28 December 2007 Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon declared today that Nepal is eligible to receive assistance from the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund, set up a year ago to help countries emerging from conflict consolidate their gains and avoid slipping back into war.
Mr. Ban has instructed his Special Representative and the UN Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) to ensure that financing from the Fund is targeted to priority peace process needs that have already been identified by the UN after consultations with the Government and all parties to the peace process, along with donors and other key stakeholders.
Assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund will be channelled through an existing funding mechanism – the UN Peace Fund for Nepal, which is governed by an Executive Committee consisting of the Special Representative, the UN Resident Coordinator and representatives from the Government and donor community.
Carolyn McAskie, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support, said Nepal was declared eligible for assistance from the Peacebuilding Fund “because there is pressing need to consolidate the country’s peaceful gains and ensure key areas in the peace process are supported.”
An estimated 13,000 people were killed – and 100,000 to 200,000 displaced – during the decade-long civil conflict in Nepal that formally ended when the Government and Maoists signed a peace accord last year.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees ( UNHCR) and other agencies are helping tens of thousands of the displaced who have returned to their homes to rebuild their lives since the end of the conflict. Among the challenges faced by returnees are land seizure and finding sustainable livelihood.
Launched last year, the Fund is intended to “kick-start” critical peacebuilding interventions. Long-term funding must still come from multilateral and bilateral supporters. The Fund has an initial funding target of $250 million and so far has collected deposits worth more than $148 million from 42 donors.
To date, it has approved grants of $43 million for 21 projects in Burundi and Sierra Leone, the first two countries under formal consideration by the related UN Peacebuilding Commission.
The Fund has also funded several emergency projects in Africa which have supported critical peacebuilding initiatives such as the dialogue between Côte d’Ivoire’s opposing political forces and the mediation efforts in the troubled Central African Republic (CAR).
Earlier this month, the Fund agreed to provide Liberia with $15 million over the next two years to fund projects in the West African nation.