Preparations for donors' conference almost over

KATHMANDU: Preparations for an international donors' conference scheduled to be held in the Capital on June 25 are almost over.

The objective of the conference is to garner external assistance for reconstruction, rehabilitation and rebuild efforts in the aftermath of the massive earthquake that struck the country on April 25.

The government through the conference is expected to convince foreign donor agencies to lend maximum support to Nepal in its reconstruction and rebuild efforts.

A total of 27 nations and 23 donor agencies have been invited to the conference.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said the preparations for the event have reached the final stage.

"The available resources are insufficient to bring the earthquake-devastated country back to its previous position so that the government has to call the donors' conference to gather external funds to operate reconstruction efforts," he said.

A committee has been formed under the coordination of Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat to make preparations for the conference. The committee is said to have been working on war footing. The MoFA and Ministry of Finance are working in tandem to make the conference a success, it is learnt.

The government has already dispatched letters to its close neighbours – India and China – extending invitation to their respective head of the states or the governments to the conference and has received positive response from there, he added.

The conference would be inaugurated with a speech by Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. A documentary capturing scenario of country's major destinations before and after the earthquake would be screened on the occasion. The conference scheduled for the first time in the country would be focused on main agenda of the hour, he said, expressing his hope that the daylong event would be successful in meeting its target.

Transparency would be maintained in the spending of money to be received from donors and the Office of Auditor General would duly audit the expenses. The Legislature-Parliament would also be there to monitor the spending of the amount and there was no need to doubt on the misappropriation of the funds, Minister Pandey said. His statement has come at a time when the government is in the ring of questions regarding the utilization of amount received from foreign donors to tackle the post-disaster situation.

"Besides, imparting the message that most of the tourist destinations in the country are still safe is another objective of the conference. The guests will be taken on tour to the damaged historic sites, UNESCO-listed heritage sites and some earthquake affected districts," he said.

The government has already developed the Post Disaster Need Assessment (PDNA) which would be presented in the conference, said Finance Secretary Suman Prasad Sharma. The government has a plan to form a high-level mechanism to arrange the reconstruction efforts and Rs 666 billion is estimated as a need for the reconstruction of the country. A fund of two billion rupees has been already instituted to execute reconstruction efforts.

The National Planning Commission has already recommended the government to form a National Reconstruction Implementation Committee headed by the Prime Minister.