Nepal resides in South Asia and is landlocked between China, India and Bangladesh. Nepali is the official language, however according to the most recent National Population and Housing Census, only 45 percent of the population speak Nepali and there are more than 123 other languages spoken as a mother tongue. Nepal is also home to at least four indigenous sign languages.
In 2018, a historic governmental transition took place in Nepal, as the country moved to a federal and secular republic. After the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006 and a new Constitution in 2015, in 2017, Nepal successfully held their first parliamentary federal, state and local elections in 17 years. In February 2018, the elected officials took office. This shift to federalism brings new optimism for political stability, however, it also poses new challenges as governments are clarifying responsibilities for providing human services, developing infrastructure and stimulating economic activity.
Although widespread poverty remains, Nepal has made great progress in reducing poverty rates. According to the World Bank, the percentage of the population living below the international poverty line has decreased from 15 to 9 percent in the last 10 years. However, vulnerability remains extremely high, with nearly 32 percent of the population living between USD 1.90 and USD 3.20 per person per day. Climate-related disasters, such as earthquakes and floods, also increase vulnerability. The destruction from the 2015 earthquake, in particular, pushed more than 700,000 people into poverty and worsened overall social conditions.