Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal Alf Arne Ramslien and UNICEF Nepal Country Representative Hanaa Singer today signed an agreement worth USD$7,000,000 (40 million Norwegian Kroner) to strengthen and expand Child Friendly Local Governance in Nepal.
This agreement will bolster the partnership between the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development (MoFALD) and UNICEF, with support from the Government of Norway, to include children and ensure their participation in all government plans at all levels.
MoFALD Secretary Shanta Bahadur Shrestha thanked the Government of Norway and UNICEF for supporting the national implementation of Child Friendly Local Governance (CFLG).
“The Government of Nepal is committed to strengthen CFLG and expand it across the country. CFLG is an integral component of the Government’s programme to implement the Local Governance Community Development programme,” said Shrestha at the ceremony, which also included senior officials of MOFALD.
The CFLG is a critical component of the national government’s Local Governance Community Development Programme (LGCDP) which includes 21 indicators to be monitored at the VDC level to ensure children and women’s rights and programmes are taken into all plans and implemented.
The expected outcome of this partnership at the national level is to ensure that the Child Friendly Local Governance framework is mainstreamed in the ministries guidelines and policies such as Education, Health, Nutrition, Water and Sanitation & Hygiene, Social Welfare, and Local Development that contain specific indicators related to all children’s rights, adolescent girls and disadvantaged groups.
This seeks to ensure children and adolescents are prioritised in the national budget and policies with increased investment on children reflected in 3/5 Year Plans and local bodies maintain a child-friendly governance system: for integrated planning, monitoring and investment in accordance with their child profile, investment plan, status report and minimum indicators on child survival, development, protection and participation in the selected 15 districts and nine municipalities.
The partnership will also strengthen the multi-sector National Social Protection Act. It will enhance the capacity of stakeholders at all levels to institutionalise governance that is child friendly.
“This new partnership has to have the full ownership of the government. It is a real pleasure to see what started as a pilot programme by UNICEF and the Government of Nepal 10 years ago has now metamorphosed and been scaled up to a national level programme covering all VDCs,” said Singer of UNICEF.
At the sub-national level, the partnership will help strengthen the CFLG system by local government bodies for integrated planning of periodic plans and ensure that children, adolescents, women and other disadvantaged groups meaningfully participate in decision-making bodies in the 15 districts of Nepal with the lowest human development indicators.
“Norway has always been a partner with UNICEF to improve the lives of children and women in Nepal, and this partnership will now act as a catalyst to implement the Government of Nepal’s vision to link up with all actors, including children in the equitable development of the country,” said His Excellency, the Ambassador of Norway.
Norway has been supporting UNICEF Nepal since 2001 to improve the lives of children and women. Since 2008, Norway has also been supporting UNICEF’s “Decentralised Action for Children and Women” programme and child friendly local governance in 23 districts of Nepal.