Kedar Neupane – STAR Scholar

Kedar Neupane is a Rockefeller Foundation fellow scholar with a background in the development sector. He earned an MA degree in Economics from the Tribhuwan University of Nepal in 1976 and attended the School of Economics at Diliman Campus of the University of the Philippines as Rockefeller Foundation fellow scholar. He completed the emergency operations manager’s training workshop during 1986 at the College of Engineering Science and Disaster Management, University of Wisconsin, Madison, USA.

Mr Kedar Neupane is a retired international civil servant who began working with the United Nations Department for Technical Cooperation for Development (UN/DTCD) under UNDP development assistance program in Juba, South Sudan in 1977. As an economist, attached to Financial Advisor to the Regional Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning he worked in the preparation of government budget, financial management, planning, and taxation. During 1980-82 under the umbrella support program of UNDP Khartoum Mr Neupane worked for United Nations Capital Development Fund (UN/CDF) in development, implementation and monitoring of rehabilitation program of sugar industries in Sudan. He then worked for UN/CDF Headquarters in New York on preparation of pilot low-cost housing project, a program later adapted by USAID for Central America. 

In UNHCR Pakistan operations Mr Neupane introduced a shift in donor assistance to protracted refugee program in NWFP through development of a Refugee Area Hosting Assistance (RAHA) initiative. Under the RAHA, in addition to consolidation of refugee villages UNHCR assistance was coordinated with area development plans benefitting communities hosting refugees and locals. Mr Neupane made important contribution in program conceptualization, field coordination and implementation of framework linked with quick-impact projects, particularly through income-generating micro-financing targeted to vulnerable groups. Pilot project was successfully implemented attracting funding from the World Bank, UN Agencies, bilateral donors and cooperation from non-government organizations (NGOs). The Refugee Area Hosting Assistance (RAHA) became a flagship program of UNHCR Pakistan. He also led early phase of operations to assist victims of the earthquake during 2005 which had devasted the North-West and East Region of Pakistan.

After three and half decades of exposure both at international, national and rural settings, and living in countries of Africa, Asia and the Middle East Mr Neupane has acquired an unique perspective on development challenges emanating from varied work experience that ranged from complexity of development, donor funding, financing and managing program sustainability, and organizational change management and reform.

Mr Neupane regularly shuttles between Asia, Europe and Americas in quest of fresh and pragmatic narratives for likely synergies in development conundrum confronting the new challenges emerging from faltering growth models, which are in vogue, in post-World War II environment.

He lives in Geneva, Switzerland.


Read more about Mr. Neupane

Deeply dissatisfied with routine top-level paper planning, evaluation and monitoring approaches to implementation strategies Mr. Neupane made a shift in career during 1983 by joining United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Gedaref (Sudan) at the height of humanitarian crisis confronting the Horn of Africa – which witnessed a large influx of refugees from Eritrea and Ethiopian into Eastern Sudan. This provided an opportunity for Mr. Neupane to introduce a new approach to community-level planning and innovation of People-Oriented Planning (POP) in refugee emergency, leading to a new way of planning for assistance and implementation. In planning, process emphasis was put on identifying priority needs of the community through engagement of the beneficiary community population. This fieldwork exposure profoundly influenced Mr. Neupane’s academic preparations and future work in the way development programs are prepared and implemented – displaying a deep sense of ownership from the beneficiary population. This new approach to planning focusing on community self-reliance and sustainability became an important innovation in humanitarian aid domain aiming at bridging assistance gaps from the early phase of refugee emergency to long term sustainable development strategy from recovery to rehabilitation to development and refugee’s integration with the host community. In 1986, Mr. Neupane moved to Switzerland and participated in a challenging task of automation of nearly 200 field offices’ budget preparation process at UNHCR headquarters, a milestone in the budget consolidation process in the organization. He then moved to the South Asia Special Unit of Regional Bureau of Bureau for Asia and Oceania with the responsibility of program coordination in South-Asia. During the tenure, he assisted in setting-up UNHCR country offices in Sri-Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. Shortly afterward in 1989, he took up a mission to Jakarta (Indonesia) for assisting program management of Vietnamese refugees during the winding down phase of the Comprehensive Plan of Action for Indo-Chinese Refugees in the region. He, in late 1989, returned to Africa as Head of UNHCR Office in Gambella being responsible for managing refugee operations in the South-West region of Ethiopia. With over 400,000 South Sudanese refugees spread over large settlements, it was the largest operations of UNHCR in Africa at that time. Program activities, however, were abruptly disrupted during 1991 by unexpected collapse of the rule of Colonel Mengistu Haile Mariam in Ethiopia, the last communist regime of Africa. Mr. Neupane was assigned to Dhaka in mid-1991 to head program operations covering two dozen Rohingya refugee camps scattered throughout South-Eastern Bangladesh, bordering Myanmar. Completing an assignment in Bangladesh, Mr. Neupane moved to Quetta (Pakistan) in 1995 as Head of UNHCR Office and became responsible for Afghan refugee operation in Baluchistan Province, bordering Afghanistan. Later again in 2004, Mr Neupane returned to Pakistan to head the UNHCR Office in Peshawar with the responsibility of managing a program for over 120 refugee settlements hosting over a million Afghan refugees and repatriation operation in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP, now Pakhtunkhwa). At that time, Peshawar Office was the largest Sub-Office of UNHCR with over one hundred staff. During 1997-99, Mr. Neupane was assigned to the Islamic Republic of Iran at the UNHCR office in Mashhad, Khorasan Province. He introduced skill-development-oriented income-generating projects in Golshahr, an area hosting a large number of urban refugees. Small skill-development projects benefitting refugee women were successfully implemented in collaboration with Afghan refugee women associations and beneficiary community. During 1998, Mr. Neupane also organized an early phase of repatriation of Afghan refugees from Khorasan Province to the Herat region of Afghanistan.   After Iran, in 2000, Mr. Neupane returned to Geneva to join Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific with the responsibility of resource management and program coordination of operations in Asia.   He undertook last field assignments at UNHCR Peshawar (Pakistan) in late 2004 and then served in Ulaanbaatar during 2008 as Head of UNHCR Liaison Office for Mongolia before returning to Switzerland in late 2009.   Prior to retirement from service in mid-June 2012, Mr. Neupane was Senior Change Management Adviser at UNHCR Headquarters and helped steer through organizational change management process and reform implemented across UNHCR Headquarters. As part of change process management and reform advocacy team, he promoted the use of information technology tools and methods for work productivity and efficiency in delivering services across the organization. After years of work with UNDP, Mr. Neupane had joined United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees program operations in Eastern Sudan in 1983. The nature of the refugee assistance program, working with beneficiaries and the noble cause of UNHCR highly motivated him. It was the time when the world had faced an unprecedented humanitarian crisis in Africa due to famines in Ethiopia that had produced the largest human outflows. This work exposure was huge, but it provided Mr. Neupane an opportunity for impromptu involvement in a wide range of organizational work associated with beneficiary needs assessment, program development, planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation processes. This challenging experience was everlasting and further sharpened Mr. Neupane’s philosophy of planning for development assistance for target population pragmatically while maximizing investments and delivery of outputs.   ( as of 30 July 2019)