On April 25, 2015, a devastating earthquake of magnitude 7.8 rocked the central region of Nepal claiming over 8000 lives and loss of property that preliminary estimates measure in billions. Following this huge loss, Government of Nepal has been posed with one of its biggest disaster related challenges in recent history. However, April 25, 2015 can mark a new dawn for Nepal if the country is able to mobilize the energy and enthusiasm of the voluntary groups, civil society and community based organizations that came forward in helping in the rescue and relief efforts (during the initial days) and on reconstruction efforts after the disaster. The fabric of Nepali society, that of cooperation, tolerance, helping one another in times of need, all have been showcased in these voluntary efforts post disaster. Young people (especially those that were previously tagged as apathetic) were on the ground helping in any way they possibly could. This new energy of young people and the initiatives of civil society mark a new beginning for Nepali society and politics.
While the Government of Nepal was working on Post Disaster Needs Assessment, a preliminary draft of which was submitted to the Prime Minister yesterday, Nepal Leaders’ Circle was bringing together civil society, political and community actors who were already working on the ground to discuss ground realities of Nepal and put forward ideas that may work in their localized context. Nepal Leaders Circle, is an informal group of reform minded politicians who have been deliberating on pragmatic policy reform in Nepal for the past three years. Samriddhi The Prosperity Foundation and Niti Foundation were knowledge partners documenting ideas from several actors and ensuring that the market of ideas was vibrant and stimulating.
The 2-day conference was held on June 11 and 12, 2015 at Nepal Administrative Staff College, Lalitpur. The conference brought together actors of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), community based organizations (CBOs), private sector and political community that were already working on the ground in relief and reconstruction efforts. These groups came to this platform and shared their respective ideas rebuilding Nepal after the earthquake in a way that is responsive to community and people’s demand.
The conference dealt with two primary themes: Institutional mechanisms for disaster preparedness and management and Reviving the Economy, financing reconstruction and promoting growth. Some of the highlights of the conference were:
11 sessions, 63 speakers in the panel of experts on related topics, and a participation of over 800 individuals and over 100 organizations’ participation in the course of 2 days under the two themes
A first of its kind event in recent history of reform minded political and business leaders coming together to hear ideas from civil society and youth and advocate for sound ideas of rebuilding
9 prominent organizations partnering to run the event (Association of Youth Organizations Nepal, Confederation of Nepalese Industries, Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Federation of Women Entrepreneurs of Nepal, Nepal Bankers’ Association, Nepal Economic Association, Retailers’ Association Nepal)
Hon. Gagan Thapa who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Agriculture and Energy and Hon. Rabindra Adhikari who chairs the Parliamentary Committee on Development committed to take the outcomes of the conference in the deliberation in their respective committees
Each session saw experts in their own fields who presented and discussed on ideas for effective rebuilding and reconstruction of the country post-disaster. The knowledge partners, Samriddhi The Prosperity Foundation and Niti Foundation are soon to come up with full reports of the deliberations as presented in the conference to hand over to authorities and accountable agencies.
Here is a detailed list of issues discussed in the event.
Day 1 of the conference was dedicated to the theme ‘Institutional mechanisms for disaster preparedness and management’. Some sub-themes under this theme were:
- Disaster Response planning and execution (Standard Operating Procedures)
- Disaster rescue operations (Increasing institutional capacity)
- Post disaster reconstruction
- Managing public services (Health, education, government services)
- Managing public infrastructure (road, airport, electricity, drinking water, communications)
- Inter-institutional coordination, data management and media.
Day 2 of the conference was dedicated to the theme ‘Reviving the Economy, financing reconstruction and promoting growth’. Some sub-themes under this theme were:
- Financing reconstruction and rehabilitation (fiscal and monetary policy)
- Economic Revival: Agriculture
- Economic Revival: Trade, and MSMEs
- Economic Revival: Tourism
- Immediate economic reforms to increase private investment
Hosting Team (Nepal Leaders’ Circle):
- Hon. Abhishek Pratap Shah (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Hon. Biraj Bista (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Deependra Tandon (Advertising Sector Entrepreneur)
- Dileep Agrawal (Communications Sector Entrepreneur)
- Hon. Gagan Thapa (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Hon. Ganesh Man Pun (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Khimlal Devkota (Central Committee Member, UCPN (Maoists))
- Niranjan Shrestha (Trading and Manufacturing Entrepreneur)
- Hon. Rabindra Adhikari (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Robin Sitoula (Process Facilitator)
- Hon. Udaya S. Rana (Constituent Assembly Member)
- Yogesh Bhattarai (Secretary and Spokesperson, CPN UML)