KATHMANDU, JULY 01 - The Building Back Right campaign for responsible reconstruction was launched on Wednesday. Nepali film superstar Rajesh Hamal was named as Goodwill Ambassador for the volunteer initiative.
“Buildings have to be technically sound, environmentally sound, ethically sound and reflect our own culture,” said Hama during the launching programme on Wednesday. He added, “We can’t just be so concerned with putting up a building that we’re blind when we see kids working at construction sites. We have to be careful what labor force we use and be concerned with rights and justice. This is an opportunity to reconstruct in an environmentally sound way, too, which in itself is an education.”
Building Back Right is a volunteer-led campaign to encourage the public, international donors and Nepal’s government to rebuild after the April 25 earthquake in accordance with principles that support heritage, ethics and the environment as well as the highest possible safety standards.
“It’s really about ‘right action’ and ‘right livelihood,’ as the Buddha articulated thousands of years ago. People often try to ignore those responsibilities by saying it’s not the right time to worry about those things. But if now isn’t the right time to be ethical, sustainable and support our heritage, the right time will never come,” said campaign co-founder Homraj Acharya.
“We’ve been saying ‘we’ll do it better later’ for the past 50 years in this country. I think we’ve said ‘later’ enough. We need to build back right, and we need to do it now,” Hamal added.
The Chief Guest at the event, Deputy Prime Minister Bamadev Gautam, said “This campaign is very much needed. We should be able to change the kind of dialogue we have nationally on how to rebuild our country.”
The multi-partisan group of Distinguished Guests included Ram Karki, parliamentarian from UCPN (Maoist), and Arjun Narsingh KC, former minister, current parliamentarian and senior leader of Nepali Congress.
“These are very good ideas, but there is one component that should be added, which is making it politically right,” Karki noted.
KC said the issue should be brought to the parliament to include in the policy discussion. “These are very timely and important ideas to bring into the public arena,” he said.
Also among the Distinguished Guests were actress Sushma Karki, Rajendra Khanal, IUCN program director, and General Secretary of the Nepal Engineers’ Association Kishwor Kumar Jha. Out of all municipalities, only 10 are using the code at the moment, and the code itself is due for significant revision, Jha said. Enforcement is another area where government needs to be serious, he said.
As Nepal rebuilds, the environment must be brought to the forefront, Khanal said. “Wherever we migrate, we migrate on the same planet, which is earth. How best can we repair this planet? If we don’t have this planet, there’s no meaning in saying we’re American, Nepali, Finnish or whatever. Our citizenship is of this planet, and when we build, we need to pay attention to those things.”
Read the full article on the eKantipur website here.