Canadian Ambassador to Nepal Nadir Patel announced new support for the survivors of the 2015 Nepal earthquake.
Canadian Ambassador to Nepal Nadir Patel announced an additional $14.7 million in aid to support Nepal’s post-quake reconstruction during his visit here last week. Nepali Times caught up with Patel to discuss Canada’s future aid and development priorities. Excerpts:
Nepali Times: What are some of the details about the additional aid you announced?
Nadir Patel: Canada has made a commitment of $51.7 million to support the reconstruction process, I am here to announce additional $14.7 million, of which $10 million is going to a number of NGOs and Canadian development partners that are already active in post-earthquake development efforts. In addition, $ 4.7 million will be given to the World Bank Group for rural housing and another $200,000 to UNHCR for refugee resettlement. During my meeting with Prime Minister and President, we talked about gender and environmental issues, tourism and education.
What are Canada’s development priorities around the world?
Our government recently announced a new Feminist International Assistance Policy with a special and primary focus on gender. Ensuring gender equality and opportunity for girls in terms of education and health will, we believe, contribute to more prosperous society. This underpins our priority around the world, including Nepal.
How about climate change in the Himalaya?
Canada is working with a number of organisations on the issues of climate change. International Development Research Centre (IDRC) has funded various research dealing with effects to climate change in the mountainous regions, water management and irrigation techniques to ensure that the impacted population is benefitted. Canada is playing a leadership role to address the issues of climate change, our Prime Minister and political leaders have been vocal about it not only in Canada or for Canada but globally.
Is there a backlash within Canada to your government’s liberal immigration policy?
We don’t have the same sentiments that have been expressed in the number of other countries around the world about opening up on the immigration process. Canada, not only now, but in the future will continue to rely on immigration to support our economic growth. Canada is settling Syrian refugees in an informed way to ensure that our institutions can manage the settlement to ensure support for the refugees. With Permanent Residence we have a robust process in place so that growth is managed in a responsible way.
Were you able to share Canada’s experience on federalism and autonomy, especially vis-à-vis Quebec, with Nepali leaders?
During my meeting with Prime Minister Deuba we discussed Nepal’s transition to federalism and the movement towards democracy. Despite the challenges, the progress and success has been quite noteworthy. It is not easy to promulgate a new constitution and bring into force for the first time municipal election. I think the federal election is a great thing and it moving to a right direction. From Canada’s experience, I think the challenges of going into a federalism would be significant because it not easy to implement a new electoral systems at different sub-national levels.