KATHMANDU: Delegates from at least 45 countries and multilateral agencies have confirmed participation for the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) that is being held here on Thursday.
The government is holding the conference, with a theme, ‘Towards a Resilient Nepal’, to seek financial assistance to rebuild parts of the country ravaged by the earthquake of April 25 and its aftershocks.
So far, invitations have been extended to 70 countries, development partners, such as the United Nations (UN), the World Bank (WB) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and world renowned personalities.
“Based on the invitation, China and India have agreed to send foreign ministers. Also, Norway, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan are sending ministers, while Japan is sending a state minister to the conference,” said Narayan Dhakal, undersecretary at the Ministry of Finance.
Similarly, the ADB and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have confirmed participation of their presidents, while the European Union (EU) is sending its development commissioner and the WB is sending its vice president.
“However, three individuals, namely American actor and movie producer Leonardo DiCaprio, British actress Joanna Lumley and former US president Jimmy Carter, who were asked to join the conference, are yet to confirm participation,” Dhakal said.
At the conference, the government will present the report on Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) prepared by the National Planning Commission in partnership with the ADB, the EU, JICA, the UN and the WB.
The report has estimated the total value of disaster effects at Rs 706 billion. Of this amount, Rs 517 billion, or 76 per cent of the total effects, represents the value of destroyed physical assets, and Rs 189 billion reflects the losses and higher costs of production of goods and services arising from the disaster.
The report further says the country will require at least Rs 669 billion for rehabilitation and reconstruction.Foreign governments and development partners are expected to make funding commitments for Nepal based on this finding.
Nepal needs financial support from foreign sources to make effective recovery from the quake and aftershocks because the government’s revenue growth has slowed down as a result of disrupted business activities.
The slack in aggregate demand coming from the private sector and the costs to rehabilitate and reconstruct public properties such as schools, hospitals, heritage monuments, roads, energy projects, and water supply systems, among others, will exert substantial pressure on public finances,as will the announced subsidies to private home owners, says the PDNA report.
To finance the rehabilitation and reconstruction cost, the government has set up a National Reconstruction Fund of Rs 200 billion, in which the state would contribute Rs 20 billion.
The earthquake and its aftershocks have killed at least 8,831 people, injured another 22,309 and affected lives of eight million people, which is almost a third of the population.