Monday, September 25, 2017

ADB to help improve delivery of urban services and infrastructure

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a $150 million soft loans for Nepal to improve urban infrastructures in the southern plains of the country.
The ADB’s board of directors has approved a $150 million loan to help improve the delivery of urban services and infrastructure in eight municipalities in the southern plains including in Province 7 in the far west, according to a press note issued by the multilateral development partner.
The project will help the areas become more sustainable, inclusive, and resilient places to live in for more than 1.5 million people, the press note reads.
Urbanisation in Nepal has been growing at a rapid pace at about six per cent since the 1970s, however, this has not contributed significantly to inclusive economic growth due to inadequate urban planning, weak institutions, neglected operations and maintenance (O&M) of existing urban infrastructure, as well as limited technical capacity. It is estimated that the government would need to double its spending on urban infrastructure to meet the backlog of future demand up to 2030 worth $24.5 billion.
Investments from the Regional Urban Development Project will focus on eight municipalities from the southern Tarai region, including four municipalities from the less-developed Province 7 in far western Nepal.
The project will enhance urban infrastructure in municipalities in the Tarai region, incorporating climate-resilient and sustainable features, reducing flooding duration to less than an hour in eight municipalities. It includes the construction and rehabilitation of 200-km storm water drains; improvement of 240-km roads; construction of at least 40-km footpaths responsive to the needs of elderly, women, children, and people with disabilities; building of four sanitary landfills and resource recovery centres; and construction of 20-km sewers while connecting 7,500 households to the sewerage system in Biratnagar.
"Improving urban infrastructure and service delivery in major urban areas in Nepal, including in the Tarai region, is a must given their importance to the country’s economy and development,” an ADB urban development specialist Vivian Castro-Wooldridge, has been quoted as saying in the press note. "The project will ensure that people in the southern parts of Nepal are living in areas that are safe, sustainable, inclusive, and resilient to climate change."
The Tarai region is where a significant amount of Nepal’s urban population lives and where majority of the landlocked country’s trade activities flow—through the municipalities of Biratnagar, Birgunj, and Siddharthanagar. Province 7, bordering India, is one of the poorest and most vulnerable provinces in Nepal, with 40 percent of people living under poverty and almost none having access to proper waste collection and treatment facilities.
The project will mark ADB’s first investment in urban infrastructure in Province 7 and will improve flood management, mobility and solid waste management. It will also assist the development of urban plans and bylaws that reflect greater disaster risk resilience, improved land management, and regional development. Municipal capacity will be strengthened through the implementation of a performance-based socio-economic development programme.
The project will also support a project development facility for the preparation of a pipeline of urban infrastructure projects, particularly in solid waste management, drainage, roads, water supply, and sanitation, with high readiness to reduce future start-up delays, adds the release.

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