Nepal – Austria Relations


Diplomatic Relations:

There exists an excellent state of bilateral relations happily subsisting between Nepal and Austria ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations on 15 August 1959. Nearly six-decade long relationship between the two countries is based on trust, mutual respect, understanding and cooperation. The year 2019 marked the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Austria.

The Residential Embassy of Nepal in Vienna was established in 2018. The opening of the Nepali Embassy in Vienna will bring two friendly countries further closer in the coming days. This can help Austria explore possibilities of establishing its residential Embassy in Kathmandu. Austria has its Honorary Consulate in Kathmandu.

 

High Level Visits/ Meetings:

From Nepal:

  • Vice President, the Rt. Hon. Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun, visited Austria at the invitation of the Federal President of Austria to attend the R20 Austrian World Summit held on 28 May 2019. The Summit was dedicated to climate action.
  • Barsha Man Pun, Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, visited Austria from 20-22 May 2019 to sign an MoU on Hydropower Infrastructure Technology Cooperation. 
  • Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs, visited Austria in September 2018 to participate in the 62nd General Conference of IAEA.
  • Giriraj Mani Pokhrel, Minister for Education, Science and Technology visited Austria to participate in IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Science and Technology in November 2018.
  • The then Prime Minister Late Girija Prasad Koirala led the Nepalese delegation to the Human Rights Conference held in Vienna, Austria, in June 1993.
  • Former King late Birendra paid an unofficial visit to Austria in 1986 and 2000.

 

From Austria:

  • E. Dr Karin Kneissl, the Austrian Foreign Minister visited Nepal from 21-23 February 2019.
  • Alois Mock, Minister for Foreign Affairs, paid an official visit to Nepal in 1990.
  • Kurt Waldheim, who later became the President of Austria in 1990, paid a visit to Nepal in his capacity as the Secretary General of the United Nations in 1981.

 

 Development Cooperation

 Austria as a member of the EU has been supporting Nepal’s efforts towards socio-economic and cultural development by extending economic cooperation. Austria has provided development cooperation to Nepal in the areas of hydroelectric development, environment protection, cultural heritage conservation, drinking water and tourism development.

Austria’s cooperation in the field of heritage/monument conservation, including the restoration of the Patan Museum, has been significant. In 2017, an MoU was signed between the Patan Museum Development Committee and the University of Applied Arts, Vienna to this effect. In the past, many undergraduate and graduate students have benefitted from the academic institutions of Austria.

Sweden made significant pledge of support for the reconstruction of Nepal following the 2015 earthquakes.

In 2006, a pair of rhinos was gifted by Nepal to Austria as a token of friendship.

 

Trade and Investment:

Nepal exports paper and paperboard, essential oils, clothing accessories, handicrafts and others. Nepal imports beverages, food items: prepared animal fodder, man-made staple fibres, fabrics, machinery, among others.

The trade data between Nepal and Austria is presented below:

Value: US $

Year

Export

Import

Balance

2015

1,951,311

3,330,420

-1,379,109

2016

2,264,745

3,732,998

-1,468,253

2017

2,096,931

5,757,260

-3,660,329

2018

2,437,581

4,709,891

-2,272,310

2019

596,095

1,087,778

-491,683

Source: TEPC Nepal

Some Austrian companies have been investing and transferring technology to Nepal for quite a long time, including ANDRITZ Hydro, Doppelmayr. The success and long-term association of such companies in Nepal have one common thread, the Austrian expertise on developing transport infrastructure in the mountainous terrain. Energy development and infrastructure development are potential areas of cooperation between our two countries.

According to the data of Department of Industry, there were a total of 21 projects with Austrian investment of Rs. 118.47 million until 15 July 2020, creating 694 jobs.

 

Tourism/People-to-People relations:

The level of people-to-people contact had grown especially after the operation of Austrian Airlines flights from September 1998. But the stalled air connectivity has to be revived between the two countries.

Austrian experts have been contributing in the conservation and rehabilitation of the cultural and architectural heritage of Nepal since 1960s. Austrian architects like Gotz Hagmuller, Prof. Carl Pruscha are famous both in Nepal and Austria for their conservation works in Nepal. Among other famous conservation works that he was actively involved in Nepal are the Garden of Dreams, the Patan Museum, etc. Prof. Pruscha designed some of the modern buildings in this period, most notably CEDA building in the premises of Tribhuvan University and the Taragaon complex, and authored “Kathmandu Valley: the preservation of physical environment and cultural heritage”.

Contributions made by mountaineers from Austria to make Nepal’s mountains and natural beauty known in Austria and around the world are commendable. The tourists visiting Nepal from Austria in last few years is as follow:

 

Year 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of Tourists 2,676 2,741 4,803 4,892 4,864

Nepal signed a Bilateral Air Services Agreement with Austria in 1997.

 

Europe and the Americas Division
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kathmandu
August 2020