UNDP Regional Director wraps-up visit to Nepal against backdrop of political uncertainty and ongoing development challenges
Kathmandu, 1 May - Mr. Ajay Chhibber, UN Assistant Secretary General and UNDP Assistant Administrator, and Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific left today on May 1st 2010 after completing a four-day visit. He was here to gain a first hand sense of the current development situation and exchange views on the relevance of current and future UNDP projects and programmes. While in Nepal, Mr. Chhibber met with the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, the Honourable Minister of Finance, the Honourable Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission, other senior officials, international donors and civil society representatives.
During the meeting with the Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Mr. Madhav Kumar Nepal, UNDP's support to the peace process and Nepal's progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals were discussed. Mr. Chhibber emphasized the importance of moving forward with the implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and indicated UNDP's ongoing support to the constitution-drafting process. He stressed the importance of the final document enjoying broad legitimacy, by ensuring a high level of consultation with all key stakeholders and the importance of political stability for economic development. During discussions on the peace process and the current political situation, Mr. Chhibber emphasized that 'non-violence is vital at this time and all parties must show restraint and respect for democratic processes. Visionary leadership, dialogue and compromise are needed to navigate successfully through the current impasse'. The Prime Minister also discussed the Lumbini Development Plan and Mr. Chhibber assured him of the UN's desire to support this visionary project.
With only five years left to achieve the MDGs, UNDP and the wider UN system is closely monitoring progress on this international agenda in the 166 countries in which it works. In the meeting with the Honourable Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Mr. Jagadish Chandra Pokharel, Mr. Chhibber noted that Nepal has made significant progress on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the last decade despite the difficult economic situation. The country is largely on track on a number of goals such as those related to child mortality, maternal health income poverty and combating HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases. However, indicators relating to hunger, full employment and environmental sustainability look difficult to be reached on current trends. The quality and sharing of progress on the MDGs remains a key concern in post-conflict Nepal where equity and inclusion are at the heart of the peace process.
The Honourable Minister for Environment, Mr. Thakur Prasad Sharma and Mr. Chhibber jointly inaugurated Nepal's first 100 KW micro-hydro power plant at Bom Khola in Lukla. The plant was built by the local community under a joint venture of the Government of Nepal (Alternative Energy Promotion Centre), UNDP's Rural Energy Development Programme and the World Bank. The plant provides electricity to a total of 193 households in Lukla, and has contributed significantly to a rise in the local economy and helped changing the lives of the resident of Lukla, especially women and has large environmental benefits.
During his visit to Nepal, Mr Chhibber along with Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, Governor of Nepal Rastra Bank, also gave a key note address at a regional conference on the Impact of the Global Financial Crisis on South Asia. While the Asia region has done well to rebound from the crisis, there remain important challenges ahead to ensure an Asian Century, and with political stability Nepal could benefit enormously from the rapid growth in the region.
Operating in Nepal since 1963, UNDP Nepal is currently supporting 35 projects and programmes in the areas of Transitional Governance, Inclusive Growth & Sustainable Livelihoods, Peace Building and Recovery, Energy, Environment and Natural Disaster Management and HIV/AIDS.
For more information pls. contact Sangita.firstname.lastname@example.org, Development Communications Officer, UNDP Nepal; tel: 00-977-1-5523200 ext. 1077