Address by the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba during the 74th Anniversary function of Nepal Council of World Affairs (NCWA)
18 March 2022
Honourable Foreign Minister
Chairman and the Office Bearers of Nepal Council of World Affairs,
Friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen.
I would like to begin by extending warm congratulations to the Nepal Council of World Affairs (NCWA) on its 74th anniversary celebration.
I also thank NCWA for inviting me to this important event.
Established more than seven decades ago the Council has lived up to its vision of becoming a forum for discussion on issues of national and international importance. The theme chosen for this year’s Journal “Strategic Importance: Foreign Policy of Nepal” is timely and relevant.
It has been nearly nine months since the present government assumed the office. The Common Minimum Programme announced by the government has outlined major priorities to be pursued. The protection and promotion of national interest and wellbeing of the people remain the foremost priority of the present government.
In addition, attaining of high and equitable economic development, creation of the foundation of socio-economic transformation, implementation of federalism as well as completion of the remaining task of the peace process, among others, also constitute our priorities.
On the external front, the principles of Panchasheel, non-alignment, the UN Charter, international law and norms of world peace continue to guide us in the conduct of our foreign policy. Protection of sovereignty, territorial integrity and national independence and national interest becomes the supreme priority and responsibility of the Government. The present government pursues independent and balanced foreign policy.
Our focus has been on strengthening and expanding of our relations with our immediate neighbors, extended neighbors, major powers, development partners, labour destination countries and all other countries on the basis of sovereign equality, mutual respect, mutual trust and mutual benefits. We do not allow our territory to be used for any activity against our neighbours and other countries.
We continue to advocate for a liberal, rules-based, just, fair and cooperative global order that enables developing countries, the least developed countries in particular, to develop and thrive. We remain committed to realize our national development aspirations, including achieving of the sustainable development goals, and to fulfill our international commitments.
With a central focus on promoting the interest of Nepal and Nepali people, our foreign policy is aimed at enhancing the country’s image in the international community, obtaining maximum good-will, support and cooperation from all countries, and creating a conducive international environment through active and effective diplomacy.
Despite the limitations posed by Covid-19, the government has been continuing to intensify international engagements.
I attended the Climate Summit in Glasgow. I also addressed various other multilateral forums of significance to Nepal, such as, the World Food Summit, Energy Summit, and World Leaders Summit virtually. I participated virtually in the Summit for Democracy hosted by the US President.
Nepal’s active and meaningful participation in these forums have helped enhance our international visibility and provided opportunity to voice our principles, priorities and concerns on issues of global importance such as climate change, food security, vaccine equity, democracy and good governance, among others. Mountainous countries like ours are more vulnerable to climate change than others. We have been engaged with our friends and development partners for enhanced level of climate finance and technology transfer in order to promote green, clean and climate resilient development and to finance our mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Our diplomatic relations have expanded to 173 countries.
Since this government came into office, Nepal’s image and credibility in international arena has been substantially enhanced. The enormous international goodwill towards Nepal and Nepali people, ever expanding Nepali diaspora, our culture, civilizational heritage make our soft power.
We will continue to harness existing soft power and build on its strengths for the long-term benefit of the country and the people.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our faith in the principles and purposes of the UN Charter is unwavering. We attach equal importance to all three pillars of the United Nations and emphasize the strengthening of the development pillar for the protection of interests of landlocked, small and developing countries. Our commitment to the promotion and protection of human rights is total which is demonstrated in our impartial and objective role at the UN Human Rights Council.
We continue to maintain independent position on major issues of global concerns. We support peaceful settlement of all international disputes and consider diplomacy and dialogue as the most legitimate means of reducing differences and resolving conflicts. We oppose use of force against the sovereignty of any country which is contrary to the principles of the UN Charter.
Our commitment and contribution to the international peace and security is well reflected by our active participation in the UN-mandated peace keeping operations around the world for over 6 decades.
We believe that the UN system and multilateral rules and architecture are not perfect. They must be reformed to reflect the present-day reality and to deliver on the agreed global development goals, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. However, we believe that only alternative to the United Nations is more strengthened United Nations and it must be at the centre of multilateralism.
We support general and complete disarmament, especially of all weapons of mass destruction.We condemn terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.
The present government is fully committed to bring economic transformation in the country at the earliest possible and improve quality of life of the people.
Therefore, the mainstay of Nepal’s diplomacy is the pursuit of economic agenda. We will strive to promote our vital economic interests through activities aimed at attracting more foreign investment in our national priority sectors, expanding our export trade and promoting tourism, among others.
Promoting and protecting the interests of our migrant workers and diaspora as well as attracting their remittances in the productive sectors of national economy remains our priority in economic diplomacy.
We will also strive to building connectivity and infrastructures and widening of the avenues of cooperation with our neighbours in conformity with our national interest and priorities.
We have taken Nepal’s graduation from LDC status as a long held national aspiration and a must-attain development milestone.
We believe the graduation will help boost national morale and enhance country’s overall image. The graduation will have positive impacts in tourism, investments, and will offer opportunities for modernizing of our economy and enhancing of our competitive capacity.
In initial years following the graduation, we may have to face some challenges in export trade, bilateral assistance and other economic areas. To mitigate the challenges, we must undertake a comprehensive preparation in the spirit of ‘nation as a whole’.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 500 million dollar assistance of the US Government under the MCC has been recently approved by the Federal Parliament. The ratification of MCC Agreement reaffirms our commitment to national development. I have taken the discussions and debate over MCC as a normal democratic process for informed decision making. The relevant agencies will now carry it forward to the implementation and ensure timely completion of the project.
Our Constitution has consolidated the core values of democracy, such as, the sovereign power of the people, inclusive and federal democratic system of governance, civil liberties, adult franchise, and periodic elections. We cannot afford to lose the gains we have made. Political actors alone are not enough to safeguard the political achievements. All segments of society should contribute to building of democratic culture as way of our life.
Nepali Congress believes in free and fair periodic elections. As you all are aware, the government has announced that elections to the local levels will be held on 13 May 2022. I am confident that this democratic exercise would further institutionalize and strengthen our democracy and empower the people. The government is committed to the timely elections of the Provincial Assemblies and Federal Parliament as well as per the Constitution and laws.
Finally, I once again congratulate NCWA on the 74th anniversary of its establishment and I wish for its continued success.
I thank you!