Kathmandu, September 23

The International Development Partner Group (IDPG) in Nepal has called on the government and parliament to expedite the process of finalising appropriate legislation for revival of the National Authority for Reconstruction (NAR), a powerful body that will look into reconstruction and rehabilitation works following the earthquakes of April and May.

“Some three months after the conference, and five months since the first earthquake shattered lives and livelihoods of millions of Nepali people, legislation for the NAR is not yet in place and the appointment of a CEO needs to be reconfirmed,” says a statement issued today by IDPG.

“We call upon the government and the parliament to finalise, as a matter of urgency, the appropriate legislation and take the necessary steps and decisions as soon as possible to establish the NAR, which is crucial to effectively oversee the huge reconstruction tasks.”

The government had introduced Ordinance on Reconstruction of Structures Damaged by the Earthquake ahead of the June 25 International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction to show the

country’s development partners that the government was serious about rebuilding parts of the country ravaged by the earthquakes.

Based on this Ordinance, the government on August 13, appointed Govind Raj Pokhrel as the CEO of the NAR. Then during NAR’s first meeting, held in presence of Prime Minister and NAR Chairperson Sushil Koirala on August 25, the 31 districts to execute rehabilitation and reconstruction works were identified.

However, NAR has remained defunct since then, as parliament failed to approve the Replacement Bill, derived from the Ordinance, within 60 days of commencement of the parliament session.

Later, amendments were also made to the Replacement Bill, which divided the NAR into three layers of Consultative Committee headed by the prime minister, Steering Committee headed by PM and two ministers designated by the PM, and Executive Committee headed by the CEO.

But instead of endorsing the amended Bill, Minister for Law, Justice, Constituent Assembly and Parliamentary Affairs Narahari Acharya, who represents Nepali Congress, proposed that the Bill be forwarded to the concerned committee of parliament for further discussion after sensing that CPN-UML and UCPN-Maoist were against the Bill and were preparing to vote against it. Since then nothing has happened.

IDPG has said the NRA should come into operation immediately, as ‘needs to the tune of $6.7 billion will have to be addressed with special focus and attention for timely delivery of quality support to the affected people, notably the most vulnerable’.

“It is a collective wish of the International Development Partners that the substantial goodwill provided to Nepal will be rapidly translated into the quickest and soundest reconstruction modality,” says the statement, adding, “We stand ready to discuss how we can best jointly support the national efforts and establish an effective mechanism for dialogue and coordination through the International Development Partners Group.”