Friends from Media
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Let me start by expressing my thanks to the UN Association of Nepal for the invitation extended to me to participate in this programme as Chief Guest and speak a few words. I appreciate the Association’s initiative to mark the 70th Anniversary of the UN by organizing this event.As a non-governmental and non-profit making organization, this Association has been serving as an intellectual forum for sharing of knowledge since its inception over 60 years ago.I hope it will continue its contributions including through focusing on research and development on the areas that are more critical from Nepal’s perspective.
The United Nations, over the last seventy years, despite its highs and lows, has always stood as an embodiment of cooperation, mutual trust and hope. Different countries, peoples, religions and languages are brought together under its auspices. Its achievements in the areas of international peace and security, socio-economic development, human rights and international law have not been less than remarkable. The promotion and protection of the interests of its member states, especially of the vulnerable ones, remains one of the major concerns of the United Nations. It is in this context that the theme of today’s discussion—Nepal and UN: Six Decades of Partnership—isboth timely and pertinent.
We joined this World Organization in 1955. The purpose of our membership in the then context was obviously, as you all know, was more about acquiring wider recognition and for enhancing international image of the country. The objectives of our involvement over these sixty years, however, have encompassed multifarious issues: from peace keeping to disarmament, from social development to economic achievement, and then human rights to legal and humanitarian issues. Our partnership with the United Nations is deep and long-lasting inasmuch as the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter form the foundation of our foreign policy objectives.
Nepal has had the experience of undertaking important responsibilities at the UN in different times including during our two terms as a non-permanent member of the Security Council. We have always stood by the UN principles of freedom, equality and justice. This was also reflected in our contributions to the UN Special Committee against Apartheid in South Africa.We also had the privilege of leading the Commission of Investigation into the Conditions and Circumstances resulting in the tragic death of the then Secretary General Mr. Dag Hammarskjold.
Nepal underscores the importance of UN peacekeeping in line with its foreign policy objectives. With more than fifty years of continued participation in the UN peacekeeping missions, our commitment to peacekeeping is consistent and long-standing. It has been providing peacekeepers for the maintenance of international peace and security under the UN aegis. Nepal has always responded positively to the call of the United Nations and sent troops and civilian personnel at the shortest of calls, also in relatively difficult missions and even at the time of difficulty at home.
Nepal, as a least developed country, which is also land-locked, Nepal actively supports the development agenda of LDCs and LLDCs as an advocate of the causes of the poorest and vulnerable groups of countries at the UN forums. We chaired the LDCs Coordinating Bureau for three years starting from 2009 and coordinated the LDCs group in the negotiations on Istanbul Programme of Action. We have also been participating actively in different UN processes on LLDCs including in the second conference held in Vienna last year. Nepal has been protecting and promoting LDCs’ interests as a member of the Economic and Social Council in different periods including in the present term that began from 2013.
Nepal fully owned and integrated into the national policies and programmes the millennium development goals brought under the auspices of the UN. It was those eight goals focused on poverty, hunger, education, health, disease, gender inequality and sanitation that helped us make some significant gains in human and social development. The delegation of Nepal participated actively and constructively during process of the post-2015 development agenda, the intergovernmental negotiations on which have recently been concluded. We believe that our engagement in the process has contributed to the inclusion of LDCs/LLDCs interests in the new development agenda.
As one of the most vulnerable countries in terms of climate change, Nepal champions the cause of LDCs on climate negotiations under UNFCCC. We have been calling for a better understanding of and an active intervention to strengthen international, regional and national efforts to address the adverse impacts of climate change. We have always maintained that commitments must be translated into concrete actions based on the accepted principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capability.
Aligning itself with the UN’s efforts on disarmament,strongly believes in general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction including biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological weapons in a time-bound manner. We host United Nations Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament (UNRCPD) which promotes regional dialogue on peace and disarmament. Nepal supports the non-proliferation of small arms and light weapons while maintaining the position that every State has the legitimate right to acquire such weapons for defence purpose. Nepal supports the establishment of the Nuclear Weapons Free Zones as a positive step towards the nuclear weapons free world. As a staunch supporter of international peace and security, our partnership with UN on disarmament has helped enrich our international image as a peace-loving country.
In pursuance of our commitment to and respect for human rights, we remain constructively engaged with the United Nations human rights mechanisms and the international community. As a State party to about two dozen international human rights instruments, including seven core Conventions, our commitment to human rights is total and unflinching. We have robust constitutional, legal and institutional mechanisms for advancing human rights agenda at home. It goes without saying that, on human rights front, we have moved forward in a short span of time. We need to ensure that our international human rights engagements become the ‘building blocks’ of our development needs.
As we observe the 70th anniversary of the Organization this year, it continues to be one of the most happening years for a number of reasons. UN membership has already concluded some and will conclude, by the end of this year, several other UN processes that have global appeal and significance. The Third International Conference on Financing for Development concluded last month by adopting Addis Ababa Action Agenda that sets the guidelines on financing for development in future. The post-2015 development agenda will be adopted by the world leaders at the UN Sustainable Development Summit to be held in New York in September. Twenty First Conference of Parties to UNFCCC to be held in Paris in December is expected to conclude a binding international instrument on climate change, one of the most contentious issues facing the international community at present. Also important is the ongoing review of the UN peace operations. The High-Level Panel’s report will be submitted to the 70th session of the UNGA. Debates are also underway for the reform of the Security Council.
We attach huge importance to the work of this organization and believe that a timely reform to strengthen and revitalize the UN is necessary to respond to the increasing global developmental challenges. We have also been calling for strengthening the General Assembly, expanding and reforming the Security Council to reflect the contemporary geo-political realities. We believe, only a stronger UN that is an epitome of credibility, impartiality and neutrality can serve the interests of all and in particular those of the smaller and poorer countries.
We appreciate the UN’s support and cooperation extended to us including in our difficult times. Whether it is the cooperation we received in our peace process in the post-conflict period or in the aftermath of the recent earthquake, UN has always responded to our needs positively. It has also played a crucial role in promoting incredible goodwill and cooperation of the international community towards Nepal. We deeply cherish this as our asset. And, given the present need to carry out robust recovery and reconstruction works in the post-disaster scenario, we expect similar support in the days to come as well.
To conclude, Nepal has been in the prolonged political transition for some time already, there is a need to undertake socio-economic transformation of the country by promulgating a new democratic constitution at the earliest opportunity. As the constitution writing process nears the end, we believe we will soon be able to conclude the peace process and lead the country in a democratic path of peace and prosperity.We need collective efforts to address our challenges. The constructive engagements of all stakeholders including the UN will be instrumental to our efforts. Nepal and UN ‘came together’ in 1955 and have already got the partnership progressing for sixty years.At a moment when we are confronted with a challenging responsibility of reconstruction of the damages caused by the devastating earthquake that struck the country in April this year, I believe, this partnership is even more crucial.
I thank you all for your kind attention.