Friday, December 15, 2006

UN-HABITAT to grant $2.5m annually until 2010

Razen Manandhar
New Delhi, December 14[2006]:

UN-HABITAT is going to support Nepal annually with Rs 185 million ($2.5 million) till 2010 to upgrade water and sanitation sectors here.

Kishore Thapa, director general of the Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, said a Memorandum of Understanding is being signed between the UN-HABITAT and the Nepal government tomorrow during the Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlement. Minister for Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha is in New Delhi to participate in the conference that will conclude on December 16.

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation between UN-HABITAT and the government of Nepal under the Water for Asian Cities Programme for providing support in the capacity building and sanitation components of the programme. This will thus support ADB-assisted projects, including Kathmandu Valley Water Services Sector Development Programme, Melamchi Water Supply Project, Urban and Environment Improvement Project, Small Towns Water Supply and Sanitation, and Integrated Urban Development Programme.

Thapa said the government has not yet decided where the money will be spent. “I believe it will be used for the improvement of water and sanitation in general,” he added.

Housing ministers from 35 countries are here to participate in the conference and to show political commitment to enhance water and sanitation situations in their countries. The conference is being inaugurated by Indian President APJ Abdul Kalam tomorrow.

Talking to this daily, Roman Rollink, spokesperson for the UN-HABITAT, said a grant of $300 million is being allocated to the developing Asian countries so that they can develop a mechanism to fight against urban poverty.

The conference will form a regional body to facilitate the governments in regulating or managing the crisis of urban poverty. “The conference will adopt a New Delhi Declaration with recommendations and resolutions,” he said.
[KATHMANDU, DECEMBER 15, 2006, Mangsir 29, 2063 ]