DAY ONE – December 8, 2021
President Bidhya Devi Bhandari inaugurated the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR 2021) amidst a special function in Kathmandu on December 8, 2021.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) organized ICNR 2021 to share achievements, experiences and learning of the past six years of reconstruction and recovery works carried out after the devastating earthquake on April 25, 2015.
In her inaugural address, President Bhandari said that the international community’s support has turned as the milestone in carrying out the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation in Nepal. She also expressed satisfaction over the international support being materialized as committed.
“I think the experience and learning we have gained through the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation will not only be useful for the international community but will also be exemplary for future generation,” President Bhandari said, adding, “I believe that the documents being prepared with the involvement of the all the stakeholders will be useful knowledge source for those who work in disaster risk reduction and management sector.”
At the inaugural program, Finance Minister Janardan Sharma expressed gratitude to all the national and international agencies who have directly and indirectly contributed in the post-earthquake reconstruction and said that the reconstruction has improved decision-making capacity, has introduced new technology and developed skilled human resources.
Saying that the high level political understanding and assistance of friendly countries are crucial in disaster management and reconstruction, Minister Sharma assured that necessary arrangements have been made to ensure the time completion of remaining reconstruction works.
Chairing the inaugural session, Foreign Minister Dr. Narayan Khadka said that the contributions made by donors and development partners have increased the confidence in taking forward the reconstruction and played an important role in supporting Nepal in realizing the goal of building a disaster-resilient society.
Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali said the post-earthquake reconstruction has reached to a completion stage with the support from all the stakeholders, including the development partners. He said that strong will of political leadership, understanding of all the stakeholders, powerful independent authority, community mobilization and policy of including all should be a focus in future disaster management and reconstruction works.
Foreign Minister of India S. Jaishankar, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Minister of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom Lord Ahmad and Parliamentary Minister of State of Foreign Affairs of Japan Honda Taro sent a video message to the ICNR which were played at the inauguration.
Others sending recorded messages were Neil Buhne, Regional Director, Asia Pacific of the United Nations Development Coordination Office, Vice Chairperson of the Asian Development Bank Shixin Chen, Commissioner for Crisis Management of the European Union Janez Lenarcic, Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation Patricia Danzi and Amanda Strohan, Charge de’Affairs of the Canadian Embassy in India.
US ambassador to Nepal Randy W Barry, Faris Hadad-Zervos, the World Bank’s Country Director for Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka and South Asia Regional Director of the UNICEF Laryea Adjei were on hand to address the inauguration ceremony.
Norwegian ambassador to Nepal Torun Dramdal read out a message from Minister of International Development of Norway Anne Beathe Tvinnereim at the function.
Indian ambassador Vinay Mohan Kwatra, Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi and Swiss ambassador Elizabeth von Capeller were presented at the function in which NRA Secretary Sushil Chandra Tiwari delivered a welcome address.
After the inaugural session, 10 different thematic sessions were held where the NRA officials, experts and concerned stakeholders discussed various aspects of post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation of last six years.
DAY TWO – December 9, 2021
The International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction (ICNR) concluded in Kathmandu on December 9 with a declaration in the presence of Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
The National Reconstruction Authority (NRA) organized the ICNR to share its achievements, experience and learning from the post-earthquake reconstruction and rehabilitation with the national and international communities.
Addressing the closing session, Prime Minister Deuba expressed gratitude to all friendly countries, international agencies and community for their contribution in the rescue and relief works soon after the April 2015 earthquake and the post-earthquake reconstruction.
Saying that the post-earthquake reconstruction has contributed to the national economy, PM Deuba said that Nepal successfully managed to turn destruction into an opportunity with the confidence of building back better.
“Six years after the devastating earthquake, the reconstruction and rehabilitation works have reached a completion stage,” he said, adding, “We have gained knowledge on disaster risk adaptation and resilience at the cost of the devastating earthquake.”
Former Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the opposition CPN (UML) Bishnu Poudel thanked the NRA for taking the reconstruction to a completion stage and said that the international community’s support was crucial in realizing this objective. He said that the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority (NDRRMA) needs to be independent and given full power to develop Nepal as a disaster-resilient country.
Chief Executive Officer of the NRA Sushil Gyewali informed that the participants of the conference exchanged many positive practices and shared experience and learning of the reconstruction and rehabilitation. He expressed confidence that these learning will not only be useful for the future generation but will be an example in the international stage.
The declaration has stressed on the need to build the capacity of local governments in planning, technical and managerial capabilities and provide clear mandate, structure, rights and autonomy to the NDRRMA to meet the goal of building a disaster-resilient Nepal.
Chair of Municipal Association of Nepal Ashok Kumar Byanju said that the local governments played important role in the reconstruction and stressed on building capacity of the local bodies in disaster risk reduction and management.
Chinese ambassador Hou Yanqi, First Secretary of Indian Embassy Karun Banshal, Nepal Director of the Asian Development Bank Arnaud Cauchois, Nepal Mission Director of the United States Agency for International Development Sepideh Keyvanshad, Chief Representative of Japan International Cooperation Agency Yumiko Asakuma and Director of the Indo-Pacific of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office of the UK Ben Miller spoke at the closing session expressing their satisfaction on Nepal’s achievements on reconstruction.
Vice President of the World Bank for South Asia Hartwig Schafer and Kanni Wignaraja, Director of the Regional Bureau for Asia and the Pacific of the United Nations Development Program sent recorded video messages expressing their willingness to support in disaster risk reduction and management sector in Nepal in coming days.
Ten different sessions on various thematic issues were held before the conclusion of the conference.