THT 10 years ago: 16 countries asked to provide UN observers

Kathmandu, November 29, 2006

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Office has requested 16 member states to provide military and electoral observers for the proposed UN monitoring mission in Nepal.

Of the 16, Switzerland, Japan and Norway are learnt to have expressed willingness to contribute observers for the UN mission proposed for monitoring the management of arms and armed personnel, and elections to the constituent assembly.

“Switzerland has confirmed to contribute five or six military observers for UN monitoring mission in Nepal.

They are planned to arrive here shortly, but it all depends upon the decision of the UN Security Council,” Gunther Baechler, Special Advisor for Peace Building in Nepal from the Political Division of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland told The Himalayan Times.

The Swiss military observers are expected to be the members of the “first group of UN observers” arriving to take up their job. According to Baechler, the Swiss observers have experience of working in various UN missions.

Adolf Kenrad, a Swiss military adviser to Ian Martin, the Personal Representative of the UN Secretary-General, also arrived in Kathmandu last week.

A UN “ technical assessment mission that can plan for a larger operation” is also expected in the “near future”, which would be followed by “quick advance groups of monitors” as requested by the Secretary-General to the UNSC.

“The UNSC is discussing on Nepal today in New York and Martin is scheduled to brief the council,” said a diplomatic source at the UN Headquarters in New York.

More water in pipeline for City

The government has finalized a ‘new model’ for bolstering water supply in Kathmandu Valley with loan assistance from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The model, work for which is to start from January 2007, proposes to guarantee water supply for one hour every day to all the 1,47,000 taps in the Valley by January 2009.

It further proposes to bolster the water supply to two hours everyday by January 2011.

To plan and execute the project, the Kathmandu Valley Water Ltd (KVWL) is being set up, with the participation as shareholders by municipalities of Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur (totalling 50 per cent), the government (30 per cent), civil society and business community – FNCCI and NCC (totalling 15 per cent) and a trust representing KVWL employees (for five per cent).

Of the total share capital of Rs 30 million, the cabinet meeting decided on Tuesday to invest 30 per cent, amounting to Rs nine million in the company.

The involvement of these institutions as well as the government is expected to ensure smooth water supply management and cut down leakage in the supply by 40 per cent.