Nepal


Basic Information

Official name
Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal
Other names in use
Nepal
Area (1) Total:147,181 sq. km
HKH part: 147,181 sq.km (100%)
Population (mid 2007) (2) Total: 27.80 million
HKH part: 27.80 million (100%)
Capital city Kathmandu
Major cities

Biratnagar, Birgunj, Butwal, Damak, Hetauda, Kakadvitta, Narayanghat, Nepalgunj, Pokhara, Tulshipur

Nationality Nepali
Currency Nepalese Rupee
Official languages Nepali
Major holidays Dashain, Tihar, Eid, Lhoshar
International dialing code 977
Sources: (1) Banskota, M., Sharma, P., 1994, Development of Poor Mountain Areas, ICIMOD; (2) Population Reference Bureau, 2007 World Population Data Sheet


Major mountain peaks

  • Sagarmatha (Everest) (8,848 m., rock height 8,844 m.)
  • Kanchanjunga (8,586 m)
  • Lhotse (8,516 m)
  • Makalu (8,462 m)
  • Cho Oyu (8,201 m)
  • Dhawalagiri (8,167 m)


Selected international agreements and conventions related to climate and environment

Agreement/Convention Status -Date
Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer (Vienna Convention) -1988 Accession - 06 July 1994
Convention on Biological Diversity Signed - 12 June 1992
Ratified - 23 November 1993
The Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety Signed - 02 March 2001
Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) Accession - 18 June 1975
Entry into force - 16 September 1975
Convention on the Control of Transboundary Movements of Hazardous Wastes and their Disposal (Basel Convention) -1992 Accession - 15 October 1996
Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) Entry into force - 17 April 1988

Convention to Combat Desertification in those Countries Experiencing Serious Drought and/or Desertification, Particularly in Africa - 1994

Signed - 12 October 1995
Ratified - 15 October 1996
Entry into force - 13 January 1997
International Plant Protection Convention - 1952 Adherence - 08 May 2006
Plant Protection Agreement for the Asia and the Pacific Region - 1956 Adherence - 12 August 1965
United Nations convention on the Law of the Sea Signed - 10 December 1982
Ratified - 02 November 1998
Male Declaration on Control and Prevention of Air Pollution and its Likely Transboundary Effects for South Asia Endorsed - April 1998
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Signed - 12 June 1992
Ratified - 02 May 1994
Entry into force - 31 July 1994
Kyoto Protocol Accession - 16 September 2005
Entry into force - 15 December 2005


Economy

GDP per capita (PPP) US $ 383 (2006)
Source: Nepal in figures 2007, Central Bureau of Statistics, NPC Secretariat, Government of Nepal


Major agricultural products

Paddy, maize, sugarcane, wheat, barley, millet, potato, tobacco, oil seed


Major industries

Agricultural & forestry, manufacturing, mining & quarrying, electrical, vegetable oil, garments, cigarette, wollen carpets, beer


Geography / Geopolitics

Altitude range
Lowest point: 70 m (Kanchan Kalan)
Highest point: 8,848 m (Sagarmatha)


Major agro-climatic zones

High Himal, Mid Hills and Terai


Climate
 
Nepal’s weather is generally predictable and pleasant. There are four main climatic seasons:
(a) Spring : March-May
(b) Summer : June-August
(c) Autumn : September-November
(d) Winter : December-February.
The monsoon is approximately from the end of June to the middle of September. About 80 percent of the rain falls during the monsoon and the remainder of the year is relatively dry. Spring and autumn are the most pleasant seasons; winter temperature drop to freezing and below with a high level of snowfall in the mountains. Summer and late spring temperatures range from 28ºC in the hill regions to more than 40ºC in the Terai. In winter, average maximum and minimum temperatures in the Terai range from a 7ºC to a mild 23ºC. The central valleys experience a minimum temperature often falling bellow freezing point and a chilly 12ºC maximum. Much colder temperatures prevail at higher elevations. The Kathmandu Valley, at an altitude of 1300m (4297ft), has a mild climate, ranging from 19-27ºC in summer, to 2-20ºC in winter.
 

Natural hazards 
Severe thunderstorms, flooding, landslides, drought, and famine depending on the timing, intensity, and duration of the summer monsoon

Major environmental issues
Deforestation (overuse of wood for fuel and lack of alternatives); contaminated water (with human and animal waste, agricultural runoff, and industrial effluent); wildlife conservation; vehicular emissions

Culture

Major ethnic groups
Chhetri, Brahmin, Magar, Tharu, Tamang, Newar, Muslim, Kami, Yadav, Rai, Gurung, Damai, Limbu, Thakuri
Perched on the southern slopes of the Himalayan Mountains, the Kingdom of Nepal is ethnically diverse. The Nepalese are descendants of three major migrations. These migrations have taken place from India, Tibet, and Central Asia. Among the earliest inhabitants were the Newar of the Kathmandu Valley and aboriginal Tharu in the southern Terai region. The ancestors of the Brahman and Chhetri caste groups came from India, while other ethnic groups trace their origins to Central Asia and Tibet, including the Gurung and Magar in the west, Rai and Limbu in the east, and Sherpa and Bhotia in the north.

In the Terai, which is a part of the Ganges basin, much of the population is physically and culturally similar to the Indo-Aryan people of northern India. People of Indo-Aryan and Mongoloid stock live in the hill region. The mountainous highlands are sparsely populated. Kathmandu Valley, in the mid hill region, constitutes a small fraction of the nation's area but is the most densely populated, with almost 5% of the population.

Nepal's 2001 census enumerated 103 distinct caste/ethnic groups including unidentified. The caste system of Nepal is rooted in the Hindu religion while the ethnic system is rooted in mutually exclusive origin myths, historical mutual seclusion and the occasional state intervention.

Major religions
Hindu, Buddhist, Islam, Kirat, Christian 

Major languages
Nepali, Maithili, Bhojpuri, Tharu, Tamang, Nepal Bhasa, Magar, Awadhi, Sherpa, Kiranti, Bantawa, Gurung, Limbu, Bajjika, and other 100 different indigenous languages.

Major festivals
Dashain, Tihar, Lhoshar, Eid

Focal Ministry/Institution

National Planning Commission
Government of Nepal
Singha Durbar
GPO Box 1284
Kathmandu, Nepal.

Prof Dr Govinda Nepal 
Vice-Chairman
Tel: 977-1-4211851