Nepal’s 2017 National Urban Development Strategy is explicit in this. Yet promoting equitable, inclusive development in urban areas appears to be a major challenge. A 2017 Country Poverty Analysis by the Asian Development Bank notes that whilst inequality amongst the rural poor in Nepal is declining, amongst the urban poor, it is increasing.

Learning from a small town experience?

In the above context, there are lessons that can be learnt from carefully planned, local-level urban activities. One such example is the development of the emerging town of Katarniya in Nepal supported by the Swiss consortium of Helvetas, Terre des hommes and the Swiss Red Cross. In this case, the residents comprised a mixture of households belonging to different castes and ethnicities. The poorest and most vulnerable were often those who had arrived most recently. As a population, they had many dividers – but they shared the wish for a safe drinking water system.