The World Bank has been supporting the Program for Accountability in Nepal (PRAN) for the last four years to promote and implement social accountability (SA) initiatives. To further enhance its mission on accountability, PRAN has brought together government officials, civil society organizations, development partners and relevant stakeholders for a two-day forum starting today on Wednesday, 10th September at Hotel Yak and Yeti in the capital.
According to a press release issued by the World Bank, the forum hopes to reflect lessons that have been learnt together and the experiences gathered so far. PRAN has sought to develop the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) and government agencies through practical training, action learning and networking to promote citizen engagement in Nepal.
Welcoming over a hundred participants at the forum, World Bank Nepal Country Director Johannes Zutt said: “Nepal has achieved considerable progress in recent years, despite a challenging environment. In particular, Nepal is gradually strengthening its institutions and introducing greater openness and transparency. Recently, the Government of Nepal has focused on embedding social accountability mechanisms within government operations to ensure the effective and inclusive delivery of services to citizens, especially in the more remote districts and at the local level.”
Following the opening remarks, a high level panel discussion took place on the theme of Opening the Civic Space in Nepal moderated by Dr. Govinda Pokharel, Vice-Chair of National Planning Commission (NPC). The discussants included Luiza Nora, Team Task Leader of PRAN/ World Bank Madhu Kumar Marasini, Joint Secretary of Finance Ministry, Tara Nath Dahal, Chairperson of Freedom Forum, Sharmila Karki, Chairperson of NGO Federation and Mark Smith, Deputy Head of Mission, Department of International Development (DFID).
“PRAN has been influential in uplifting the lives of the marginalized and vulnerable and it can have a really impactful role in the future as well. It is good to see that the World Bank, alongside its projects on infrastructure hasn’t forgotten about social accountability,” said Madhu Kumar Marasini, Joint Secretary, and Ministry of Finance. He added: “As a result of different initiatives aimed at promoting social accountability, often supported by international organizations and local CSOs, the Government is in the process of recognizing that sustainable improvements in governance require systemic changes and collaboration from all the stakeholders.”
The event also included a social accountability "Knowledge Fair", highlighting results stories from existing social accountability initiatives in Nepal.