Vulnerability is not evenly distributed across space. Many people are disadvantaged compared to the rest of the population simply because they live in remote or underserved areas: they have lower access to resources, markets, employment opportunities, services, information and spaces where decisions are made. Any susceptibility to vulnerabilities that a person may already have are likely to be exacerbated by living in the lowest-performing districts. Put another way, they are likely be worse off than someone with ‘similar’ vulnerabilities in a better-developed district. To examine vulnerability at the district level, eight indicators were selected in light of recent data available from the previous UNDAF period (2008–2012), the quality of data and the reliability of the source. In addition, to ensure the analysis represents the holistic human and social development situation, a set of indicators was selected to cover, to the extent possible, a wide range of thematic areas required for human development. This set of indicators addresses eight areas:
- Severity of food insecurity
- Basic education (net enrolment rate in Grades 1-8)
- Access to health services (DPT3 immunization coverage of children aged less than one year)
- Outbreak of disease (expected frequency of diarrheal outbreaks)
- Sanitation coverage (percentage of households with toilets)
- Gender disparity (measured by the ratio of girls to boys in secondary education)
- Child protection (proportion of children aged 10-14 years who are working)
The capacity of local government to deliver development programmes (three year average score on local Bodies Minimum Conditions and Perfomance Measures Assessment)
In the composite map, two major clusters stand out as the most deprived in terms of several indicators. These are the Mid- and Far-Western Mountains, and the Eastern and Central Tarai. The cluster containing districts in the Mid- and Far-Western Mountains is characterized by high food insecurity, prevalence of child labour, potential for disease outbreaks and severe gender disparity. The indicators for food insecurity, child labour and net enrolment rate are highly correlated, as food insecurity forces the migration of adult males in search of income and compels children to actively participate in the labour force. Similarly, the frequency of disease outbreaks correlates with poor sanitation conditions and food insecurity, as the latter two indicators make people more vulnerable to disease outbreaks.
Although the cluster of districts in the Eastern and Central Tarai does not exhibit serious food insecurity, it is low for indicators on education, sanitation and the frequency of disease outbreaks.
UN RCHCO has prepared UNDAF District Profiles for 23 districts identified as lowest performing on development. The District Profiles provide detailed background information on health services, education, food security, agriculture, employment, gender and social inclusion and other UNDAF areas at local level and can serve as a reference guide to information sources and contact persons relevant to the district.