Launch of the newly approved Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction Projects in Nepal

Opening remarks by Barry J. Hitchcock, ADB Country Director, Kathmandu, Nepal

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Our friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

On behalf of the Asian Development Bank I am pleased to welcome you to this event.

We have put together this program to mark the launch of three key projects supported by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction or JFPR, and that will be implemented by ADB in partnership with JFPR and the Government of Nepal.

As many of you may know, the Government of Japan established the JFPR at the Asian Development Bank in June 2000 to strengthen Japan's partnership with ADB in the fight against poverty. In the more than one decade since its inception, JFPR has amply proven itself as an important development initiative, providing vital assistance for projects to improve the lives of the poorest and vulnerable groups across the region. JFPR-supported projects have also been instrumental in building up local capacities and raising empowerment level of poor and disadvantaged groups. Generating important development lessons for ADB and its partners, the experience gained from working on JFPR-assisted projects contribute to the inventory of knowledge and insights in our joint mission to help reduce poverty in the region.

In the context of Nepal, JFPR has helped ADB and the Government of Nepal pilot new development ideas that have proved to be innovative and effective, helped strengthen local capacities, and fostered a multistakeholder partnership approach towards achieving sustainable development results.

From 2001 to August 2011, the Government of Nepal has been the beneficiary of ten JFPR projects worth more than $17.05 million in the agriculture, governance, and social sectors. At present JFPR is supporting the Government of Nepal in its efforts to reduce anemia and other illnesses linked to vitamin and mineral deficiencies in children; increase the number of Nepalese with legal identity documents especially among the poor and vulnerable groups; and help the Nepal Police establish and an improved system for treatment of victims of crimes against women and children in police operations in five districts of Nepal.

Today, I am very happy to announce the launch of three new JFPR projects in Nepal. These are:

  • Reducing Child Malnutrition through Social Protection which will help Nepal improve planning and delivery of its social protection programs, with a key goal of promoting more efficiency in the delivery of the recently introduced child grant, which is intended to contribute to reducing the country's stubbornly high levels of child malnutrition.
  • Support for Targeted and Sustainable Development Program for Highly Marginalized Groups which will provide assistance to develop new livelihood opportunities and improve income in some of Nepal's poorest and most disadvantaged communities.
  • Improving Gender-Inclusive Access to Clean and Renewable Energy which will promote greater access to clean energy for poor rural women in Nepal as well as Bhutan and Sri Lanka.

ADB is very pleased to work with the Governments of Nepal and Japan on these projects which are targeted at benefiting the most vulnerable and often excluded groups in Nepali society - women, children and the extreme poor. These important projects once again underscore JFPR and ADB's common mission to assist the Government of Nepal with its efforts to combat poverty and promote inclusive and sustainable growth.

I would like to thank our government counterparts, especially the project directors and managers of all JFPR projects for their continuing contributions and support. Please allow me to thank UNICEF Nepal as well here, as they will be implementing two key components of the JFPR project on social protection. I am sure the project will greatly benefit from the vast experience that UNICEF has in matters concerning children and their nutrition.

I would also like to thank the Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Secretary, Ministry of Local Development, and His Excellency Ambassador Japan to Nepal for joining us today at the launch of the new JFPR projects.

Last but not least, I wish to acknowledge the presence and support of our friends from the media. I know we can count on your continued support to report and highlight the benefits of the JFPR projects as they are rolled out in the days ahead.

I thank you all for your attendance and support.