The International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) concluded in Kathmandu on June 25 pledging nearly $4.4 billion or Rs 440 billion in aid from Nepal’s donors and development partners, including the neighbouring countries, for the reconstruction and recovery efforts in the aftermath of the recent earthquake.
Of the money pledged, $2.2 billion will come as a grant, while the remaining $2.2 billion in the form of a soft loan. The funding commitment made at the ICNR covers 65.77% of the total money needed for Nepal’s reconstruction which is $6.69 billion.
In a press meet organized soon after the conference, Finance Minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat said the response from the international community had surpassed the government’s expectations. “But this is just the commitment. We still need to hold bilateral and multilateral talks with the donors about how the funds will be mobilized,” said Dr Mahat.
The event drew around 300 international participants, including ministers from 56 countries and representatives of donor agencies.
Addressing the conference, India’s Minister for External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj declared $1 billion in aid of which 25% will be in the form of a grant and the remaining amount as a soft loan. She also pointed out that previous relief programmes were dogged by issues of transparency, accountability, management and government efficiency. Her concerns were also shared by other participants of the conference.
Swaraj also pledged to provide as grants 40% of a $ 1 billion loan announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his previous visit to Nepal. “We pledge to provide Nepal $ 2 billion over the next five years,” she said.
Also, Nepal’s northern neighbour China pledged Rs 48 billion as grants for Nepal. Addressing the programme, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the Rs 28 billion grant announced by China during his last visit could also be used for the reconstruction process.
Similarly, countries like America, Japan, Switzerland, Norway, Finland, Sri Lanka, Turkey, Bangladesh, and Pakistan also declared their support in the conference.
Dr. Mahat also pointed out that the conference had more than just collecting money as its agenda. “The objective of the conference is more inclined towards the interchange of skills, technology and experience- knowledge that is required for post-disaster management,” he said.
Similarly, Foreign Minister Mahendra Bahadur Pandey said that the support receieved in the conference would also be useful for the future development process as well. “We are not alone. The entire world is supporting us,” he said. He also expressed his gratitude towards the neighbouring as well as all the supporting countries.
Vice Chairman of the National Planning Commission, Dr Govind Raj Pokhrel also said that the support pledged will not be wasted and would reach the public in need.