THT 10 YEARS AGO: Nepal’s life expectancy at birth one of the lowest, says report

Lalitpur, December 14, 2005

Nepal’s life expectancy at birth stood at 62 in 2004, 63 per cent in South Asia and 67 per cent in the world. During 1998-2004, 21 per cent infants born in Nepal were underweight, 31 per cent in South Asia and 16 per cent in other parts of the world. According to the report, between 2000 and 2004, 65 per cent of primary school entrants reached grade five in Nepal, 61 per cent in South Asia and 79 per cent in the world. Birth registration, child marriage and child labour in 1999-2004 in Nepal stood at 34, 56 and 31 per cent respectively. It would be difficult to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) if the governments could not focus on excluded and invisible children, the latest report on the ‘State of the World’s Children 2006’, which was released worldwide today, states. The report focuses on children deprived of the benefits of education, health facilities, discriminated against on the basis of gender ethnicity and disability, children caught up in the armed conflict and affected by HIV/AIDS. Dr Suomi Sakai, the UNICEF representative to Nepal, said: “The report highlights the lives of children, who have remained hidden or neglected due to various factors.” Only deeper approaches to child development, with special attention given to the most vulnerable commitments to children and ensure that the MDGs benefit the poorest, the report says.

B’desh envoy lauds ‘achievements’ of 13th SAARC summit

Kathmandu, December 14, 2005

Ambassador of Bangladesh to Nepal, Humayun Kabir, said today that the 13th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has been a turning point in many aspects for regional development. “The 13th summit has been a turning point in a number of ways as it was the first summit of third decade of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, and the regional leaders agreed to expand the regional grouping by including Afghanistan as a new member, and China and Japan as observers,” said the ambassador in a press conference organised at the Bangladeshi embassy today. Modalities will be worked out to further strengthen and reform SAARC institutions, including the SAARC Secretariat, he said. Pointing at South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) treaty, which will take effect from next January, he said: “SAFTA is being implemented on the scheduled time, and it is the indication of SAARC moving forward.” “Once implemented, the SAFTA will give a new dimension to the development of SAARC countries,” Kabir said, adding that the 13th Summit had been a success also in creating a funding mechanism in order to introduce common projects within the region.