Nepal's Donors Explain Their Stance
Nepal's donors say they raised political issues on Nepal because development choices are also about political choices.
The following is a statement by the British Embassy in Kathmandu, collectively agreed Asian Development Bank, Canada, Denmark, European Commission, Germany, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, the UN, United Kingdom, and the World Bank:
This is a critical moment in Nepal's history, a moment when centuries of exclusion and disadvantage can begin to be reversed, a moment when the aspirations of Jana Andolan 2 can begin to be realised. One important step will be inclusive, free and fair elections. The agreement with the United Democratic Madhesi Front has been a very positive step in this regard. But much more will need to be done if the people are to see a democratic transition to economic and social change in a more inclusive Nepal.
Last month donors met with the government and jointly agreed a way forward to support peace and development in Nepal. Such a meeting in itself is just one of the many steps needed on the road to the Nepal that the people want. But both the government and donors agreed to a range of commitments (see www.ndcm2008.gov.np), and we should be held to account for them.
Peace and development go hand in hand. Peace is needed for development to succeed, and development for peace to last. If you ask poor people what they want, they will tell you. They want peace and security, but they also want roads so that they can sell their goods in the market, free basic services in health and education because costs exclude poor people, clean water near to their home, and a government that works for them, and works with them. The government and donors committed to support these and other priorities through the government's Three Year Interim Plan.
We donors have increased our aid to Nepal since democracy was restored, it grew by 20 percent between 2005 and 2006, and while the numbers are not yet in for 2007, we know it will have increased even further. This will help us support the government to build the roads that will connect the last twelve remaining districts to unite all of Nepal; to progressively end health user fees and provide better health care services; build 9,000 more classrooms and recruit 13,000 temporary teachers so that children can get a better education; get clean water to many of Nepal's towns, home to half a million people, and launch a national local governance and community support programme in July, vital for the delivery of local services. We agreed to intensify dialogue on the economy between the government, the private sector, civil society and donors, in order to identify measures to increase economic growth and create more and better jobs for Nepalis.
Some people ask why donors raise political issues. We raise them because development choices are also about political choices. But achieving peace is too. So we also agreed with the government that in order to create the right environment for credible elections, all parties need to support the role of the police and judiciary in an impartial way, and respect the rule of law. That the government should implement its human rights obligations, address impunity for human rights abuses, and urgently discharge minors from cantonments with proper support. Along with other commitments made, the Government should move quickly to establish the High Level Monitoring Committee, and the Peace Commission, for inclusive management of the peace process. Donors will continue to back the peace process, by various means, including UNMIN, but also through support to the government's Nepal Peace Trust Fund and to the UN Peace Fund.
But if there is one priority, it is implementation, implementation, implementation. The people of Nepal should be reaping the benefits of peace. This means more attention by Government to provision of law and order across the country, delivery of agreements made on the peace process, and with excluded groups. For all of us, accelerating provision of development is essential. We have agreed to move quickly to identify measurable targets in priority areas, like roads, health and education, as well as in improving public financial management and tackling corruption. Targets for which we can be held to account by the people of Nepal. In all of this, we remain fully committed to helping the people of Nepal build the New Nepal they so desperately want, and so deeply deserve.
Posted by Editor on March 5, 2008 8:33 AM