19th Oct, 2020
Human Rights Alliance in collaboration with HAMI organized a virtual policy dialogue (via zoom online platform) on the topic ‘Dialogue on the Prevention of Impact of COVID 19 in Town Areas’. among the representatives of various municipalities, policymakers, civil society representatives and other concerned stakeholders. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Human Rights Alliance has been organizing consultations and policy dialogue series on the effects of COVID 19 in different sectors. Continuing the momentum, this time Human Rights Alliance organized a policy dialogue on the effects of COVID on town areas. with particular focus on the Kathmandu Valley. There were over 170 participants from different sectors from different areas of the country. The program was hosted by Mr. Bidur Subedi from Human Rights Alliance and chaired by Mr. Min Bahadur Shahi. Hon’ble Deputy Prime Minister Ishwar Pokhrel, Chairman of the High-Level Coordination Committee for the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 was the Chief Guest of the program.
The program was successful in identifying the key problems and discussing on the possible way forward. Experts including Dr. Sharad Onta and Mr. Subodh Raj Pyakurel were concerned about the Health Ministry’s decision that the corona infected people need to pay the cost of treatment on their own has created concerns because there is no criteria to determine who can afford and who cannot afford to pay for treatment. Hon’ble Ishwar Pokharel stated that the government has been doing as much as it can to minimize the risk of the pandemic and stressed that the intensity of the problem is so big that a collaborative effort from non-governmental actors including civil society organizations is needed to fully address the problem. He also requested to the people to take necessary precautions from their side.
It was concluded that the people need to learn how to move ahead while tackling the effects of Covid at the same time because it is no longer possible to wait for the pandemic to end. The forum agreed that a collaborative effort is essential to tackle the problems being faced. At the government level, policy action needs to be taken by the central and federal governments and the local governments should do their best to implement the decisions with the support from the civil society and other local actors. The forum agreed that the situation can only be overcome through a collaborative effort of the government, civil society organizations, social sector and the people.
In the programme, various local government representatives expressed their views including, Mr. Sunil Prajapati, Mayor of Bhaktapur Municipality, Mr. Vinay Kumar Swaragi, Mayor of Birgunj Metropolitan City, Mohan Maya Bhandari, Deputy Mayor of Birendranagar municipality, Ghanashyam Pandey, Mayor of Tulsipur Sub-metropolitan, Padampani sharma, Mayor of Phalebas Municipality, Surendra Bista, Mayor from Bhimdutta municipality,Manju Bhandari, Deputy Mayor from Dharan Sub-metropolitan city and Ashok Byanju, Chair, Nagarpalika Association.