Hon. Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs and the leader of Nepali delegation to the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), participated in the High Level Plenary Meeting of the General Assembly on addressing the large movements of refugees and migrants organized by the President of the General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York today. The Meeting was organized in two plenaries and six parallel roundtables.
The Hon. Dr. Mahat addressed the High-Level Plenary Meeting and also participated in Roundtable 5 on “Global Compact for safe, regular and orderly migration: towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving full respect for the human rights of migrants.” In both the meetings, he shed light on domestic policies and priorities on refugees and migrants while stressing on the need of global efforts to address this pressing issue.
Underlining that international migration was a multidimensional reality of our time, the Hon. Minister called for facing it “effectively in its entirety”. He added that ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration and mobility of people was necessary through well planned migration policies, putting in perspective the various types and causes of migration. He underscored the importance of the Global Compact for safe, regular and orderly migration with a view to realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and achieving full respect for the human rights of migrants everywhere.
Referring to the problems and issues of the economic migrants of which Nepal is one of the largest source country, he stressed that the remittances they earn is not without huge and long term social, cultural and environmental costs back home. Highlighting the need of an effective rescue mechanism for the migrant workers in emergencies, he shared that Nepal promptly responds to such situation through immediate evacuation and other measures. He also cautioned that not all migrants are refugees, so they should be distinctively treated as such, giving example of Nepali nationals in different countries who are legally working there as per the demands of the host countries.
Mentioning that the issues of political refugees can hardly be resolved with “their source countries taking a back bench”, he pointed out that it “should be the responsibility of the country causing it and not the country where they are residing”. While appreciating the host developed countries for resettling many Bhutanese refugees, the Hon. Dr. Mahat stressed that their right to return to their homeland should be respected, as many still in refugee camps in Nepal are eagerly waiting for long to return.
The Meeting adopted the “New York Declaration on Refugees and Migrants” the text of which was finalized through intense intergovernmental negotiations in New York.
The Hon. Minister participated in the Climate Justice Dialogue on “Climate displacement and dignity: the needs of the most vulnerable countries” jointly organized by United Nations Office of the High Representative for LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS and the Mary Robinson Foundation-Climate Change in the afternoon today. Speaking in the dialogue, the Minister said that climate change has further increased the vulnerabilities of the LDCs, LLDCs and mountain countries like Nepal, putting them in difficult situations to cope the challenges. He also called for international partnership and cooperation for adapting and mitigating the challenges posed by climate change. Highlighting the importance of the Paris Agreement, he said that Nepal has initiated its domestic procedures for ratification.
Also on the sideline of the High-Level Plenary Meeting, Hon. Minister Dr. Mahat held a bilateral meeting with H.E. Ms. María Ángela Holguín Cuéllar, Foreign Minister of Colombia earlier today. During the meeting, the Hon. Minister congratulated his Colombian counterpart and through her to the people and Government of Columbia on initiating peace process by putting an end to a half century old conflict in the country. Responding to H.E. Cuéllar’s interest in Nepal’s peace process, Hon. Minister shared the successful conclusion of peace process in Nepal. She said that Nepal’s experience would be useful to Colombia too. She further said that Colombia’s success in coffee production and processing could be useful to Nepal as well. The Hon. Dr. Mahat welcomed the proposal and said that relevant institutions would work together in this area. The two ministers also exchanged views on further promoting bilateral relations between the two countries.
Hon. Mr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, arrived in New York yesterday, to lead the Nepali delegation to the 71st session of the UNGA. The Hon. Minister and other members of the delegation were received at the JFK International Airport by H.E. Mr. Durga Prasad Bhattarai, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations and officials of the Permanent Mission and the Consulate General of Nepal in New York.
The Hon. Minister is scheduled to participate in the opening of the General Debate of the 71st session of the United Nations General Assembly under the theme “SDGs: a universal push to transform our world” tomorrow and also address the session on 24 September 2016.
Also tomorrow, he will participate in the first anniversary of the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Other important engagements during the session, in addition to various bilateral meetings, include: Informal Meeting of SAARC Council of Ministers which the Hon. Minister will be hosting as Chair on 21 September; ministerial meetings of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) both on 22 September; the Fortieth Annual Meeting of Ministers for Foreign Affairs of the Group of 77 and China on 23 September; annual Ministerial Meeting of the Landlocked Developing Countries on 24 September 2016. The Hon. Minister will also host a national day reception in New York on 23 September 2016. Similarly, Nepal and EL Salvador are scheduled to sign a communiqué to establish diplomatic relations on 21 September 2016.
Permanent Mission of Nepal to the United Nations
19 September 2016