Nordic Parliamentarians focus on Nepal's development challenges

09 Feb 2011

image Nordic Parliamentarians focus on Nepal's development challenges

Parliamentarians from Denmark and Norway were in Nepal on a five day visit to see the first-hand development challenges that the country faces as it shifts from a decade long conflict to democracy.

The five-member Nordic delegation met in Kathmandu with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and other senior officials including Finance Minister Surendra Pandey and Chairman of the Constituent Assembly Subash Nembang.

During their discussions they gained insights on the country’s progress towards peace and development and on the constitution-building process that reflects the input of a broad cross-section of Nepal’s population, including the most marginalized.

The delegation also travelled outside the capital, visiting Morang and Sunsari districts in the country’s east, and Kapilvastu in the west, to see local development and humanitarian efforts implemented by the United Nations system in Nepal.

“Nepal is very rich in natural resources and there is great hope for the country if the abundant local resources can be tapped,” said Norwegian Member of Parliament Peter N. Myhre. “The ongoing work led by the UN at grassroots and at policy levels are very impressive and need to be sustained.”

In Sunsari, delegates were able to meet owners of small businesses that were set up under a multi-donor micro-enterprise project supported by the UN Development Programme (UNDP). The enterprises have increased by six times the average income to these entrepreneurs.

Danish parliamentarian Huseyin Arac said: “I appreciate the work of UNDP at the community level. This initiative is not handing out money but giving people the opportunity to work and create a higher degree of self confidence. The active involvement of women is very impressive.”

Thousands of families uprooted in Sunsari during 2008 floods have returned home and are employed as part of a UNDP early recovery programme to help rebuild community infrastructure, for example school buildings and low-cost houses.

“Nepal is going through a difficult transition period,” said Danish parliamentarian Ellen Trane Norby after visiting the Sunsari communities. “There is political instability but the ongoing projects led by UNDP are making a visible difference in the lives of people. With political stability, the leaders of the country should complement these activities by creating more jobs and building infrastructure.”