Donors not to allow use of aid for violence, political gains
KATHMANDU, Nov 23: Two days after government´s announcement for fresh elections of Constituent Assembly (CA), which is expected to further deepen political and social polarization, 13 development partners have reiterated they would not allow civil society organizations receiving their aid to use the assistance to spur violence or secure political gains.
“We are committed to the Basic Operating Guidelines (BOG), which among other things, commit for impartiality of our aid and promise no support to activities that lead to violence. We will strictly adhere to it,” said Thomas Gass, ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal and co-chair of the 13 BOG signatories, interacting with journalists.
His statement came at a time when many believe the fresh elections of the CA would lead to further split in the ethnic and other communities. Some even throw allegation that donors have been flaring up this divide.
“Elections times are bad times for BOG, for opinions of the civil society can polarize. But we will make sure no one uses our aid for triggering violence or securing political gains,” said Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, another Co-Chair of the 13 BOG group.
Piper also denied donors were flaring polarization.
“Our assistance focuses on reducing poverty. We support marginalized and underprivileged communities because we aim to tackle discrimination and social exclusion, the main cause of poverty. But if some groups receiving our aid cross the line and act like a political group, we cannot be held responsible. Rather, we ourselves stop providing assistance to them, because we do not support political groups,” said Piper.
The BOG signatories include bilateral and multilateral donors like the European Commission, Department for International Development (DfID), Danish International Development Assistance (Danida), Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and United Nations and Association of International NGOs in Nepal, among others.
Together they provide US$ 1 billion in aid to Nepal every year and work closely with the marginalized and underprivileged communities.
Both Piper and Dass agreed that all the aid coming in Nepal should follow the government´s priority. “I even agree with the Nepali officials when they say all the aid should be spent through government channel, though practically speaking, it might be a difficult thing to attain,” said Piper.
Of the total aid pledged by the 13 BOG signatories, Piper said some 60-70 percent is spent through the government channel and is reflected in the government´s Red Book.