Nepal’s post-quake lessons will help other countries: UN Deputy Secretary-General

Jan-EliassonKATHMANDU, May 3 (Xinhua) — Nepal’s lessons of the devastating earthquake can be utilized in similar situations in other countries of the world, a visiting top UN official said here in Kathmandu on Monday.

“The lessons that Nepal has learned from this disaster could easily be utilized in other situations. Perhaps rescue teams from Nepal will be another feature for international cooperation in the future,” Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Jan Eliassion, who is on a three-day official visit to the Himalayan nation, told Xinhua exclusively.

While talking about Nepal’s ongoing reconstruction efforts, the Deputy Secretary-General said, “I have been involved in this area of disaster responses and when it is a disaster of such magnitude, it’s a tremendous challenge for any society. You cannot fully change the picture of what is seen overnight, it takes time. But we should always try to improve and work as effectively and quickly as possible.”

Stressing the importance of working together as a team, the UN official said that actors from the international arena and national stakeholders including civil society, the private sector and the academic world should be brought together to carry out reconstruction works.

The UN official, who is visiting earthquake-hit areas during his stay, said that he came to Nepal to show solidarity with and share compassion for the people whose live were rocked by the killer 7.9 magnitude earthquake in April last year that claimed around 9,000 lives and left thousands injured.

The Deputy Secretary-General, who held meetings with Nepalese Prime Minister K.P Sharma Oli and Minister for Foreign Affairs Kamal Thapa, also asked for Nepal’s participation in the UN World Humanitarian Summit to be held on May 23-24 in Istanbul, Turkey.

The United Nations will be as helpful as possible in Nepal’s reconstruction efforts, he said.

“This is mainly an internal issue but of course we know that this is an important aspect as any government can work in the area of reconstruction,” he further said.

Saying that there is no development without peace and no peace without development in today’s world, the UN official was of the view that there is none without respect of rule of law and the rights and dignity that people’s lives deserve.

“So if we unite around this world today, maybe we can achieve a good international solution like in climate issues where China contributed, or migration, which is a big issue today. The best international solution is in the national interest of every nation,” he proffered.

Responding to a question by Xinhua as to why the UN agencies sometimes face criticism for their work, the Deputy Secretary-General said that the UN has a lot to do to improve itself in terms of efficiency.

“We have horrible examples of failures in peace keeping. I am extremely frustrated that we don’t have full peace in Syria. I am not happy with the situation but we do our best. The world is as it is but we must not forget and we stand for what the world should be,” he said.

During the interview, the Deputy Secretary-General put an emphasis on harmonious relationship between governments and the United Nations.

“Harmonious relations between governments and the United Nations is what we want to have but we also want honest and open dialogue and how we best conduct our roles and how we reach results in the interest of member states should also be emphasized,” he expressed.

“I am in the business of listening to the people and I did the same here. At the end, its up to every country, every government and all people to decide their own fate,” he said adding, “But the new feature since 40-50 years ago is that nobody is alone, no country is alone. The most important word in today’s world is together’. Being together is what we need to think about.”

The international community is behind the Nepalese people in their every efforts to carry out reconstruction, he said.

“China and India are some of the major actors and donors but the whole international community is behind the Nepalese people,” he added.

He said that China played a very important role in the negotiations for sustainable development goals and also for peaceful relations.

“One of the goals is to have a peaceful society. In today’s world, there is no development without peace and no peace without development,” he reiterated.

Talking about the UN World Humanitarian Summit to be held next month, the UN official said that the summit’s central theme is humans.

“This summit in Istanbul is a good way for us to send a message that we have to show solidarity with people in need,” he said.


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