Kathmandu: As Nepal is all set to hold the local-level elections next month, development partners, the UN and the Association of International NGOs in Nepal (AIN) have shown serious concern over possible donation drive by political parties.
Issuing a joint press statement, they said that projects and staff face challenges when stakeholders pressurize for donations or in-kind assistance.
“We wish to make it clear to all stakeholders that none of the undersigned organizations will provide any kind of donation, either in cash or kind, in the context of Nepal’s elections or at any other time. Nor can we accept any form of coercion, force or intimidation directed at our staff or partners. We have instructed all of our partners and staff of this policy,” reads the statement jointly issued by the development partners.
Indicating that political parties may ask for donations, the development partners urged political parties and all the stakeholders to uphold the principles of the basic operating guidelines so that development activities can continue unhindered in the context of Nepal’s elections.
Here is the full text of the Basic Operating Guidelines agreed upon by agencies:
Based on the principles of accountability, impartiality, transparency, and inclusion, agreed upon internationally and in Nepal, we the undersigned have adopted the following Basic Operating Guidelines for all development and, if necessary, humanitarian assistance to the people of the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal.
1. We are in Nepal to contribute to the improvements in the quality of life of the people of Nepal. Our assistance focuses on reducing poverty, meeting basic needs, and enabling communities and the country to meet their development aspirations.
2. We work as per agreements with the Government of Nepal and through the freely expressed wishes of local communities. We respect the dignity of people, their culture, religion, and customs.
3. We provide assistance to the poor and marginalized people of Nepal, regardless of where they live and who they are. Assistance is based on needs and priorities shared by Nepal and the contributing country or organization alone and not on any political, ethnic, religious, or other agenda.
4. We ensure our assistance is transparent to the government and communities impacted and we involve our intended beneficiaries, their communities, and representatives in the planning, management, and implementation of programs. We are accountable both to those whom we seek to assist and to those providing the resources.
5. We seek to ensure that our assistance tackles discrimination and social exclusion, most notably based on gender, ethnicity, caste, and religion.
6. We recruit staff on the basis of suitability and qualification for the job and not on the basis of political or any other considerations.
7. We do not accept our staff and development partners being subjected to any manner of violence, abduction, harassment, intimidation, or threats. We urge all those concerned to maintain an operating environment that supports the unhindered implementation of our programs and safety of our staff.
8. We are committed to preventing and responding to allegations of sexual exploitation, harassment and abuse affecting our beneficiaries, staff and delivery partners.
9. We do not work where staff are forced to compromise our core values and principles
10. We do not accept our resources being used for any violent, sectarian, or other purposes beyond our stated program’s aims.
11. We do not make donations in cash or kind, forced or voluntary to any groups or political parties, or affiliated organizations, beyond our stated program purposes.
12. The equipment, supplies, and facilities funded through our resources are not used for purposes other than those stated in our program objectives. Our vehicles are not used to transport persons or goods that have no direct connection with the development program. Our vehicles do not carry armed or uninformed personnel.
13. We do not tolerate the theft, diversion or misuse of development or humanitarian assistance.
14. We urge all those concerned to allow full access by development and humanitarian personnel to all people in need of assistance and, to promote their safety, security, and freedom of movement in the implementation of development programs.
15. We expect and encourage all actors concerned to comply strictly with international humanitarian and human rights laws.
Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland
Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC)
[The story has been updated on April 22, 2022.]