Secretary-general approves $10 Million contribution in aid to Nepal

New York, 10 September2008 (UN Department of Public Information)

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has approved $10 million in assistance to Nepal from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund. Following the Secretary-General's declaration of the country's eligibility last December, more than 20 United Nations agencies came together in consultation with partners to review the peacebuilding challenges ahead in Nepal, and the possible contributions the United Nations system could make as the peace process enters its next phase.

Ian Martin, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Chief of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN), said the peacebuilding contribution was at the core of the United Nations response strategy. "With the elections behind us, we have entered a complex period of transition in Nepal, with heightened expectations from the Nepalese people, two thirds of whom live on less than $2 a day."

Elections were held earlier this year and in May, the newly formed Constituent Assembly voted in favour of a federal democratic republic. The parties now must decide on the structure of the new State, draft a new constitution, and address the issue of the two armies currently on Nepal's soil, all the while attending to a host of peacebuilding challenges following a decade-long conflict that claimed the lives of more than 13,000 people.

"Strengthening the State's capacity to sustain peace is a priority area for peacebuilding assistance," said Robert Piper, the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Nepal. A number of potential priority areas have been identified for this assistance with the details of Fund allocations waiting for the new Government to be established and more detailed consultations to take place. Areas that are strong candidates for support include: support to Nepal's Constituent Assembly and promotion of human rights and protection; recovery of communities and areas affected by conflict, for example, through "food and cash for work programmes", school feeding projects, skills training for youth and other initiatives that accelerate the tangible benefits of peace and development; and conflict prevention and reconciliation issues, for example, assistance to cantonments and reintegration of former combatants and internally displaced persons or support to land and property mediation.

Assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund will be channelled through an existing funding mechanism ­- the United Nations Peace Fund for Nepal, which is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of the Special Representative, Resident Coordinator and representatives from the Government and the donor community.

The Peacebuilding Fund is a strategic instrument of the Secretary-General to address immediate financial gaps in support of peacebuilding efforts. Long-term funding must still come from multilateral and bilateral supporters.

Launched in 2006, the Fund has attracted $275,004,559 in pledges from 44 donors, and has so far provided assistance to 11 countries.

Source: Department of Public Information, News and Media Division, New York 2008
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