ADB to aid drive for legal identity to poor

KATHMANDU: The government drive to provide the poor with legal identity documents, which are required to gain access to essential benefits and services, is to receive support from Asian Development Bank (ADB).

A $2 million grant from the ADB-administered Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR) will fund awareness raising programmes and intensive registration campaigns.

“The poor and vulnerable in Nepal have very little access to goods, resources, and opportunities such as social welfare benefits or free school textbooks.

One reason for this is that they don’t have legal identity documents,

such as certificates of birth, citizenship, migration, marriage, and death,” said Jogendra Ghimire, counsel at ADB’s Office of the General Counsel.

It is estimated that at least 75 per cent of Nepal’s population does not have birth certificates, and that between three million and five million people who are eligible citizens have still not acquired citizenship, said the ADB report.

An outdated and complex legislative framework, burdensome procedures, low awareness among

government officials and the general public, high registration costs, discrimination and low capacity have all contributed to the lack of legal documentation of the poor.

The ADB project will be implemented over four years in the districts of Kathmandu, Jhapa, Ilam, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Palpa, Rupandehi, Mustang, Kailali and Dang.

It will aim to provide birth certificates and other identity documents to at least 80 per cent of residents in the target areas, and ensure that individual details are logged in a computerised civil registration system that can be accessed by relevant government departments.

Registration training for civil servants and public awareness campaign will also be conducted.

The Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction was established by the Japanese government and the ADB in May 2000 to provide direct relief to the poorest and most vulnerable segments of society while building up their capacity for self-help and income generation.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in the Asia and

Pacific regions through

inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth and regional integration.

Established back in the year 1966, ADB is owned by 67 members — 48 of whom are from the regions. In 2008, it approved $10.5 billion as loans, $811.4 million for grant projects

and $274.5 million in technical assistance.

More investment urged

ULAANBAATAR: Efficient and cost-competitive transportation and logistics services will help governments in the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) region stimulate economic activity and promote social and political cohesion, Asian Development Bank (ADB) president Haruhiko Kuroda said here on Wednesday.

Kuroda, speaking at the launch of a series of ADB reports on the state of transport and trade logistics in CAREC member-countries, said that to improve efficiency and competitiveness in the sectors more investment was needed. He also called for sustained cooperation among member-countries to ensure the smooth flow of goods and passengers across the region.

“Increased investment and cooperation will make possible the

establishment of competitive and viable

transport corridors between the dynamic, growing economies of the East and West,” Mr. Kuroda said.

“The flow of trade and people through these corridors will, among other benefits, generate additional revenues for the CAREC countries through which the corridors pass.’ The ADB reports discuss the status and challenges of the transportation. — Agecnies