Mayor of Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Balendra Shah has been listed as one of the 2023 TIME100 Next emerging leaders of the world.
Shah, who emerged into power as KMC's mayor after winning 2079 local elections, is one of 100 emerging people on the 2023 TIME100 Next.
The 33-year-old, who has a master's degree in structural engineering, ran as an independent and used TikTok, Twitter, and Instagram to harness voter anger over the status quo, sparking a "Balen effect" that saw as many as 385 independent candidates triumph over veteran politicians in last spring's local election, read the magazine.
It further adds that in a city still reeling from a deadly 2015 earthquake, Shah's campaign promises were simple but offered desperately needed fixes: better waste disposal and sanitation, safe drinking water, clean roads, and the preservation of cultural heritage alongside urban development.
His efforts to make good on these promises have been met with scrutiny, including in regard to their impact on the city's poor and their reliance on demolishing buildings deemed illegal. Since coming into power, Shah has also signed agreements with officials to utilise landfill sites and announced plans to separate and dispose of non-degradable waste.