Friday, March 31, 2023

UN, IFC, Global Compact Nepal, and Nepse ‘Ring the Bell’ for gender equality

The United Nations (UN), International Finance Corporation (IFC), Global Compact Nepal, and Nepal Stock Exchanges (Nepse) partnered to jointly organise the third ‘Ring the Bell for Gender Equality’—an annual global event that highlights how the private sector can spur women's participation in the global economy and promote sustainable development.

The focus of the event this year is on promotion of gender equality in the technology and innovation sector, according to a press note issued by the UN.

By expediting gender equality, emerging and frontier markets stand to gain significant economic, environmental, social, and governance benefits, it reads, adding that the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative reports that if women were to fully engage in formal labor markets, the global gross domestic product (GDP) would surge by $28 trillion.

The event kicked off with the UN Resident Coordinator designate of Nepal Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, chairperson of the Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) Ramesh Kumar Hamal, Head of Office of the UN Women Nepal Navnita Sinha, Senior Asia ESG Advisory Lead of the IFC Nepal Kate Lazarus, Deputy Head of Cooperation, of the European Union (EU) in Nepal Eloisa Astudillo Fernandez, and founding president of Global Compact Nepal Sulochana Shrestha Shah jointly ringing the symbolic bell of the Nepse. 

Speaking at the event, the UN Resident Coordinator designate of Nepal Hanaa Singer Hamdy said, “Gender equality is a central force for realising the transformative promise of Agenda 2030, and women’s economic empowerment is both an enabler and prerequisite to make this promise a reality. As societies become increasingly dependent on digital technology, our sisters in Nepal face the risk of losing out on the promise of full participation in digital economies. We must bridge the digital divide, increase women’s digital and financial literacy, increase their access to finance and promote safe digital spaces.”

Under the UN Women’s theme for International Women’s Day this year: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality,” the event was organised to spotlight the need for and importance of women involvement in digital finance for advancement in gender equality and achieve the SDGs.

"Empowering women to participate fully in the economy is not only the right thing to do, it is also smart business. By accelerating gender equality, emerging markets can unlock tremendous economic, environmental, social, and governance gains. At IFC, we are committed to supporting initiatives that promote gender parity," said Kate Lazarus, Senior Asia ESG Advisory Lead of the IFC Nepal. “It's truly heartening to witness the dedication of private sector in Nepal, as shown by the 19 power companies that are working with IFC's Powered by Women initiative to create a level playing field."

The event was organised to highlight the pivotal role the private sector can play in gender equality and women’s empowerment, to motivate women to engage in finance and to raise awareness among Nepali companies on the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs).

“It is our great pleasure to be a part of gender equality initiation taken in the global level. Nepse is aware and is actively participating with different awareness programmes and models for women’s participation in the capital markets. Nepse is strongly determined to come forward with activities which assures the gender equality and fair participation of women in the capital market” said chief executive officer of Nepse Krishna Bahadur Karki.

Speaking at the event, the Deputy Head of EU in Nepal shed light on the significance of digitation for financial inclusion in Nepal. Likewise speakers of the Panel Discussion highlighted barriers that women face in investing in accessing finance such as attitudinal constrains, family obligation, gender stereotypes, infrastructural problems, and the need to create digital technology that responds to the need of women.

"It is important that private sector companies learn about Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as they provide a framework to implement policies and practices that support gender equality. Ring the Bell 2023 introduces WEPs to a lot of private sector companies in Nepal. As of March 2023, there are 23 WEPs signatories in Nepal; we aim to at least double WEPs signatories within the next 12 months," said president of Global Compact Nepal Pradeep Man Vaidya.

Ring the Bell is a collaboration of stock exchanges around the world ringing opening or closing bells to celebrate International Women’s Day and promote the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs). In Nepal the initiative was a partnership between Global Compact Nepal (GCN), UN Women, International Finance Corporation (IFC), Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) and UN Resident Coordinator Office to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

This year, a record 120 exchanges have participated in these events worldwide, from less than 10 exchanges in 2015.

Sunday, March 26, 2023

World Bank approves $120 million to support education sector

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved $120 million in financing to support the implementation of the Nepal’s flagship School Education Sector Programme (SESP).

The School Sector Transformation Programme operation builds on the government’s previous school education sector programmes and puts a greater focus on quality learning by establishing a teacher mentoring system at the local government level and ensuring a full complement of subject teachers (English, Math, and Science) at upper-basic and secondary levels, according to a press note issued by the multilateral development partner.

“Investing in quality education is key to developing human capital which goes to the heart of ensuring greater equity and economic growth,” World Bank country director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Faris Hadad-Zervos said, adding that the operation supports Nepal’s vision to enhance quality of and equitable access to education to fulfill the ambitions of the new federal state.

The operation focuses on improving foundational skills by implementing the national integrated curriculum in early grades. To address the learning losses as a result of school closures due to Covid-19 and other disasters, the operation supports the government’s programme through the development and implementation of the Recovery and Accelerated Learning Plan, construction of green and resilient classrooms, and strengthening digital teaching and learning materials, the press note reads, adding that the operation also supports improving the equity of the school sector by including girls, disabled students, and those of lower socio-economic status, and by expanding targeted scholarships to students in grades 6-8 (upper-basic level) to help disadvantaged students.

“School closures had the largest impact on students of lower socio-economic backgrounds and deprived communities, as they have even more limited access to teachers and remote learning opportunities,” World Bank’s Programme Task Team Leader Karthika Radhakrishnan said, adding that the new operation supports the implementation of the Recovery and Accelerated Learning Plan and supports children from poorer socio-economic backgrounds through targeted scholarships.