Funds must go to poorest, says UK

KATHMANDU: Nepal is an early test of the UK’s policy shift towards focusing more aid on post-conflict and fragile states, according to a report published by the International Development Select Committee of the UK government today.

“In the long run UK aid in Nepal will be judged by its success in helping to reduce poverty, averting the risk of reverting to conflict, and paving the way to sustained development. In the right political circumstances, the country has significant economic potential,” Member of British Parliament and Chairman of the Committee Malcolm Bruce said.

According to the report, Nepal is the poorest country in South East Asia and the fifteenth poorest country in the world. The UK is the largest bilateral donor in Nepal and will be providing £172 million over three years to 2012. The Report says that the Department for International Development (DFID/UK Aid) must ensure that its assistance is targeted towards the poorest people and those least capable of accessing services.

“One in three people in Nepal lives in poverty. The 10-year conflict there was caused at least in part by poverty and exclusion, based on ethnicity, gender, caste and religion. These inequalities persist and those who are least vocal or least able to understand the system suffer the most. Failure to assist the millions of people living in the most dire conditions will result in the Millennium Development Goals being missed, both in Nepal and globally,” the Chairman said.

“DFID has implemented some very effective programmes, particularly to support livelihoods.”