The Importance of ‘Where’ in Revitalization Strategies for Nepal — Part 1: Mapping a Pandemic from Global to Local

06.30.2020 | Articles | Paul Lundberg, Indra Sharan KC

The Importance of ‘Where’ in Revitalization Strategies for Nepal


The COVID-19 pandemic and aftermath may have a transforming impact on the economy of Nepal. Both government and non-state actors have recognized the important role of digital data technology in Nepal’s future economy. However, much of the accessible data remains scattered, generalized, and often inaccurate. This series discusses how a three-pronged approach can contribute to an inclusive recovery in Nepal.

Part 1, here, discusses international and Nepali efforts to improve transparency and accountability in government and business by following open data principles in information collection and sharing. We introduce an ongoing effort by one of the co-authors to map the spread of the COVID-19 virus pandemic across Nepal by accessing government data. The difficulties in accurately mapping the spread of COVID-19 is presented as a problem of governance rather than a technology gap.

Part 2 will discuss the diversity of the economic landscape in Nepal and illustrate how modern open data technology can be used by micro entrepreneurs and communities in Nepal to optimize the use of their available resources, and find fresh markets for their products.

Part 3 will discuss the importance of collaboration in creating open data ecosystems for sharing accurate, timely, and place-based digital data among local governments, private enterprise, and civil society for a mutually beneficial market systems approach to inclusive and resilient development.


The COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly around the world during the first part of 2020. Over 100 countries introduced a combination of measures to slow its spread and lessen its impact on the health of their citizens. The efficacy of these measures has varied from country to country. There are also indications that the global economy will not simply return to the pre-pandemic status quo.

In April, CIPE posted a policy note outlining its early thinking on the critical issues for a successful post-pandemic recovery. The CIPE note anticipates the difficulty of restarting economies while ensuring principles of democracy, inclusion, and good governance are not undermined. CIPE stresses that although economic and social activities were suppressed by edict, they cannot be simply be restarted in the same manner.

CIPE also asked independent several writers to submit papers suggesting ways to operationalize its policy note. The CIPE paper mentions the importance of digital data in supply chain management. We intend to show how digital data can have a positive influence on all the themes mentioned in their note. In particular, we want to encourage CIPE to place a strong emphasis on the role of open access to digital data as a means of supporting economic revitalization while enabling vulnerable groups to have greater say in directing their own development. The three ‘legs’ of our approach involve public, private, and social approaches to open data sharing. This approach has a strong fit with the Nepali context, but we also believe it may have relevance for other countries where CIPE has partners.