Statement by the Prime Minister and the Leader of Nepali Delegation Rt. Hon. Mr. Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at the General Debate of the 78th Session of United Nations General Assembly
(New York, 21 September 2023)
“Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity: Accelerating Action on the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals towards Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability for All”
I congratulate you, Mr. President, and members of the Bureau, on your respective elections.
I also express my deep appreciation to the UN Secretary-General Mr. Antonio Guterres for his unremitting efforts to strengthen the United Nations and promote the cause of multilateralism.
There could be no better time to deliberate on the theme ‘Rebuilding Trust and Reigniting Global Solidarity’, particularly when trust and cooperation are in short supply and crisis of confidence reign the world.
Today, due to the resurgence of geopolitical competition, power polarization and economic nationalism, maintenance of world peace and security, the foremost goal of the UN Charter, have come under serious strain. Spending on arms is on the rise, but resources for the realization of the 2030 Agenda have become scarce.
We must correct this course and focus on our common goals of peace, prosperity, and progress.
It is time to build trust, promote partnership and collaboration, and work in solidarity when the world is facing the challenges of unprecedented scale and nature.
I have fond memories of addressing this august Assembly back in 2008 as the Prime Minister of a country that had just made a transformation of historic proportion- a transformation from armed conflict to an inclusive and nationally owned peace process; a transformation from centuries old feudal monarchical rule to a democratic republican order; and a transformation to a multi-party democratic polity where participation of all sections of our society is ensured.
Fifteen years on, we have come a long way. We successfully transitioned through a nationally led peace process. We promulgated a democratic Constitution in 2015 by an elected constituent assembly, which has consolidated the universally recognized values of human rights, participatory democracy, periodic elections, inclusive proportional representation, full press freedom, independent judiciary, and the rule of law.
The successive two cycles of federal, provincial, and local elections have resulted in increased participation of women, dalits, youths and under-represented communities at all levels of governance. We have been able to ensure 41% representation of women in local assemblies. A minimum of 33% representation of women is constitutionally guaranteed in the provincial assemblies and federal parliament.
We have firmly established that the sovereignty lies in Nepali people, and they are the real source of state power.
We are now closer to logically concluding our unique, nationally owned, and home-grown peace process. Completing the remaining task of transitional justice is top on my political agenda. As Prime Minister and a co-signatory of the Comprehensive Peace Accord, I have been making serious efforts to bridge the gaps and build consensus among the key stakeholders.
An Amendment Bill related to the transitional justice has been tabled at the Federal Parliament to address the concerns of the victims, strike a right balance between peace, justice and reparation, and to make the transitional justice process broadly owned by our society. The proposed Bill, evolved through a wider consultative process, takes a victim-centric approach and recognizes reparation as victim’s right.
In the process, there will be no blanket amnesty for the serious violation of human rights. The ultimate objective is to establish an enduring peace in the country and foster harmony in society through peace, justice, and reconciliation.
I appeal the international community for their goodwill and support to the conclusion of the final leg of our peace process and to duly recognize this rare example of successful conflict transformation.
As Nepal’s political course has taken a stable shape, our focus is now on the agenda of economic transformation. We are aware that political achievements can only be sustained by socio-economic growth and development.
It is not least in this light that the central focus of the current government is on mobilizing all its energy and resources to accelerate development works and ensure good governance.
We are graduating from the LDC status by 2026; and we are committed to making our graduation smooth, sustainable, and irreversible.
We are currently in the process of finalizing the smooth transition strategy of graduation.
We have put SDGs at the center of our development vision and priorities. However, crises such as COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and heightened geo-political competition have threatened our hard-earned progress in SDGs.
We, therefore, call for an enhanced level of international support in the form of development assistance, foreign direct investment, export promotion, SDR allocation, technology transfer and technical assistance.
Nepal welcomes Secretary General’s call for an increase in SDG financing by US Dollar 500 billion per year.
As the current LDCs chair, we remain actively engaged in collaboration with fellow LDCs in all relevant forums including in the UN system to protect and promote our collective interest.
We stress the need to mainstream the Doha Program of Action into all important UN processes and development system, and the development cooperation framework of our partners.
We call for a fair and equitable international trading regime that benefits the LDCs.
Coordinated policies aimed at debt relief, debt restructuring, and debt swap as envisaged by the DPoA must be translated into reality.
Climate change has assumed a crisis proportion and the clock is ticking. Our inaction or little action will surely invite disastrous consequences for humanity. We must, therefore, set higher ambitions and commit ourselves to achieving those ambitions in a time-bound manner.
Climate vulnerable mountainous countries like Nepal have been bearing the severe brunt of climate change.
