Donors’ meet on Nepal unlikely this year

Kathmandu, February 28:

The annual meeting of the Nepal Development Forum (NDF) will not be held this year due to the current unstable political situation. The crucial meeting, which brings all donors and development partners to one platform for deciding development aid for Nepal, was earlier planned for March-April.

Diplomatic sources at the UNDP and other donor agencies confirmed that the NDF meeting would not take place, “which is one of the reasons the donors will discuss Nepal in London next week”.

“The possibility of NDF not meeting this year is increasing. It was earlier planned to be held within the next Nepali month (March-April),” Vidhya Dhar Mallik, secretary at the Ministry of Finance, told The Himalayan Times. “The issue is being discussed,” he added.

The meeting on March 7 in London, being hosted by the Department of International Development (DFID), will focus on Nepal’s issues.

Nepal will also figure along with Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and other Asian countries in another donor meeting, which will be held on March 5-6 in London.

All the heads of the donor agencies in Kathmandu, including Matthew Kahane, the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator of the UN System in Nepal, Jorg Frieden, the Country Director of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, and the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Personal Representative in Nepal Ian Martin will attend the meeting in London.

Finance Secretary Mallik and other senior officials in the ministry will also attend the London meeting. According to a government official, DFID holds similar meeting annually to discuss Nepal’s development agenda and donors’ priority areas. In the current transitional phase, Nepal will request donors for providing development aid in such areas which will “somehow assist the ongoing peace process”, the official said.

“We will certainly request the donors to support us in reconstruction and rehabilitation,” said an official at the Ministry of Finance, adding: “The meet will discuss Nepal’s priority areas as well as donors’ interests.”