Key Western donors rap Nepal over political stalemateBy Sudeshna Sarkar, IANS
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
KATHMANDU - Nepal’s major Western donors Tuesday rapped the country’s political parties for their inability to form a new government, even five months after the prime minister quit under Maoist pressure, saying it has a negative impact on development works, some of which have become the cash-strapped republic’s life blood.
The World Bank, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), Britain’s Department for International Development, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the embassies of Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, European Union (EU) and Switzerland said they were increasingly concerned at the slow progress in forming a new government, implementing the peace process and writing the new constitution.
Though happy that the caretaker government was able to pass the budget through ordinance, despite Maoist opposition, the donor agencies said Nepal’s leading politicians would have to focus on the long-term critical issues affecting the country’s development and economy - particularly corruption, ownership and accountability.
They also urged the parties to rectify the slow progress in filling key positions in important public offices, like the posts of Auditor General, Chief Election Commissioner, and chief of the CIAA Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, and improve the security environment.
The protracted political impasse has stalled many development projects and may negatively impact or limit future donor assistance.
The donors said a genuine commitment to the peace process and to transparency and accountability would accelerate progress. Lack of development leadership was significantly reducing their ability to secure future resources for Nepal.
Nepal’s unstable political situation has made it increasingly difficult for many donors to justify why Nepal should receive support in a world where there are many competing demands for limited development resources.
While the impact of reduced donor funding may not always be immediately apparent, the long-term consequences for Nepal’s development are substantial.