Thursday, June 25, 2015

Development partners pledge over $4 billion aid for Nepal's reconstruction

Development partners – including both multilateral and bilateral – today pledged $4.4 billion in aid that is more than half the Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) estimation for the reconstruction of Nepal.
According to preliminary estimation of PDNA, Nepal needs Rs 669 billion ($6.7 billion) – over the next five years – for the reconstruction of the damaged infrastructures due to the devastating earthquake on April 25, and subsequent aftershocks.
Of the pledge by Nepal's trusted development partners – during the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction 2015 (ICNR 2015) here in the capital today – half of the aid is grant while the remaining half is loan.
In the conference, India announced the largest aid, Rs 100 billion ($1 billion), for post-earthquake reconstruction. "India has extended one fourth of the total amount as grant assistance," said Indian minister for Foreign Affairs Sushma Swaraj.
Following the southern neighbour, the northern neighbour, China also announced Rs 76 billion ($760 million) in the conference organised to raise fund for the rebuilding the country ravaged by the devastating earthquake of April 25. Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi, on the occasion, announced 4.7 billion RMB ($760 million) including both grant and loan. China has also offered a concessional loan from Silk Road Fund from China to Nepal’s reconstruction bid. "China will offer training opportunities for 1,500 Nepalis over the next year," Yi announced, quoting Chinese president Xi Jinping’s message, "The friendship between China and Nepal is as close as teeth and lips."
Likewise, Japan announced Rs 26 billion ($260 million) during the conference. Japan has also proposed to organise second donors' conference – in Japan – to support Build Back Better Nepal. "Japan will provide as much cooperation as possible in rebuilding Nepal including World Heritage sites," Japanese state foreign minister for Foreign Affairs Minoru Kiuchi said, on the occasion.
Addressing the conference, the US ambassador to Nepal Peter W Bodde announced the US aid of $130 million for Nepal’s bid to recover from the deadly earthquake and susbsequent aftershocks. Bodde also relayed US secretary of state John Kerry's message at the conference, pledging longstanding partnership and commitment for Nepal.
The 7.8-magnitude devastating earthquake that struck on April 25 and subsequent aftershocks and landslides killed over 8,600 people and damaged over 8,000 homes and buildings partially and completely, food stocks, livestock and farmland were destroyed impacting the people's liveleihood.
On the occasion, European Union Development Commissioner Neven Mimica pledged euro 100 million grant and technical assistance worth euro 5 million to Nepal reconstruction efforts. "EU is currently preparing a budget support operation worth euro 100 million and this is our pledge today," he said, adding that the assistance will hopefully create fiscal space helping the government to face the budgetary consequences of the disaster both in unforeseen expenditure and foregone revenue. "In parallel, EU will make available up to euro 5 million or technical assistance."
Likewise, Norway announced $30 million (Norwegian Kroner 100 million), the UK pledged $110 million, Canada announced $60 million, Switzerland $25 million, Australia $16 million and South Korea pledged $10 million for Nepal's reconstruction.
On the occasion, Pakistan pledged $1 million and Austria $1.2 million in financial assistance, Sri Lanka pledged $1.5million, Finland $2 million and Turkey announced $2 million for rebuilding Nepal. However, Brazil, Bangladesh, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia have also assured to support Nepal’s recovery bid but have not announced the amount.
Similarly, the multilateral development partners also announced support for Build Back Better Nepal. Asian Development Bank (ADB) pledged $600 million, whereas World Bank (WB) – earlier on Tuesday – has said that it would provide up to $500 million to finance the reconstruction of Nepal.
Meanwhile, UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon and World Bank president Jim Yong Kim had sent video messages to the conference. In their video messages, Ki-Moon and Kim pledged their substantial support to Nepal reconstruction drive. Annette Dixon, WB vice president for South Asia, had presented introductory remarks on Kim’s message.
The International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction 2015 also saw some 300 delegates from 60 nations, development partners, and neighbours including Indian and Chinese foreign ministers.
Finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, speaking with media in the evening, termed the conference – organised to seek support from the development partners to rebuild the country devastated by the deadly earthquake of April 25 and its aftershocks – a grand success.
"The participation and announcement of support by the development partners were more than expected," Mahat said, adding that the challenge ahead lies in implementation of reconstruction plan effectively.
Likewise, chief secretary Leelamani Poudyal – after the end of business session – also hailed the conference as a success.
In the session chaired by finance minister Mahat National Planning Commission (NPC) vice chair Dr Govind Raj Pokharel presented the PDNA report.
Finance secretary Suman Sharma, on the occasion, apprised the participants of mobilisation of resources, post-quake scenario and implementation process.
Concluding the inaugural session, UN under secretary general Gyan Chandra Acharya said the the conference would become a strong foundation to build better Nepal's future.


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