Statement by Hon. Mr. Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Leader of Nepali Delegation to the 74thSession of United Nations General Assembly
New York, 27 September 2019
Ladies and Gentlemen
I wish to congratulate you, Mr. President, and members of the Bureau on your election and assure you of our full support in the discharge of your responsibilities.
I also appreciate the role played by Her Excellency Maria Fernanda Espinosa, as the President of the73rd session of the Assembly.
Our acclamation goes to the Secretary-General His Excellency Mr. Antonio Guterres for bringing reforms to make the United Nations fit-for-purpose.
The world today stands at crossroads. Landscapes of global order are undergoing profound transformation. The problems of yesterday haven’t subsided, yet new challenges are menacing.
Inequality – of income or opportunities; and of technology or capability – is increasing.
Trade tensions among the largest economies are giving rise to unpredictability and risk of recession.
The ensuing insecurity and disorder hurt the countries such as LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS the most.
The peril of climate change is outpacing our response. The threat is truly existential in terms of sustainability of planet and future of humanity.
It is the poorest and most vulnerable countries that are hit hardest by the impacts of climate change. Despite their negligible emissions, they face the consequences which are disproportionate, unjust and undue.
In this context, Nepal appreciates the Secretary-General’s leadership in convening the Climate Action Summit on 23 September 2019. It was another milestone to chart out sustainable path in the face of obstinate ignorance of climate science.
Home to Sagarmatha, also known as the Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world, Nepal lies at the hotspot of climate change. The Himalayas, as the barometer of climate change, are witnessing the melting of glaciers and drying up of the fresh water in a faster pace.
A report by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) published this year reveals that one-third of the glaciers will melt away from the Hindu Kush and Himalaya range by the end of this century even if we meet the 1.5 degrees commitment.
This is alarming.
The climate induced disasters wreak havoc every year. This year alone, several Nepali people lost their lives to floods and tornado.
Keeping in mind the seriousness of the issue and realization of our own responsibility, the Government of Nepal has decided to convene a global dialogue in April next year under the theme of climate change. This will be the first episode of the Sagarmatha Dialogue established by Nepal to deliberate on critical issues of contemporary importance.
Nepal pins a great hope on the centrality of the United Nations for galvanizing multilateral efforts to address the cross-cutting and global challenges, such as; poverty reduction and achieving SDGs.
We have abiding trust in multilateralism and we believe that only alternative to it is a better, effective, inclusive, and responsive multilateralism.
The adoption of the Agenda 2030 was a display of inclusive multilateralism at its best. The Agenda can be implemented if similar spirit guides our actions with renewed sense of partnership and with all stakeholders shouldering the responsibility.
In the last four years, the SDGs scorecard shows mixed progress. Poverty has decreased but the rate of reduction is decelerating. The unemployment rate has dropped but the wages remain stagnated. Food insecurity and hunger are in a regressive track.
An enhanced level of collaboration is critical to mobilize required resources for the attainment of the SDGs as well as Universal Health Coverage.
In the countries like Nepal, there is a big gap of resources in order to fully realize the SDGs by 2030. Mobilizing domestic financial resources is our priority. However, national efforts need to be complemented by international support measures in the form of technical, financial, investment and other means of support, particularly to the LDCs and LLDCs.
The world has made great strides in wealth creation and advancement of technology. So has been the progress in life expectancy, literacy, basic education and reducing maternal and infant mortality.
Sadly, the progress has not been evenly distributed. Women and girls, people with disabilities, ageing population still bear the disproportionate brunt of poverty and inequalities. Inequality within and between countries is growing.
In this context, Beijing+25, International Conference on Population and Development+25 and mid-term review of Vienna Program of Action would provide important opportunities to reset the actions in accelerated pace.
Nepal appreciates the Secretary-General’s strategy on bringing gender parity.
Nepal welcomes the reforms towards creating synergy and coherence of the UN system adhering to the principle of keeping people at the centre. We are hopeful that the new generation of country teams and RCs live up to the expectation by delivering more.
We hope that the renewed thrust of UN reforms will also propel the reforms of the Security Council. Our efforts must be towards making the Security Council representative in structure, transparent in function, democratic in character and accountable in performance.
The agenda of revitalizing the work of the General Assembly, including its enhanced role and authority is long overdue. We must take this reform with priority.
The deteriorating financial situation of the Organization is a matter of serious concern. It will impede the fulfillment of its mandates and responsibilities.
Heightened geopolitical complexities, defunct disarmament architecture, and absence of order in cyber and outer space endanger international peace and stability.
Arms race coupled with growing distrust among major players appears symptomatic to a new form of division with regard to critical issues of peace and security.
Here lies the importance of stronger and effective United Nations to promote trust and cooperation.
Nepal supports general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction.
We are concerned with the collapse of INF treaty, pull out of an important party from the Iran Nuclear deal, and stalemate in the Conference on Disarmament.
Such trends should not encourage the penchant for nuclear armaments.
Nepal is in support of effective and verifiable nuclear weapons free zones.
We stand for a legally binding multilateral disarmament regime for ensuring global security and stability.
As a signatory to the 2017 Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, we expect to complete internal legal process for its ratification soon.
We reiterate that the outer space must be kept free of arms race for the greater benefit of humanity.
As the host country to the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, Nepal calls for strengthening of the regional approaches to disarmament including the ‘Kathmandu Process’ to complement the global initiatives.
Problems of transnational organized crime, human and drug trafficking and terrorisms transcend national boundaries. Flow of illicit money for financing crimes must be dealt with stringent measures and cooperation among the States.
