graduation, cooperation (general), development cooperation, Nepal, LDC, transition, development
The study was conducted to provide directions for Finland's long-term grant-based development cooperation towards new forms of partnerships in Nepal, in the wake of Nepal’s upcoming Least Development Country (LDC) graduation in 2026. Mixed methods, such as assessment of volumes of development assistance and bilateral trade between Finland and Nepal, were used for quantitative analysis, and interviews with 33 different takeholders in Finland and Nepal, plus an in-depth document and article review, were carried out as a part of the qualitative analysis. Existing frameworks for comparative analyses, cross-cutting issues, a stakeholder’s assessment, and overall transition planning in bilateral development cooperation contexts were further discussed in the study.
It was found that Finland’s transition thinking in Nepal is relatively ahead of not only other developmental partners in Nepal but also of the Nepalese government’s own preparations for graduation. Therefore, it is recommended that Finland could lead Nepal's transition thinking, planning and execution together with other developmental partners, especially in thematic areas where it has a long history of cooperation and expertise in Nepal, such as in education, water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as in cross-cutting issues in gender, human rights and climate change. More opportunities for other forms of partnerships in these sectors could be forged through supporting active communication and dissemination of existing knowledge, practices, networks, success stories, and lessons learnt, for practical collaboration among stakeholders in Finland and Nepal, such as Finnish expatriates in Nepal, the Nepalese diaspora in Finland, Finnish civil society organisations, education institutions, and private entities.