Rory Stewart, UK Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) is in Nepal this week to see the impact of last year’s earthquakes, assess the progress made on reconstruction and reaffirm the UK’s support for Nepal’s development.
Last year the UK played a leading role in the Nepal earthquakes response by addressing the humanitarian needs of the Nepali people and supporting the long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts of the country. UK support is helping to build a safer, healthier and more prosperous world which is firmly in the interests of both countries.
The Minister met with Krishna Bahadur Mahara, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister to discuss the next phase of UK support to Nepal. He also met with the CEO of the Nepal Reconstruction Authority, senior government officials and DFID program partners to discuss how access to bank accounts could be increased to speed up the payment of housing grants to earthquake affected households. The Minister will meet with Prime Minister Dahal before he leaves Nepal. He is the first UK Minister to visit Nepal since the new UK Government was formed in July.
Speaking on this first day in the country, UK International Development Minister Rory Stewart said,“I am delighted to return to Nepal in the year that our two countries are celebrating our strong 200 year relationship. The UK stood by the Nepali people in their time of need following the tragic earthquakes last year, and we continue to support the country to build back better and get on track towards a more prosperous and stable future. I look forward to meeting with Mr Krishna Bahadur Mahara to discuss how we can build further upon our two countries’ unique partnership”.
The Minister will see first-hand the impact of the earthquake and how UK aid is helping Nepal to “build back better”. DFID’s work with the Government of Nepal and the finance sector can allow grants and housing support to be paid directly to the people of Nepal through easy to access mobile banking. This is particularly important in remote areas where there are very few bank branches. There are currently 143 Branchless Banking points in Nepal with over 10,000 new accounts opened in the first four months of roll out.
To see how DFID Nepal works in support of poor and marginalized communities the Minister will meet representatives from community groups, local government and the police. He will also meet with the CEO of Investment Board Nepal (IBN) to discuss the UK’s support for hydropower projects in Nepal. The Minister will return to Kathmandu at the end of this visit to meet with DFID Nepal staff.
From 2000 to 2002 Rory Stewart travelled on foot across Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal, staying in 500 village houses on the journey. He arrived in Nepal in September 2001 and walked right across Nepal, West to East.
The Department for International Development (DFID) leads the UK’s work to end extreme poverty, building a safer, healthier, more prosperous world for all of us which is firmly in the UK’s national interest. We're ending the need for aid by creating jobs, unlocking the potential of girls and women and helping to save lives when humanitarian emergencies hit.
Last year assistance from the UK made a huge difference to those affected by the earthquake. The UK is now fully committed to support reconstruction in Nepal to enable the country to ‘build back better’ after the devastating earthquake.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between the UK and Nepal and over 55 years of the development relationship.
According to a press release issued by British Embassy, Rory Stewart OBE was elected as Member of Parliament for Penrith and The Border in 2010. He is Minister of State at the Department for International Development (DFID) having previously been Minister for the Environment and Rural Affairs at DEFRA.