Dr Arjun Karki has been engaged in development politics as a student and youth activist, academician, social activist and development practitioner. The extensive nature of his activism and professional work at local, national, regional and international levels, rightly embodies policy advocacy that is key in producing the necessary paradigm shifts in the entire development process and in particular, the process of development ‘from below’. His PhD thesis “The Politics of Poverty and Movements from Below in Nepal” awarded in 2002 by the School of Development Studies of the University of East Anglia, is founded on original case studies of three sets of social movements ‘from below’ in Nepal – the bonded labour or Kamaiya movement, the land rights movement and the Maoist movement.
He was actively engaged in Nepal’s democracy movement in 1990 having been rooted in student activism during the preceding Panchayat era. Throughout the Maoist conflict (1996-2006), he was intensively involved in conflict mediation, conflict transformation and in defending the development space as the President of NGO Federation of Nepal, the Regional Co-ordinator of the South Asia Alliance for Poverty Eradication (SAAPE) while also heading Rural Reconstruction Nepal (RRN). He played a noted role as a human rights defender at the national and international levels – especially at the United Nations (UN) and European Union (EU) levels - during the ‘direct royal regime’ in 2005 and the subsequent second democracy movement or Jana Andolan II in April 2006. He is now engaged in the ongoing peace-building process focusing on and advocating a people-centred and democratic peace-building ‘from below’ in Nepal.
Dr Karki is currently working in twin capacity as the President of RRN and the International Co-ordinator of LDC Watch that is legally based in Brussels, Belgium with the international headquarters in Kathmandu, Nepal. He co-ordinates the LDC Watch civil society campaign in 48 UN defined Least Developed Countries (LDCs) in Africa, Caribbean and Asia-Pacific. His present profile engages him both at the grassroots and national as well as at the regional and international arena of development politics, articulating his role as an international lobbyist and campaigner in and around the issues related to the internationally agreed development goals (IADGs) including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA). He has undertaken extensive research and published books, contributing to various international journals on the issues of politics of poverty and rural social movements underscoring the significance of both, the economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR) as well as civil and political rights (CPR). He has co-edited the much acclaimed, first comprehensive account of the Maoist insurgency in English, “The People’s War in Nepal: Left Perspectives”.