The Himalayas are the source of fresh water for over two billion people. Global warming has induced rapid receding of ice in our Himalayas. It has not only eroded the health of our mountains but also endangered the lives and livelihoods of millions of people living downstream.
The human and financial toll due to floods, droughts, and other extreme climate induced events is terrifying.
On our part, we remain fully committed to the effective implementation of the Paris Agreement and achieving its goals.
Nepal has set an ambitious target of reaching a net-zero scenario by 2045. We have already submitted our updated NDC and aligned our national policies and plans with it.
Our priorities include conserving and sustainably managing land, forest, and water resources; undertaking effective adaptation and mitigation measures; and promoting a green and resilient economy.
To this end, we are working to ensure access to clean energy for all citizens.
Easy access to climate finance will be the key to low-carbon and climate resilient development pathways.
Equally crucial are the early operationalization of the loss and damage fund, fulfilling the target of the 100 billion US Dollars commitment as well as doubling up of the adaptation climate finance.
It is an irony that my country Nepal, with 45 percent of its area as forest with rich biodiversity and 15 percent of its land as high mountains, releases least Green House Gas Emission but contributes significantly to ecological preservation, has unfairly suffered from climate crisis. This kind of mismatch must be addressed through a compensation mechanism to the countries that positively contribute to the greening of the planet.
It is quite distressing that conflicts within and between countries are on the rise.
Nepal opposes any use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity, political independence, and sovereignty of any country.
People of Libya, Syria and Yemen continue to bear the brunt of protracted crises. Their suffering must end. We believe that the UN brokered truce in Yemen must be allowed to transition to a sustained peace. The protracted stalemate in Libya must give a way to peace and reconciliation.
The Palestinian people deserve peace ending the prolonged conflict. Nepal reiterates its support for a two-state solution with Israel and Palestine, living peacefully side by side, within recognized international borders based on the relevant UN resolutions.
We continue to support nationally owned, peaceful, just, and lasting solutions to conflicts around the world. Peace founded on inclusion, empowerment, economic prosperity, and justice stands a better chance to last longer.
Proliferation of weapons of mass destruction continues to threaten peace and security in the world.
Constant stockpiling of nuclear arsenals, growing arms race and ever-increasing military expenditure are worrisome.
Nepal reiterates its call for total and time-bound disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction including biological, chemical, nuclear, and radiological weapons.
As the host country to UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament in Asia and the Pacific, Nepal believes that regional processes, including the Kathmandu Process, reinforce the global disarmament regime.
The void of international governance on cyberspace and artificial intelligence demands multilateral regulation. Dual use of artificial intelligence urgently calls for informed deliberations on preventing its potential misuse and strengthening of international cooperation.
Nepal condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. We call for an early conclusion of a comprehensive global treaty against terrorism.
Nepal’s commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights is total and unflinching. We believe in an integrated approach to democracy, development, and human rights.
Nepal attaches great importance to the safety, security, dignity, and wellbeing of migrant workers. We call for effective implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to ensure that migration works for all.
The principles of Panchasheel, non-alignment, the UN Charter, international law, and norms of world peace continue to guide Nepal’s foreign policy.
Amity, cordiality, and fraternity are the underlying ethos of our international engagements.
We want to promote relations with our neighbours and all other friendly countries on the basis of sovereign equality, non-interference, and mutual respect.
We remain steadfast in our commitment to multilateralism, with the United Nations at its centre.
True to our commitment, Nepal continues to contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security through our consistent participation to the UN mandated peacekeeping operations for the last 65 years.
Currently the second-largest troops and police contributing country, we have always deployed our peacekeepers at every call and without any caveat, even in the most challenging situations.
Our peacekeepers have earned distinct repute of dedication, professionalism and competence which has been widely acknowledge by the United Nations, the host governments, and societies alike.
We reiterate our call for fair share of leadership positions at the headquarters and in the field to the troops and police contributing countries.
We know today’s global governance architecture largely reflects yesterday’s world. Timely reform is essential for the multilateral institutions to remain relevant and to reflect today’s realities.
Nepal supports the reform of the UN Security Council to make it broadly representative, democratic, transparent, and accountable. We call for the revitalization of the General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council with greater role to these vital organs.
We need an inclusive and effective multilateralism to better respond to and deliver on the needs of the people and the planet.
Structural reform to the international financial architecture is long overdue. The voice of the countries in special situation, including the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS, must be heard. Their meaningful representation must be ensured.
Only a more democratic, inclusive, fair and representative international financial architecture can be an antidote to the deep-rooted inequities and gaps.
In conclusion, Mr. President, it is our collective responsibility to ensure peace and prosperity for everyone, everywhere and to ensure that no one is left behind:
I thank you for your kind attention!