Remarks by Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali Minister for Foreign Affairs
at the 46th Annual Function of JICA Alumni Association of Nepal (JAAN)
(6 December, 2019, Kathmandu)
Chair of this Program and President of JAAN Dr. Ram Chandra Bhusal,
Hon. Balananda Paudel, Chair, National Natural Resources and Finance Commission,
E. Maschamichi Saigo, Ambassador of Japan to Nepal,
Ms. Yumiko Asakuma, Chief Representative, JICA Nepal Office,
Dr. Md. Mozzamle Haque Khan, President of JICA Alumni Associations’ Forum of SAARC Countries (JAAFSC),
Friends from Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning and Namaskar!
First of all, I would like to extend my thanks to the organizer for inviting me as the Chief Guest in this esteemed gathering of 46th Annual Function of JICA Alumni Association of Nepal (JAAN).
I am pleased to know that JAAN in collaboration with JICA Alumni Associations’ Forum of SAARC Countries (JAAFSC) is also organizing an international seminar on ” Disaster in South Asia: Interventions, Challenges and Lessons Learnt” on this occasion.
I am also delighted to know that representatives from JICA Alumni Association of all SAARC countries are participating in this program. I have also learnt that JICA Office Representatives of a few SAARC countries are also here in this august gathering. I welcome all of you to this historic and beautiful city of Kathmandu and wish for your pleasant and fruitful stay.
Nepal and Japan have been enjoying excellent bilateral relations based on friendliness, understanding and mutual cooperation ever since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1956.
Our shared cultural values based on Buddhism has played an instrumental role in deepening ties at peoples’ level.
Exchange of high-level visits at different levels have greatly contributed to further enhancing our bilateral relations. In this context, I would like to recall the recent visit of Rt. Hon. Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal, to Japan to attend the Enthronement ceremony of His Majesty the Emperor of Japan. On that occasion, the President of Nepal and Prime Minister of Japan exchanged views on wide ranging issues of bilateral interests. I myself paid an official visit to Japan in November 2018 followed by the visit of Japanese Foreign Minister to Nepal in January 2019. These visits have buttressed the edifice of our bilateral relations to our mutual benefits.
Japan has been a longstanding development partner of Nepal. It has supported Nepal towards her overall development efforts. Japan’s cooperation encompasses human resources development, education, health, road and other infrastructural development, agricultural development and horticulture, including vegetables and fisheries. Japan has also helped Nepal in the social development of the country.
Each year the government of Japan has been offering scholarships to the Nepalese government officials and students. Moreover, the Japanese Volunteers have been supporting the government and local communities through their expertise in agriculture, traffic management and human resources development and so on.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am happy to learn of the joint organizing of seminar today by JAAN and JAAFSC on natural disaster management focusing on South Asian experiences and challenges. This is a welcome initiative.
Considering the occurrence of different hazards as regular phenomena in South Asia, this seminar is going to be very useful, timely and relevant. The findings of the seminar, I believe, will be beneficial for all the governments in South Asia as well as other concerned including academia.
Nepal as a party to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 strongly emphasizes disaster risk management and hopes for the engagement at all-of –society and all-of –State institutions’ levels. We are committed to translate the Seven Global Targets and Four Priorities for Action defined by the Framework as far as practical.
Though a voluntary and non-binding agreement, the framework believes that the State has the primary role to reduce disaster risk by sharing the responsibilities with other stakeholders including local government, private sector and other stakeholders.
In line with global and regional framework and best practices of the friendly countries, Nepal has also put in place some key policies, acts and action plans, including Disaster Risk Reduction National Policy, 2075, Disaster Risk Reduction Management Act, 2074 and Disaster Risk Reduction National Strategic Action Plan, 2018-30. Our current national plan envisions ensuring resilient and safe Nepal from disaster risk.
The Government is expediting the configuration of institutional arrangements at federal, state and local levels to enable the stakeholders’ proactive and coordinated participation in disaster risk management.
The physiographic settings and the climatic characteristics of the South Asian region is favorable for the high incidence of both geological and hydro-metrological hazards. Countries of the South Asian region are vulnerable to different calamities like drought, flood, glacier melting, land sliding, cyclones, earthquakes, windstorms etc. South Asian Region has a history of devastating earthquakes, floods, landslides, droughts and cyclones that have caused economic and human losses.
South Asia is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters; over a thousand major events such as landslides, glacial lake outburst (GLO) and avalanches, floods and drought, storms were reported within the past four decades. It is important to note that marginalized groups e.g. women, the poor and indigenous people are most vulnerable to climate risks.
Fast melting Himalayas pose serious risk for water resources in the region. Subsistence of very large population, around one fifth of global population, is based on Himalayas’ snow -fed rivers in the South Asia.
Moreover, Nepal is situated in the seismically active Himalayan mountain belt dominated by the northward movement of the Indian tectonic plate towards and below the Eurasian tectonic plate.
In retrospect, I still recall the horrible devastating earthquake that hit Nepal in April, 2015. JICA, our long-term development partner, has been helping Nepal for post-earthquake recovery and reconstruction in the main priority areas such as School and Housing Reconstruction, Public Infrastructure, Cultural Heritage, Livelihood Recovery and Recovery Planning and Disaster Preparedness.
I am happy to share that despite of unimaginable damage caused by devastating earthquake, the post-quake reconstruction in our country is moving ahead fast and smoothly, in the spirit of building back better. The reconstruction of more than 8,00,000 individual houses is in the final stage and similarly, the reconstruction work of heritages, school buildings, hospitals and government offices is also moving ahead. We are confident that reconstruction process will concluded within next two years.
Taking seriously the alarming challenge caused by climate change, Nepal is going to host a global dialogue Sagarmatha Sambaad under the theme of climate Change, Mountains and Future of Humanity in April 2020. We are hopeful that this Sambaad will provide us a platform for intensive deliberations, sharing and knowledge generation for sustainable and resilient development model and green economy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am really moved by the fact that JAAN is a professional body with highly motivated members and Executive Committee. It is committed to the implementation of its calendar of operation. It has been contributing to strengthening good relation between Nepal and Japan and in the nation building through its several activities.
I appreciate the contributions made by JAAN in strengthening ties between Nepal and Japan. Moreover, its contribution in the revival of JAAFSC has also been laudable. I encourage JAAN to continue its efforts in nation building especially through community development initiatives.
I am confident that this seminar would serve as a forum for strategic communication of opinions of experts to the larger audience of our region. I wish once again all the best for the successful completion of the JAAN’s Annual Function and international disaster management seminar.
I am sure that your stay in Kathmandu will be productive, enjoyable and memorable.
I thank you all for your kind attention.