Embassy of Japan in Nepal

Statement by the Japanese Delegation Headed by Ambassador Kaminaga
At the Nepal Development Forum May 5-6, 2004 Kathmandu

On behalf of the Government of Japan, we would like to congratulate His Majesty's Government of Nepal for its efforts in realizing Nepal Development Forum in a span of just over two years. This clearly shows the strong commitment of HMG of Nepal towards the development of this country.
  1. Overview

    Nepal has been striving towards an economic and social development. However, there still remains host of agendas to be fulfilled. The alleviation of widespread poverty is still the most important issue to be tackled by all levels of the Government.

    The present uncertainty and unstable political and security situation in the country is another burning issue to which great attention is being paid. Unless this issue is addressed and resolved urgently, the problems will pose a serious threat to the economic development of the country. We believe that the Government must take decisive steps with utmost sincerity and promptness so that it may address the problems and generate a proper environment to mitigate poverty in the exhausted regions, especially those that are most gravely affected by the insurgencies.

  2. Significance of the Forum

    In the preliminary meetings of NDF, deep concerns on various issues were raised, for instance, (i) the effort undertaken by the Government to address the problems in insurgency affected areas is insufficient, (ii) development activities cannot be promoted further unless the dispute regarding the conflict is resolved, (iii) difficulties in securing the right of access to public services are increasing in economically marginalized region, (iv) how the Government can guarantee the effective implementation of development projects in the countryside, (v) in view of the governance, the Government itself only has a hold in specified areas, and (vi) as poverty is increasing, the disparity between the rich and the poor is becoming greater. We strongly hope that HMG of Nepal will seriously tackle the issues of poverty alleviation as were commented in the preliminary meetings.

    We recognize that the sincere efforts have been made by the HMG of Nepal to work on the reform agenda, as well as, PRSP, MTEF and the Foreign Aid Policy under such adverse circumstances. We also expect that those programs will be translated into real actions in steadfast manner. For this purpose, the overall development projects need to be prioritized clearly from a medium and longer term view point and the program approach be strengthened in every sector as there is a severe financial constraint incurred in connection with security issues. In this context, I would like to emphasize that HMG of Nepal should formulate a specific and ambitious strategic program with a medium and long term perspective targeting the whole country in every sector. Only with this specific foresight, will it be possible for the Government to coordinate with donors in prioritizing projects and share the decisions which area to cover by each.]

  3. Japanese Aid Policy

    My Government, as a close development partner of Nepal, will continue to support the development efforts of Nepal wherever possible, trusting in strong ownership and leadership of HMG of Nepal. In relation to our commitment to support Nepal, it seems to be worth mentioning the Japanese ODA Charter that our government revised in August last year.

    The prime objective of the Japanese ODA is to contribute to the peace and development of the international community. Asia is a priority region for Japan. Considering the basic tenet of the Japanese ODA Charter, Japan will assist Nepal in view of poverty alleviation, elevating of industries, improvement if infrastructures, development of human resources, and peace-building initiatives. In implementing ODA, Japan will pay full attention to the situation regarding the protection of basic human rights and freedoms in Nepal.

    We would like to introduce a basic aid policy of Japan. The current priority sectors of Japan's ODA for this country essentially correspond to the priority areas identified in PRSP, viz. 1. improvement of social sector, 2. agricultural development, 3. development of economic infrastructure, 4. human resources development, and 5. environmental conservation. In addition, Japan also attaches importance to areas of establishment of peace, good governance and tourism where development assistance is required.

    The economic cooperation of my Government is oriented by the policy attaching importance to Nepal's economic growth while eliminating poverty. In line with PRSP, Japan will cooperate in improving the welfare of the poor with due consideration to disadvantaged and weaker sections, including women sector development, through enhancement of their empowerment in the most backward districts or regions of the country, by promoting agricultural development and improving social sector, depending on the security situation in those places.

    For poverty alleviation of this country, economic growth is indispensable. Since proper development of infrastructure is the base of economic growth, key priority must be given to infrastructure development and be actively promoted. Therefore, along with grants and technical assistance, providing loan assistance will also be considered in the development of basic infrastructure, while due attention will also be paid to the debt burden capacity of the country, and simultaneously, we will strengthen our support in industrial development, promoting the promising fields like tourism and IT.

    The Japanese assistance to this country is extended in accordance with the basic principles like:
    1. Facilitating self-help efforts of HMG of Nepal through grant and technical assistance;
    2. Considering loan aid in support of large-scale economic infrastructure;
    3. Utilizing "The Human Security Trust Fund" for restoration and peace building in conflict affected areas;
    4. Utilizing "Grant Assistance for Grassroots Human Security Projects" for the need of support at grassroots level.

    My Government will continue to provide ODA to Nepal in a positive manner, therefore we request HMG of Nepal to submit concert project proposals based on the medium and longer term plan of the country in a timely manner so that those proposals will fit in our single financial year procedure. Besides, there is a serious concern about the security situation in the country and it is absolutely necessary that ODA personal, including Japanese aid workers, are able to work without any hindrance or concern for their safety. Accordingly, we request HMG of Nepal to take all necessary measures to protect them.

    For effective implementation of development assistance to HMG of Nepal, it is essential to stress the importance of sharing information and strengthening coordination among the donor community. Japan will further align its country assistance programs with PRSP and sector strategies. However, we believe that, as articulated in Rome Declaration on Harmonization and the Nepal Foreign Aid Policy 2002, harmonization work must ensure the diversity of aid modalities, and simultaneously, take a flexible and practical approach.

  4. Concluding Remarks

    We believe that the spirit of overcoming difficulties with self-reliant efforts is the most fundamental driving force for development programs. Furthermore, reinstatement of peace is prerequisite for development activities. We urge that HMG of Nepal to put every effort in resolving the prevailing conflict through dialogue with all the concerned circles. We will continue to support the efforts of HMG of Nepal on the two-track approach in tackling the two key issues simultaneously - the restoration of peace and the poverty elimination. When peace process starts again and certain progress is achieved, Japan will consider implement necessary assistance, including rehabilitation of social and economic infrastructure in the conflict affected areas, depending on the security situation on those places.

    Finally, we would like to emphasize that it is impossible to uplift the living standards of the people of the nation without promoting industries. Therefore, we would like to encourage HMG of Nepal, under its ownership and leadership, to formulate an industry policy based on medium and long-term program in each sector by correctly reflecting the private sector's needs and wishes.

>> Country Statement on NDF 2002

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