World Bank supported US$150 million urban governance and infrastructure project launched in Nepal

By Laxman Datt Pant

World Bank supported US$150 million urban governance and infrastructure project launched in Nepal

Aiming to promote sustainable urban development in strategic secondary cities across Nepal, a US$150 million Nepal Urban Governance and Infrastructure Project (NUGIP) was launched on January 27. The four-year-long World Bank-financed NUGIP aims to support the post-COVID-19 economic recovery in these cities.

Aligned with Nepal’s federalism principles and the National Urban Development Strategy (NUDS), the project was jointly launched by Dr. Ramesh Prasad Singh, Secretary at the Ministry of Urban Development of Nepal (MoUD), and Lada Strelkova, Operations Manager for the World Bank in Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. The project engages the government, development partners, and the private sector.

Additionally, the project aims to strengthen service delivery and institutional capacities in strategic secondary cities and to support post-COVID-19 economic recovery through labor-intensive public works. It puts the municipalities at the forefront of project implementation.

Stating that, in the context of the newly established federalism in Nepal, rapid urbanization and the COVID-19 pandemic, delivering better urban services and responding to the needs of people are critical, Dr. Ramesh Prasad Singh, Secretary of MoUD said, “The project complements the Government of Nepal’s existing programs and expands the engagement on urban development by formulating dedicated funding for strategic urban infrastructure in the targeted cities.” Given the urgent needs, a result-oriented implementation of the project is required at all levels of government, he added.

Stressing that the World Bank aims to deliver results that strengthen federalism and the capacity of the targeted municipalities to the benefit of the local population, Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka said, “As part of the World Bank’s COVID-19 response, the project will support over 20,000 of the most vulnerable and unemployed people at the local level to earn at least 50 days of wages.” These targets will be achieved through the creation of temporary employment opportunities in the maintenance and upgrading of public infrastructure, he added.

  • The 17 project municipalities are situated in two strategic urban clusters in Provinces 1 and 2 and Gandaki and Lumbini Provinces of Nepal
  • The project targets to support 12 additional municipalities across Nepal’s seven provinces for labor-intensive public works activities
  • Four municipalities will be supported for capacity building
  • Of the total funding, 95% will be allocated at the local level

The NUDS (2017) aims to enhance the national urban policy vision and defines the scope of urbanization and urban development for which it informs and facilities activities on urban development such as education and health, transport, agriculture, industry, trade, environment, water, and sanitation services, culture, tourism, and local development.

In addition to being critical to Nepal’s economic development, the selected NUGIP municipalities are centers for commercial and administrative activities in those provinces.