KATHMANDU, NEPAL —  The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved an immediate $200 million assistance to help Nepal “build back better” after the devastating April 25 earthquake, ADB President Takehiko Nakao told the International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction 2015 today. He said ADB is ready to provide up to $400 million in further assistance, which would bring total assistance to $600 million.

“Just yesterday, ADB’s Board approved $200 million in earthquake emergency assistance, to rebuild and restore schools, roads, and public buildings,” Mr. Nakao said. “I truly believe that Nepal will emerge stronger from this catastrophe and continue along the path of inclusive and sustainable growth.”

In addition to the $200 million emergency assistance, a further $50 million is being provided. This includes a $3 million disaster relief grant, $30 million in budget support for rural finance, and a $15 million grant from the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction. For the subsequent phase of reconstruction, ADB can also allocate up to $350 million from its existing projects without affecting ongoing and planned development programs.

Speaking in the inaugural session of the conference, Mr. Nakao commended the “self-help spirit and solidarity” shown by the people of Nepal. He praised the Government of Nepal for its “strong leadership” in conducting post-disaster needs assessments with development partners, and planning reconstruction efforts.

Mr. Nakao highlighted five principles for effective reconstruction. The first is “building back better.” Following this principle, buildings will be rebuilt to earthquake-resistant standards. The second principle is inclusiveness: Special attention should be paid to the needs of the poor, rural residents, and other vulnerable social groups, who have suffered more from the earthquakes.

Third is the need for a robust institutional set up for reconstruction. Strong leadership is critical for the success of the new agency for reconstruction. Fourth, Mr. Nakao highlighted the importance of improved capacity of the government. A sound governance and fiduciary risk management system should be in place. Lastly, effective donor coordination and government ownership is critical to successful reconstruction.

Mr. Nakao stressed that reconstruction needs should not derail Nepal’s broader development endeavors. “Hard won gains made before the earthquake in poverty reduction, private sector-based growth, and political stability should not be compromised by the tragedy. Reconstruction should go hand in hand with development programs already planned,” he said.

The one-day conference, organized by the Government of Nepal, has assembled ministers and senior officials from donor countries and international agencies. Delegates from civil society organizations, the private sector, and local and international media are also attending. Participants are deliberating on Nepal’s reconstruction plans and donors are pledging technical and financial support to implement the plans. 

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

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