World Bank provides 50 million dollars for peace process in Nepal

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Kathmandu, May 8 (UNI) Nepalese families affected by a decade of civil war stand to benefit from a 50 million dollars World Bank grant designed to support the country's efforts to consolidate the November 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord.

The Emergency Peace Support Project, approved by the World Bank, intends to help the Government of Nepal fulfill commitments made under the Comprehensive Peace Agreement and the subsequent 23 Point Agreement, WorLd Bank said in a press release here today.

As part of the peace process, the Seven Party Alliance government has authorised payments of Nepalese Rupees one lakh each to the families of the war deceased.

It has also authorised payment of Nepalese Rupees 3,000 per month to approximately 19,600 verified Maoists in cantonments, including arrears on these payments that have built up over the past ten months.

In addition, the project will also help the Government pilot reintegration initiatives. A fragile peace has been sustained over the past two years and important steps have been taken towards a "New Nepal, "including the establishment of the Seven Party Alliance in November 2005 and the recently held Constituent Assembly elections, the release said.

"There is a high degree of commitment at the political level to ensure lasting peace in Nepal, and this project is designed to contribute to this agenda," the release quoted Susan Goldmark, World Bank Country Director for Nepal as saying.

"In this pivotal moment in Nepal's history it is important to take concrete steps to consolidate the peace process and to ensure that development and service delivery are scaled up." The World Bank today also approved additional grant financing of 50 million dollars for the Nepal Health Sector Programme and 27 million dollars for the Second Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project.

The grant to the health sector program is designed to expand access to and the use of essential health care services, especially by underserved populations.

In addition the grant will support two recent initiatives: the removal of some user fees and the introduction of the Safe Delivery Incentive Programme benefiting many poor and disadvantaged women and children. The incentive program will be open to women who choose to deliver in non-state hospitals with healthcare providers receiving the incentives.

In addition, all medical colleges and reputed non-state hospitals will be contracted to provide free surgical services for uterine prolapse which will benefit rural, poor women. The original project, which was approved on September 9, 2004, has helped a rapid expansion of access to essential services.

UNI XC NC DS1303

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