US announces nearly $60 million to strengthen democratic institutions and civil society in Nepal

Published On: February 8, 2023 08:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Feb 8: The US government has announced to provide nearly $60 million to advance democratic progress in Nepal. $40.2 million of the support announced by the visiting USAID Administrator Samantha Power is a part of the $659 million development objective agreement announced in 2022 for the next five years. 

Addressing the event on Deepening US-Nepal Democratic Partnership organized at Patan Durbar Square on Tuesday evening,  Administrator Power said that the amount will be utilized to strengthen inclusive democracy, supporting civil society and media and bolstering local elections, rule of law and countering human trafficking in Nepal.

The investments announced on Tuesday include up to $20 million to strengthen inclusive democracy and prosperity in Nepal by supporting provincial and local governments to deliver public services in a more fiscally transparent and accountable manner.

According to Administrator Power, the new support package also includes up to $18.5 million to support independent civil society organizations and media led by and for women, youth, and marginalized communities to advance community needs, fundamental freedoms, and accountability. 

"USAID will work with these civil society organizations as they build their skills, credibility, and techniques for engaging with the government and public effectively. USAID will also partner with the media to support efforts to improve public access to credible information and more diverse narratives that will enhance social trust in the media," states a press note issued by the US Embassy in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

According to Administrator Power, part of the announced fund will be utilized to support local Nepali organizations and government institutions to strengthen rule of law, further support free and fair elections, and counter human trafficking through the USAID.

Following transparent and peaceful elections in 2022, Nepal has an opportunity to strengthen federalism, advance the inclusion of women and marginalized communities, empower its young people, and demonstrate that democracy can deliver for its citizens. The United States will be a partner in this effort.

"USAID’s investments will help Nepal cement its democratic gains and usher in greater prosperity and resilience for the Nepali people by strengthening public financial management, independent civil society and media, democratic processes and institutions, rule of law, and private sector development. USAID will also continue to help Nepal combat human trafficking," states the press release. 

USAID Administrator Power arrived in Kathmandu on a two-day visit to Nepal. Earlier on Tuesday, she visited Adarsha Secondary School in Bhaktapur to see the progress made in the reconstruction works carried out with the support of the USAID. She also paid a courtesy call on Foreign Minister Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal.

Administrator Power is scheduled to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other leaders on Wednesday before wrapping up her visit to Nepal.

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