Tuesday, October 3, 2017

EU releases €800 000 to support victims of floods in Nepal

The European Union (EU) is providing €800 000 (Rs 98.5 million) in emergency relief funding to assist the most affected populations, in response to the widespread floods that have swept across large parts of Nepal in recent weeks. This allocation is part of a larger regional allocation of €2 million in response to floods in South Asia.
"The countries in South Asia are facing some of their worst floods in decades, which are resulting in a large-scale humanitarian situation affecting millions. It is especially in these hard times that EU solidarity makes a difference: our support will reach those most in need and help them recover from the devastating losses they have suffered," saidCommissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.
EU support will provide life-saving assistance, prioritising shelter, food assistance, water and sanitation, health and protection to those affected by the floods, while restoring the safety and dignity of the most vulnerable populations. The funding will be channelled through the European Commission’s European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO).
Nepal is witnessing its worst flooding in 15 years, which is affecting almost two million people. Some 160 people lost their lives, 20 900 families are still temporarily displaced and at least 235 000houses have been damaged or completely destroyed. Because of the massive loss of livestock, people are now dependent on food distributions; however, so far these have not been sufficient to meet the basic needs of the most vulnerable population.
Since 2001, the European Union has invested over €24 million to fund Disaster Risk Reduction and preparedness programmes in Nepal, supporting - among others - initiatives such as the building of flood-resistant infrastructures and the reinforcement of Early Warning Systems.

Monday, October 2, 2017

2019 DV Programme opens

The application period for the 2019 Diversity Visa (DV) programme opens on October 3 (9:45 pm nepal time) and closes on November 7 (10:45 pm Nepal time).
The American Embassy in Kathmandu has said that there is no fee to enter the DV lottery.
Likewise, the Embassy has also recommended against using a consultant to assist with application. "One can consider using a family member, friend or other trusted person, if one need assistance," it said, adding that no matter, who provides assistance, one is solely responsible for one's own application.
One has to apply online as entries for the 2019 Diversity Visa lottery must use the electronic Diversity Visa entry form (E-DV) during the registration period.
"When registering, one must list one's spouse and all of unmarried children under the age of 21 at the time of application," it said, suggesting that submissions without the inclusion of family members will make entry invalid. "A person can submit one application only."
Likewise, one has to submit a recent photo and the entries submitted with the same photo from the last DV year will be disqualified.
After submitting, the DV form, one has to print and save confirmation number as this number is the only way to check status on or after May 1, 2018 to check the result.
The Embassy has also reminded that even one is selected as a DV winner, it does not guarantee that one will receive a visa.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

World Bank to continue support for technical education and vocational training

The World Bank has approved a $ 60 million credit to support a second phase of the Enhanced Vocational Education and Training Project in Nepal (EVENT II).
EVENT II is designed to help the country improve equitable access to market relevant training programs and to strengthen the delivery of Technical Education and Vocational Training (TEVT), according to a press release issued by the multilateral development partner.
In Nepal, TVET is an important intermediary between youth and the labour market through the provision of pre-employment skills. Between 450,000 and 500,000 Nepali youth come of working age every year, most of whom will enter either the domestic or the foreign labor market with limited education and skills.
On the other hand, the annual intake capacity in short-term and long-term TVET programmes in the country was between 100,000 and 120,000 in 2016. While TVET has grown in size over time with formal and informal providers across a variety of government and non-government entities, it continues to face the challenges of quality training for domestic and foreign labour markets, inclusion and cohesion.
“Skill development of the workforce through investment in human capital including technical and vocational education and training are critical for the successful implementation of the country’s emerging jobs agenda,” said the World Bank’s country manager for Nepal Takuya Kamata.
EVENT II is designed to support the TVET sector in Nepal at different levels, the system, the institution, and the individual. Activities include upgrading the quality of TVET facilities, supporting key human resources that are critical for the quality of service delivery, improving access for disadvantaged groups, supporting missing links between training and placement to help youth find work, improving the availability of information linking skills supply and demand, and improving governance through performance-based funding of training providers.
The project will also support migrants through training and skill testing and certification.
“While there is substantial underemployment and informal employment dominates, an increased focus on skills and employability will help Nepal benefit from its potential youth dividend,” said senior economist and the Bank’s Task Team Leader for the project Sangeeta Goyal.

