Reform key sectors: ADB

Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, January 20:

Asian Development Bank (ADB), one of the crucial donors for Nepal, has called through its Country Strategy Paper (2005-2009) for reforms in key ‘economic and development’ sectors by involving excluded people in the mainstream of development. At a time when the government-Maoist conflict has already damaged the development process and economic activities, ADB informs that the pace of overall poverty reduction has been slow which stands at 38 per cent. ADB has stated that it supports the creation of an enabling environment for increased private sector participation and investment by fostering better policies and their implementation with regulatory reforms in key sectors.

The donor agency also urges that there is a need to address gender, ethnic and cast discriminations through policy reforms, targeted investments and mainstreaming of equal opportunity measures in key sector investments. ADB has been, at times calling for improving environment as to social, environmental and resettlement assessment policies, including procedures, practices that relate to investment projects. Nepal can tap benefits from regional cooperation initiatives in the areas of transport connections and trade facilitation, energy, tourism and communications with neighbouring countries.

Amidst unprecedented development challenges being facing by Nepal, rural livelihoods are being lost coupled with damaged security and government infrastructure, says ADB. People’s movement has also been restricted. Suspension of parliament, fractious relations between main political parties and the conflict has proved a complex development setting. ADB also says that the conflict has exposed deep-seated geographic, economic, social, gender and ethnic inequalities within Nepalese society. The need has already arisen to break the vicious cycle of social exclusion, chronic poverty and low growth that fuels social and political tensions by making the development process inclusive.

ADB says, its strategic approach in Nepal over the next five years is to foster a broad-based and inclusive social and economic development process so as to achieve a steady decline in poverty.

ADB has stated that, as per past experiences, ADB would like to keep operations simple and implemental, promote local service delivery and ensure active participation of key stakeholders to ensure that projects are demand-driven and sustainable. ADB also warns that its future assistance will be on the basis of results which focus on participation by a wider spectrum of stakeholders and institutions with programmatic approaches. The bank says it will harmonise aid with government policies and procedures.