rastriya Jana Morcha) [Chitra BAHADUR, chairman]; Nepali Congress-Democratic [Sher Bahadur DEUBA, president]; Nepali Congress or NC [Girija Prasad KOIRALA, party president; Sushil KOIRALA, general secretary]; Nepal Sadbhavana (Goodwill) Party or NSP [Bhadri Prasad MANDAL, acting party president]; Nepal Workers and Peasants Party or NWPP [Narayan Man BIJUKCHHE, party chairman]; Samyukta Janmorcha Nepal [leader NA]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Definition Field Listing
Maoist guerrilla-based insurgency [Pushpa Kamal DAHAL, also known as PRAHANDA, chairman; Dr. Baburam BHATTARAI, from Communist Party of Nepal/Maoist, chief negotiator]; numerous small, left-leaning student groups in the capital; several small, radical Nepalese antimonarchist groups
International organization participation:
Definition Field Listing
Diplomatic representation in the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador Kedar Bhakta SHRESTHA
chancery: 2131 Leroy Place NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 667-4550
FAX: [1] (202) 667-5534
consulate(s) general: New York
Diplomatic representation from the US:
Definition Field Listing
chief of mission: Ambassador James F. MORIARTY
embassy: Panipokhari, Kathmandu
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [977] (1) 411179
FAX: [977] (1) 419963
Flag description:
Definition Field Listing
red with a blue border around the unique shape of two overlapping right triangles; the smaller, upper triangle bears a white stylized moon and the larger, lower triangle bears a white 12-pointed sun
   Economy    Nepal Top of Page
Economy - overview:
Definition Field Listing
Nepal is among the poorest and least developed countries in the world with 40% of its population living below the poverty line. Agriculture is the mainstay of the economy, providing a livelihood for over 80% of the population and accounting for 40% of GDP. Industrial activity mainly involves the processing of agricultural produce including jute, sugarcane, tobacco, and grain. Security concerns in the wake of the Maoist conflict have led to a decrease in tourism, a key source of foreign exchange. Nepal has considerable scope for exploiting its potential in hydropower and tourism, areas of recent foreign investment interest. Prospects for foreign trade or investment in other sectors will remain poor, however, because of the small size of the economy, its technological backwardness, its remoteness, its landlocked geographic location, its civil strife, and its susceptibility to natural disaster.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$39.53 billion (2004 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
3% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
purchasing power parity - $1,500 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture: 40%
industry: 20%
services: 40% (2002 est.)
Labor force:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
10 million
note: severe lack of skilled labor (1996 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
Definition Field Listing
agriculture 81%, industry 3%, services 16%
Unemployment rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
47% (2001 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Definition Field Listing
42% (1995-96)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
Definition Field Listing
lowest 10%: 3.2%
highest 10%: 29.8% (1995-96)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
Definition Field Listing
36.7 (FY95/96)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.9% (2002 est.)
Definition Field Listing
revenues: $665 million
expenditures: $1.1 billion, including capital expenditures of NA (FY99/00 est.)
Agriculture - products:
Definition Field Listing
rice, corn, wheat, sugarcane, root crops; milk, water buffalo meat
Definition Field Listing
tourism, carpet, textile; small rice, jute, sugar, and oilseed mills; cigarette; cement and brick production
Industrial production growth rate:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
8.7% (FY99/00)
Electricity - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.054 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
2.005 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:
Definition Field Listing
142 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:
Definition Field Listing
237 million kWh (2002)
Oil - production:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
16,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Oil - imports:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$568 million f.o.b., but does not include unrecorded border trade with India (2002 est.)
Exports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
carpets, clothing, leather goods, jute goods, grain
Exports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
India 47.4%, US 22.7%, Germany 8.4% (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$1.419 billion f.o.b. (2002 est.)
Imports - commodities:
Definition Field Listing
gold, machinery and equipment, petroleum products, fertilizer
Imports - partners:
Definition Field Listing
India 46.3%, China 10.8%, UAE 9.3%, Saudi Arabia 4.1% (2004)
Debt - external:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$2.7 billion (2001)
Economic aid - recipient:
Definition Field Listing
$424 million (FY00/01)
Currency (code):
Definition Field Listing
Nepalese rupee (NPR)
Exchange rates:
Definition Field Listing
Nepalese rupees per US dollar - 73.674 (2004), 76.141 (2003), 77.877 (2002), 74.949 (2001), 71.094 (2000)
Fiscal year:
Definition Field Listing
16 July - 15 July
   Communications    Nepal Top of Page
Telephones - main lines in use:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
371,800 (2003)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
50,400 (2003)
Telephone system:
Definition Field Listing
general assessment: poor telephone and telegraph service; fair radiotelephone communication service and mobile cellular telephone network
domestic: NA
international: country code - 977; radiotelephone communications; microwave landline to India; satellite earth station - 1 Intelsat (Indian Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
AM 6, FM 5, shortwave 1 (January 2000)
Television broadcast stations:
Definition Field Listing
1 (plus 9 repeaters) (1998)
Internet country code:
Definition Field Listing
Internet hosts:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
917 (2003)
Internet users:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
80,000 (2002)
   Transportation    Nepal Top of Page
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 59 km
narrow gauge: 59 km 0.762-m gauge (2004)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
total: 13,223 km
paved: 4,073 km
unpaved: 9,150 km (1999 est.)
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
46 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 9
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7 (2004 est.)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
Definition Field Listing
total: 37
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 29 (2004 est.)
   Military    Nepal Top of Page
Military branches:
Definition Field Listing
Royal Nepalese Army (includes Royal Nepalese Army Air Service), Nepalese Police Force
Military service age and obligation:
Definition Field Listing
18 years of age for voluntary military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 6,107,091 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
Definition Field Listing
males age 18-49: 4.193 million (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
Definition Field Listing
males: 308,031 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
$99.2 million (2004)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
Definition Field Listing Rank Order
1.5% (2004)
   Transnational Issues    Nepal Top of Page
Disputes - international:
Definition Field Listing
joint border commission continues to work on small disputed sections of boundary with India; India has instituted a stricter border regime to restrict transit of Maoist insurgents and illegal cross-border activities
Refugees and internally displaced persons:
Definition Field Listing
refugees (country of origin): 104,235 (Bhutan)
IDPs: 100,000-200,000 (ongoing conflict between government forces and Maoist rebels; displacement spread across the country) (2004)
Illicit drugs:
Definition Field Listing
illicit producer of cannabis and hashish for the domestic and international drug markets; transit point for opiates from Southeast Asia to the West

This page was last updated on 20 October, 2005

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