Friday, September 29, 2017

ADB, KfW scale up cofinancing partnership with additional $2 billion

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the German development bank KfW today agreed to scale up their existing cofinancing partnership with an additional $2 billion over the next 3 years until 2020 to continue promoting development in the Asia and Pacific region.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cofinancing was signed by ADB vice president for Private Sector and Cofinancing Operations Diwakar Gupta and a member of KfW’s Management Committee for Europe and Asia Roland Siller, at a ceremony held at the ADB headquarters in Manila.
"The agreement today is a testament of our growing partnership with KfW and proof that development work should be a collaborative process if it is to be impactful," Gupta said, adding that the bank is optimistic that the additional $2 billion in cofinancing from KfW will help promote sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific and bring us closer to the goal of a region free of poverty.
The new agreement will build on the successful cofinancing partnership that ADB and KfW launched in 2014 for the same amount. The initial partnership (2014-2017) yielded 9 cofinanced projects focused on energy, public management, finance, education and technical and vocational education and training, and the environment in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), India, Indonesia, and Viet Nam. The $2 billion provided by KfW for these projects was complemented with $3.7 billion from ADB.
Germany is the second largest bilateral cofinancier of ADB projects after Japan. The additional cofinancing from KfW will help ADB address the region’s vast infrastructure needs, estimated at $1.7 trillion annually until 2030 including climate adaptation and mitigation costs.
The new MoU will allow the two institutions to expand cofinancing operations from five countries covered by the previous agreement to 11, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, the PRC, India, Indonesia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Viet Nam. It will also cover new areas such as health and financial inclusion. Increasing financial resources and making greater use of high-level technology and innovative approaches are the two pillars of this partnership.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members, 48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Role of trade key in achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Trade will play a key role in achieving the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and both governments and the private sector need to be more active in ensuring trade’s full potential in contributing to these goals, speakers at the WTO’s annual Public Forum said.
The SDGs were the focus of discussion during a number of sessions at the three-day Public Forum from September 26 to 28, the WTO’s flagship outreach event. The Forum provided a unique platform for senior officials, leading global businesspeople, academics and civil society representatives to come together and discuss some of the major trade and development issues of the day.
The SDGs put significant emphasis on the role that trade can play in promoting sustainable development. There are direct references to WTO activities in many of the SDGs, ranging from ensuring food security and sustainable agriculture to conserving marine resources and promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth.
Agriculture's role in meeting the SDGs was the centre of discussion at a Public Forum session on September 27 organised by the Geneva Office of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). Speakers noted that several of the SDGs directly relate to agriculture and that modernising agricultural production will be key to achieving this. WTO members have already agreed to eliminate export subsidies for agriculture, one of the SDG targets, at their 2015 Nairobi Ministerial Conference.
Director of the FAO's UN Liaison Office in Geneva Carolyn Rodrigues Birkett said that agriculture is changing in 'unprecedented ways', with growing demand for reliable and consistent food products and corresponding attention paid to sustainable development issues related to this production.
However, greater partnering between governments, international institutions, the private sector and civil society is needed to deliver further results that contribute to effectively achieving the SDGs.

Nepal Airlines to take delivery of last two expected Y12s

Nepal Airlines is shortly taking delivery of its two final Y12E aircraft after securing qualified flight crews. Nepal Airlines has secured three senior pilots, seven co-pilots and an instructor pilot for the Chinese aircraft. A technical team will shortly be dispatched to China to inspect the aircraft ahead of their arrival in Nepal, according ot the national flag carrier.
The NAC had signed an agreement with AVIC International Leasing in 2013 which saw the Chinese firm donate one MA-60 and one Y12E on condition that the carrier take three more Y12Es and one more MA-60 using a Rs 3.72 billion ($35.4 million) soft loan from China's Exim Bank. Nepal Airlines has slowly taken delivery of the promised aircraft, but has complained of their unsuitability for Himalayan terrain.
This June, Nepal delayed delivery of the two remaining Y12Es as it only had one qualified pilot for the type. Once the aircraft are received, they will be deployed along domestic routes which had previously been suspended due to a lack of aircraft.
"Demand for air seats in the domestic sector has grown several-fold due to the poor state of national highways," Nepal Airlines' managing director Sugat Ratna Kansakar said, adding that keeping the planes parked in China is a bad idea. 

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Nepal, Oman establish bilateral consultation mechanism

Nepal and the Sultanate of Oman have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing a bilateral consultation mechanism.
The MoU was signed at Muscat on the occasion of the official visit of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba to the Gulf country. Nepal's ambassador to Oman Sharmila Parajuli Dhakal and head of West Asia Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Oman Hilah Marhoon al-Mammari signed the MoU on behalf of their respective governments today. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara witnessed the signing ceremony.
As Nepal and the Sultanate of Oman have been celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral relations this year, the conclusion of the MoU reflects the determination of the two governments to enhance and activate different fields of co-operation, particularly on economic, cultural, technological, scientific and educational relations, a press note from the Embassy of Nepal in Muscat reads.
The MoU provides that bilateral meetings will be organised on annual basis or as deemed necessary, alternately in Muscat and in Kathmandu. The MoU comes into force from the date of its signature for a period of five years and is automatically renewable for similar periods.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Deuba and members of his delegation returned to Kathmandu yesterday upon successfully completing the 3-day official visit to the Sultanate of Oman.