A year after the great earthquake, Barpak, the epicenter, is gradually recovering from the trauma and shock. Although the people are coming to terms slowly and gradually, life is coming back to normal.
In the changing atmosphere, four organizations, Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative (HAMI), Himalayan Conservation Group (HCG), Community Self-Reliant Centre (CSRC), Nepal Community Development Monitoring Centre (NCDMC) and OXFAM Nepal organized the Barpak Conference to bring up the issues of reconstruction in public sphere.
Participated in by local community leaders, politicians, Members of Legislature Parliament, representatives of NGOs and INGOs, officials of Gorkha district and experts, the Barpak Conference concluded by adopting an 11-point Barpak Declaration.
We, the Participants of the Barpak Conference on "Rebuilding Nepal: Protecting and Promoting the Rights of the Affected Communities"
We express our profound sorrow and solidarity with all the communities of the unprecedented catastrophe that struck us in the form of a major earthquake of 7.6magnitude on 25 April 2015 and the consequent aftershocks. We offer our heartfelt condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and pray for the departed souls. We appreciate the generous and overwhelming expressions of support and assistance offered by the Government of Nepal, civil society organizations (CSOs), international community, private sector, and the Nepali diaspora. We are inspired beyond words by the tenacity and resilience of the affected people, and by the ingenuity of communities in coping with the disaster through indigenous and local knowledge, resources and techniques.
We are concerned about social justice and economic, social and cultural rights in the multicultural landscape of quake affected areas constituted by a diverse population. We realize the need of strengthening the voice of Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) across Nepal for generating efforts to ensure the rights of the affected people and communities based on the principle of humanitarian accountability, and by complying with the international instruments on human rights and humanitarian laws. We believe in channelizing funds for Nepal's reconstruction based on and as mandated by the Paris Declaration on Aid Effectiveness and Accra Agenda for Action (AAA), Bussan Outcome Document, policies framed for sustainable development goals (SDGs), as well as Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA).
We, nearly 500 participants including affected communities, policy makers, parliamentarians, political leaders, CSO representatives, Academicians, Activists and experts of the Barpak Conference gathered at the epicenter of the devastating earthquake on 25 April 2016summon and declare as follows:
Summon and Declaration
1. We are deeply concerned about the democratic participation of people and communities during reconstruction process. We urge the government to immediately materialize reconstruction process by promoting the use of local resources and indigenous knowledge with full respect of local culture, customs and needs of local communities.
2. While recalling the Government’s responsibility of ensuring civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights as fundamental rights of the people, we wish to draw attention of the Government to ensure that all the procedures, plans and processes for reconstruction are inclusive and human rights friendly. To this end, we are equally committed to perform our duty for the sake of the affected communities.
3. The Government must be aware that the current policy provision excludes landless and women in post-earthquake reconstruction process, therefore, we urge the Government to develop special mechanisms towards fulfilling the rights of vulnerable communities such as landless, women and single women, people with disability.
4. We are committed to critically monitor all humanitarian and development initiatives for reconstruction by the Government as well as international community, especially from the point of view of the principle of continual improvement and respecting dignity of the affected people and communities.
5. Government and the political parties should take initiative to approve the draft Disaster Management Bill as soon as possible that ensures meaningful participation of CSOs in all phases of disaster management.
6. We urge both the Government and international communities to respect and implement the law and policy system that exist in the country in terms of receiving any support, monetary and non-monetary, cooperation from international communities. The Government should create an enabling environment for the CSOs so that they engage themselves in monitoring the post-disaster situation so that the most affected communities' needs are met.
7. We are equally concerned that the Government should guarantee optimum utilization of available financial resources. We ask the Government to adopt "Zero Tolerance to Corruption". Transparency and accountability should be fully ensured for programming, budgeting and implementation.
8. We call upon the Government and all aid agencies to focus their activities on reinstating the sustainable livelihood in the affected areas, thereby promoting self-reliant economy, ensuring food security and self-employment. We ask the Government and international agencies to encourage the affected people get involved in productive sectors and revive the supply chain system.
9. We urge the Government for the soonest enactment of Land Use Act that provisions scientific land zoning. Reorganizations of settlements and urban development plans especially for those landless due to various reasons are required through geological studies throughout the country. We also recommend that the Government should amend land acquisition act as soon as possible, which is prerequisite for reconstruction works.
10. We urge the Government, political parties and concerned authorities to immediately schedule the implementation of the new Constitution promulgated on 20 September 2015 ensuring election to the local government and pave way for a meaningful participation of elected local representatives in the reconstruction and resettlement initiatives.
11. We are committed from our respective level for the development of Barpak, the Epicentre of the Devastating Earthquake, a historic and memorial place with archives tower, and garden and other developmental infrastructure.
Among the Participants of the Conference:
Humanitarian Accountability Monitoring Initiative (HAMI)
Himalayan Conservation Group (HCG)
Community Self Reliant Centre (CSRC)
Nepal Community Development Monitoring Centre (NCDMC)
25 April 2016