UNDP supports the peace process in Nepal

08 Feb 2007

UNDP supports the peace process in Nepal Registration of weapons and combatants

Marking a new phase in the peace process, the United Nations has begun registering and storing weapons of Maoists, former combatants in Nepal, currently encamped in seven main cantonments and 21 satellite cantonments around the country.

The registration team has already completed the registration of Maoist arms and combatants in Chitwan and Nawalparasi cantonments. The registration process is ongoing in Rolpa, Surkhet and Kailali. This significant process is being supported by teams of registration experts from UNDP in Afghanistan. The experts are training Nepalese registration officers.

Each registration team consists of a team leader, registration officer and an assistant. The registration team is working alongside a team of ex-Gurkhas forming the Interim Task Force and UN monitors fielded by the Office of the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN). The monitoring and registration of arms and armies of Maoists and Nepal Army is one of the steps being taken by the UN in support of the peace accord signed in November by the Nepalese government and Maoist rebels.

Support to Constitution Building Process

Under the agreement, a new constitution will be drawn up. Recently UNDP launched an initiative to improve capacity and the readiness of key national actors and the public at large to participate in a successful constitution building process in Nepal. Already a small team has begun work, providing advice and expert technical support to decision makers, civil society and other key players. UNDP is also gearing up to assist civil society in their efforts to improve understanding about the constituent assembly process by helping to produce civic education material, hold national seminars and information workshops.

Support to Election

A mission team consisting of Linda Maguire(Electoral Advisor at the Democratic Governance Group, Bureau for Development Policy) and Antonio Spinelli (Senior Programme Officer of Electoral Processes Programme at International IDEA) were in Nepal to identify potential areas of UNDP support as part of the broader UN support coordinated by UNMIN in the electoral process.

The mission will prepare a project document for UNDP support to the Election Commission in the areas of long term capacity building of the Election Commission.

The mission held consultations with the UNMIN, Election Commission and bilateral donors. They also had discussions with all stakeholders including the European Commission(EC), Government of Nepal, key donors, some NGOs and INGOs.

Work begins on Nepal Peace Trust Fund

Over the past few weeks UNDP provided technical assistance to the government's initiative of establishing the Nepal Peace Trust Fund. The Fund will be administered by the Ministry of Finance and the money raised will be used to finance projects aimed at realizing the Peace Agreement in the following five areas:

- Management of camps and reintegration of ex-combatants
- Rehabilitation of internally displaced people
- Elections to the constituent assembly
- Strengthening of the law and order situation and police administration
- Support to the Peace Process

It is expected that with contributions from donors being channelled through a centralized financial system, better coordination of funds will result encouraging donors to invest more heavily in initiatives aimed at implementing the Peace Agreement. This means the government resources earmarked to meet protracted challenges like improving basic services and infrastructure'critical for long-term peace'can be retained as planned.

A centralizing peace fund is also expected to yield better coordination of activities and reporting on how money has been used. Already Denmark, Finland, Norway, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom have expressed their interest in contributing to the Fund.

Expected to run for three years, the Nepal Peace Trust Fund will be up and running shortly.