Two Nepal projects selected under China’s GDI

At a time when not a single project under the Beijing-led Belt and Road Initiatives has commenced in Nepal, two projects from Nepal have been selected under China’s another initiative called, the Global Development Initiative.

According to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, out of the 50 projects that are listed as first-batch projects in the GDI projects pool, two projects have been selected for Nepal.

The list of projects was released on Wednesday following the Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends of the Global Development Initiative (GDI) in New York. Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is also the State Councilor of China, had chaired the meeting where he had outlined how Beijing-led GDI will move forward and how it will help achieve the sustainable development goals by 2030.

The first project under the GDI is Nepal Smiling Children Project where China Foundation for Rural Development will provide food for 3,600 children from poor communities in Kathmandu. China’s foreign aid agency, China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), Ministry of Commerce, China and China Foundation for Rural Development, will fund the project whose details will be out soon, according to the officials.

Officials said the Nepal Smiling Children Project was inaugurated by Liu Jianchao, Director of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, during his Nepal visit in July. China Foundation for Rural Development and the China NGO Network for International Exchange had jointly launched ‘The Global Development and South-South Cooperation Fund Nepal Smiling Children Project’ at Shanti Nikunja Secondary School in Kathmandu.

The GDI and South-South Cooperation Fund are China’s effort to build a global development partnership, comprehensively promote cooperation in poverty reduction, health education, digital connectivity and other fields, and improve people’s livelihoods, Liu had said after launching the project on July 11.

According to Xinhua, the state-owned news agency of China, Nepal Smiling Children Project launched in May 2020 now covers a total 3,600 students in Kathmandu, Dolakha, Mahottari and Saptari districts.

“The GDI is a new development concept of China that is aligned with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals that is why we supported it,” a senior Nepal government official said, adding “These two projects were selected in close coordination with the National Planning Commission and Ministry of Finance.

But the Belt and Road Initiatives that Nepal signed up to in 2017 is in limbo as not a single project under it has taken off. The idea of the GDI was first proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping last year during his address to the United Nations General Assembly. But there is a lot of “apprehension” and “ opposition” in Kathmandu about the Global Security Initiative ; another proposal forwarded to the Chinese President April this year. As per our stated foreign policy, we are not going to be a part of the global security initiative (GSI) even if Western countries pressured us to support the GSI, the official said.

Similarly, China-led Support to Schools and Communities in Remote Areas for Pandemic Prevention and Green Recovery will assist schools and communities in remote areas for pandemic prevention and green recovery. This particular project will be executed by CIDCA, Ministry of Commerce, China and the United Nations Development Program. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, CIDCA will conduct 1000 Human Resources Training Projects covering all priority areas of the GDI and benefiting all members of the Group of Friends of the GDI, according to their needs. The government has already allowed CIDCA to work in Nepal to provide development assistance and create capitals in 15 northern districts of Nepal to meet their developmental needs. The 15 districts border China’s Tibet Autonomous Region.

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