Swedish parliamentarians suggest investing more on inclusive social welfare reforms

bikashnirman | फाल्गुन ११, २०७४ - शुक्रबार

kathmandu  , A delegation of Swedish parliamentarians, who were on an official four-day visit to Nepal this week, said investing more on inclusive social welfare reforms will help Nepal prosper and achieve the Global Goals.

“To transform Sweden from one of the poorest countries in Europe 100 years ago when 25% of the population emigrated due to poverty, to where we are today, we invested heavily in strong institutions as well as in inclusive social welfare reforms,” said Marie-Louise Rönnmark from the social democratic party, the ruling party in a press statement issued by UNDP Nepal on the final day of their visit on Thrusday.

The Swedish team commended Nepal for its progress on promoting inclusion and gender equality as well as building resilience, improving livelihoods and the work on post-earthquake recovery. According to UNDP, the objective of the visit was to monitor the results achieved by UNDP in implementing projects contributing to the country’s development.

The delegates visited several UNDP projects implemented in partnership with local governments, CSOs and communities in Kaski and Gorkha, and interacted with provincial assembly members to exchange experience related to parliamentary democracy. The parliamentarians also met with representatives of development partners in Nepal, the National Human Rights Commission and other high-level officials, including the Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

“Building a healthy democracy is an on-going process that one has to work on every single day, in Sweden as well as in Nepal. Accountability, transparency, an open and growing economy and an independent judiciary as well as free media are key elements for success. Here we can learn from each other. You are at a new starting point in Nepal with a new constitution and we look forward to following the good progress of the country,” says Kerstin Lundgren from the Green Liberal party, currently in opposition.

Sweden is one of the few countries in the world spending as much as 1 % of Gross National Income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA), exceeding the official 0.7 % OECD target. In 2018, the Government of Sweden will be contributing $5.4bn for ODA, focusing on gender equality, climate change/climate resilience and peace building as well as human rights and democracy as key priority areas. Sweden is also one of UNDP’s top core donors. In 2017, Sweden was the third largest core donor to UNDP and in 2018 UNDP will receive around US$78 million from the Swedish government for projects across the globe.

The delegates, who observed the on-going reconstruction and recovery work in Gorkha, appreciated the progress made so far while at the same time underscoring the need for continued support. Sweden pledged USD10m for the earthquake response.

Shedding light on the importance of the visit, Renaud Meyer, Country Director of UNDP in Nepal said, “Sweden is among the top five core contributors to UNDP. The taxpayers’ money that they provide generously to UNDP is used all over the world, including here in Nepal. It is important that we also show the parliamentarians, who are responsible to their constituencies, the results that we produce in the field.”

The visiting delegation included six parliamentarians representing different political parties, from both ruling and opposition parties: namely, Emma Nohrén, Kerstin Lundgren, Margareta Cederfeldt, Marie-Louise Rönnmark, Markus Wiechel and Tina Acketoft.

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