Nepal condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We call for effective implementation of existing conventions and resolutions including the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy.
Conclusion of a comprehensive convention against terrorism should not be delayed any longer.
The violent conflicts in Libya, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere continue unabated inflicting human sufferings.
Conflict induced problems including human rights violations, exodus of refugees and forced migration have global ramifications.
We believe in peaceful settlement of conflicts and disputes through negotiations and dialogues, and without external interferences.
Robust conflict prevention and peace-building measures are critical for sustaining peace. The under-utilized tool of mediation can potentially help bring an agreeable solution to conflicts.
We want to see meaningful steps being taken to resolve the protracted Middle East issue. We support a two-state solution for Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace and security with secure and recognized international borders based on relevant United Nations resolutions.
Nepal welcomes the dialogues between the United Sates and DPRK and between the two Koreas. We hope the initiatives will lead to lasting peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.
True to our commitment to the UN Charter, Nepal has rendered one of the most dedicated, reliable and professional services to the UN peace operations for over six decades.
Our peacekeepers have been deployed without caveats at the shortest notice even in fragile and asymmetric threat environments. Safety, security and dignity of peacekeepers is therefore critically important for us.
It is in this spirit, we endorsed the Declaration of Shared Commitments in support of the ‘Action for Peacekeeping’ (A4P) initiative last year.
We appreciate the role of DPO and DOS and the UN as a whole in maintaining peace and order through peacekeeping operations.
Peace operations require predictable, adequate and sustained resources for their success. Timely and full reimbursement to troops and police-contributing countries is essential to ensure that these brave personnel continue to render best performance even in adverse situations.
Troops and police contributing countries should receive due share of leadership positions both in the field and headquarters.
Nepal is committed to progressively deploying more women peacekeepers. We do not condone sexual exploitation and abuse in peacekeeping missions and therefore we have endorsed the Kigali principles.
Sendai Framework calls for global cooperation for reducing the risk of large-scale natural disasters.
Nepal has harmonized its national strategies on Disaster Risk Reduction with those of Sendai Framework, the SDGs, the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the outcomes of the World Humanitarian Summit.
Learning lessons from the 2015 earthquakes, Nepal has focused on resilience of infrastructures.
Even being a landlocked country, we equally care about oceans. We believe that there is an organic linkage between oceans and mountains. We are concerned because health of oceans is deteriorating alarmingly due mainly to climate change and reckless human activities.
We are confident that the new international legally binding instrument on BBNJ– currently under negotiation– will prove to be a milestone international law in protection and conservation of marine biodiversity.
A phenomenon as old as the human civilization, migration comes as a defining mega-trend of our times.
Ensuring the rights and wellbeing of the migrant workers is a matter of our priority.
The Global Compact on Migration adopted in December last year is an important steppingstone and a good example of multilateralism at work. We urge all member States to own the process and be part of this outcome.
As a host to a large number of refugees for decades, Nepal firmly believes in refugees’ right to return to their home country in safety and dignity.
Nepal’s commitment to the universal values of human rights is total.
The Constitution of Nepal is founded on the fundamentals of inclusive democracy, pluralism, rule of law, secularism, representative and accountable government, social justice, and human rights.
We are fully committed to concluding the transitional justice process in line with the Comprehensive Peace Accord, directive of the Supreme Court, relevant international commitments, concerns of the victims and the ground realities.
We hold that democracy, development and respect for human rights are interdependent and mutually reinforcing.
As a member of the Human Rights Council, we have been promoting those ideals in an independent, apolitical and objective manner.
To contribute further, Nepal has presented its candidature for the re-election to the Human Rights Council for the term 2021-2023.
We greatly count on the valuable support of all UN member States.
Nepal’s Foreign policy is guided by the five principles of peaceful coexistence, non-alignment, UN Charter, international law, and norms of world peace.
‘Amity with all, enmity with none’ has been our operational motto. We believe in an inclusive, just and fair international order.
Nepal believes that regional processes complement global efforts for peace, security and economic development. We strive to enhance regional economic cooperation under SAARC, BIMSTEC and ACD. As the current chair, we are effortful to revitalize the stalled SAARC process.
Nepal’s democratic transformation presents a uniquely successful, nationally led and owned peace process. We would be happy to share our experience that may be useful to those in conflict.
Building on the historic political transformation, the Government of Nepal is now focused on economic agenda to sustain political gains under an overarching national aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’.
We have created an investment friendly atmosphere with substantive policy and legal reforms. One window service is operational with almost all sectors open for 100 percent foreign investment.
We have recently adopted the Fifteenth Five-Year Plan with a longer-term development perspective.
Graduation from the LDC status is part of our plan. The 2030 Agenda and other internationally agreed goals and targets have been integrated in our national plans and programs.
Peace, tolerance and harmony are intrinsic to Nepali culture and way of life. Lumbini in Nepal is not only the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, but also the fountain of peace, the ultimate destination for tranquility of mind and spiritual fulfillment. We want to promote this world heritage at the international stage. We aim to host the UN Day of Vesak in 2021.
Before I conclude, let me reiterate Nepal’s profound commitment to the principles and purposes of the United Nations. We firmly believe in the centrality of the United Nations in promoting multilateralism.
Viewing from the crossroads of history, we see no alternative to multilateralism to ensure peace, security and order in the world.
It is incumbent upon us, the Member States, to make this organization a strong platform of collaboration and dialogue for resolving differences and finding solutions to the challenges.
Only an empowered and reformed United Nations reflective of the present-day reality can achieve these critical responsibilities.
I thank you all for your attention.