Although there is a bumpy road ahead for Nepal’s political parties working to accomplish the peace and constitution drafting process, the political parties have managed to strike a five-point deal, paving the way for a three-month extension of the Constituent Assembly. The international community have ‘cautiously’ welcomed the move.
The deal was welcomed by the UN Secretary General, Ban ki- Moon. The UN leader, European Union, Norway, Switzerland and Japan have all urged Nepal’s political parties to ensure that the agreements they have reached on the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants are brought to a successful conclusion. They said that they look forward to the finalization of constitution writing.
So why have the UN and the international community have been worried about the situation of Nepal? The international community including the UN have been instrumental in contributing a large chunk of foreign assistance to Nepal after the peace process began in 2006. Following more than a decade of internal conflict in Nepal, a Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CAP) was signed on 21 November 2006. The Government of Nepal, in February 2007, established the Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF) as a mechanism for interested donors to contribute to the peace process through direct contributions to the Government. In March 2007, to complement the NPTF, the United Nations Peace Fund for Nepal (UNPFN) was created to mobilize resources to the UN system in Nepal in support of activities of clear, short-term relevance to the peace process.
In the initial days, besides the UN and its agencies, DFID, the Government of Norway, Denmark, Canada and Switzerland had put $10 million in NPTF. According to the UN, by the end of 2010, UNPFN has disbursed a total of USD 32 million through 17 projects implemented by various UN agencies.
In his statement, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said:
“The Secretary-General welcomes the agreement reached among the parties in Nepal to extend the Constituent Assembly, and the reaffirmation of their commitment to complete the basic tasks of the peace process, particularly the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoist Army personnel.
“The Secretary-General urges the parties to bring the peace process to an early and successful conclusion on the basis of a clear timetable and plan of action and looks forward to further progress in the drafting of the new constitution.
“The parties must take this opportunity afforded to them to live up to their commitments and responsibilities in the interests of peace and stability in Nepal.
“The United Nations will continue to support progress in the peace process in Nepal.”
In a separate statement, the European Union, Norway, Switzerland and Japan hailed the agreement saying that political parties in Nepal now have a fresh opportunity to complete the drafting of a democratic, inclusive constitution within the next three months.
“The European Union, Norway and Switzerland, as long-term friends of Nepal, reaffirm their full support for the peace process. The aspirations of the Nepali people can only be met if their representatives forge a consensus that will bring a new constitution, peace, stability and prosperity.”
In its statement, Japan hoped that political parties will redouble their efforts to complete the peace process and drafting of the new constitution within the revised time-frame, through constructive dialogue and mutual understanding and, thus, achieve the people´s aspiration entrusted to the Constituent Assembly three years ago.