Mid-Year Review of the Nepal Common Appeal for Transition Support 2007
The Nepal peace process has continued in a generally positive manner since the start of the year, with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoists (CPN-M) formally joining the interim Government on 1 April 2007. Elections to select a Constituent Assembly have now been set for 22 November 2007. Despite the overall progress, however, there are a number of issues that pose threats to the peace process, one set in particular developing serious security and protection concerns. This concerns the East and Central Terai (Southern border areas), where political and armed groups who claim to represent the sentiments of the Madhesi population have been demanding increased autonomy.
As a consequence there has been fresh displacement of people of hill-origin and new challenges to the type and extent of field operations that civil servants and humanitarian and development workers are able to undertake. Extortion and intimidation of civilian populations has continued. CPN-M affiliates, the Young Communist League (YCL) and All Nepal National Independent Students’ Union-Revolutionary (ANNISU-R) continue to clash with the state and other political groups, and to extort donations from the development, humanitarian and business community.
Since the May 2006 ceasefire, and despite the fact that many returnees still face security and protection concerns, there has been significant return of populations displaced during the conflict in most parts of the country. The Internally Displaced Person (IDP) protection working group estimates that the remaining caseload of IDPs is between 50,000 - 70,000 people. On 18 February 2007, the Government of Nepal endorsed a new IDP policy. For the implementation of the Policy, a directives formulation team has been formed by the Peace and Reconstruction Ministry.
Adverse weather conditions continue to affect the food security of people in remote districts. A nationwide survey found increased levels of acute global malnutrition amongst children under five years–up to 13%, which is higher than the accepted international threshold for a disaster. Accidental detonations of mines and improvised explosive devices continue to kill and injure civilians. As part of establishing standby procedures for emergencies and natural disasters, the United Nations on 31 May signed an agreement with the Government of Nepal, which ensures expedited customs procedures, both for personnel and relief equipment, in times of disaster.
The appeal has been reasonably well funded for this period in the year, with most sectors having received some contributions, though major gaps remain in the areas of mine action, emergency food security and malnutrition, emergency preparedness - particularly for emergency health services,disease surveillance, and coordination. A number of projects has been removed or modified, and a number of new emergency projects added, including a major food project from the World Food Programme (WFP), which takes the total appeal to US$ 89 million and brings the current funding percentage to 39%.