Statement by Right Honourable Mr. Nanda Bahadur Pun, Vice President and Leader of the Nepali delegation to the 17th Summit of Non-Aligned Movement Margarita Island, Venezuela, 17 September 2016
- I have the honour and privilege to represent Nepal at the 17th Summit meeting of the Non-aligned Movement (NAM) being held in this spectacular Margarita Island.
- At the outset, I express my sincere gratitude to the Government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for the warm welcome, generous hospitality extended and for the excellent arrangements that have been put at our disposal since our arrival.
- On behalf of the Government and People of Nepal, let me also join other delegations in congratulating you, Mr. Chairman, on your election as the chair of 17th NAM Summit. We have every confidence in your leadership in steering this meeting to a successful outcome. My appreciation also goes to the Islamic Republic of Iran, outgoing Chair of the movement, for the commendable leadership in the process of strengthening our movement since the 16th NAM Summit.
- As a founding member of the Movement, Nepal has unwavering faith in the fundamental principles and ideals of the Movement. The Constitution of Nepal endorses non-alignment as one of the guiding principles of Nepal’s foreign policy. This manifests our strong commitment to the principles of NAM.
- Since its inception in 1961, NAM is at the forefront in struggles against the bloc politics, colonialism, apartheid, racism, occupation and pressures. NAM played crucial role to accelerate the pace of self-determination of peoples under colonial and alien domination; and to consolidate the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of member States. The movement has also provided major thrusts in the areas of disarmament, peace, security, greater economic wellbeing, social justice and environmental sustainability. We are confident that this summit would enable us to take stock of achievements made and reflect upon how we, member States, with shared vision and combined strength should respond to the multifaceted and evolving challenges that we all continue to face.
- The aftermath of the cold war was expected bringing thaw in the ideologically divided international political landscape. However, it’s an irony that the members of the NAM themselves became engulfed in the intra-state conflicts, violence, ethnic strife, and religious fanaticism. For the movement to reinvigorate itself and demonstrate its continued relevance will require our internal cohesion and coherence as much as our unity, sustained solidarity and shared commitment.
- Today’s world has put both opportunities and challenges especially before the developing countries. We believe that the environment for the lasting peace and security conducive to people-centric development can only be guaranteed under strengthened multilateralism. This provides us much needed synergy to fight against the menace of global terrorism and various forms of transnational crimes. Slow progress in disarmament has taken toll on the scarce resources direly needed to improve the lives of millions of people. NAM’s principled stand on multilateralism should promote consensus on disarmament and coherence on our collective fight against the challenges confronting the world today.
- NAM is a voice for peace, justice and equality and it should advance this cause with more zeal. We are deeply concerned over the deadlock of the peace process in the Middle East. It has been our principled position that the Palestine and Israel should live side by side in peace and security with secure international boarder. Syria is in turmoil now. Disproportionate numbers of innocent people have lost their lives and millions have been displaced; yet the solution appears elusive. This humanitarian catastrophe should be avoided. We urge all the parties concerned in the region to enter into dialogue without delay and allow peace a chance. Any solution to the Syrian conflict must be led and owned by Syrian people.
- We believe that UN system has a leading role to play in global governance. NAM draws significantly from the principles and purposes of the UN Charter. Respect for sovereign equality, independence and territorial integrity of States and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries must be upheld by all in all circumstances. Peaceful resolution of disputes and fostering an environment of cooperation are of critical importance for ensuring peace and security. The third pillar of the United Nations is weak. We must accord equal emphasis on development, peace and security, and human rights as they are mutually reinforcing. The United Nations itself is in need of reform in order to reflect the vastly transformed political reality of the present day world. Our vision for peaceful and just world order needs comprehensive reform in the UN system and adherence to the rule of law at national, regional and international level.
- There has been much talk about the new humane and equitable international economic order. In reality, globalization and trade liberalization have accrued uneven benefits among states. A large segment of humanity feels to have been left out. The risks coming together with globalization have made developing countries more vulnerable to the shocks of financial and economic crisis, climate change, food crisis, and energy price volatility. The situation becomes bleaker, as the official development assistance continues to decline, the debt burden spirals, market access for our goods and services face restrictions and the conditionality of the international financial institutions remain static. NAM should position itself for the removal of entrenched and systematic inequalities and should continue to stand for global economic justice and shared prosperity to all.
- Trade must contribute to reduce poverty and foster growth. Doha round of trade negotiations has long been stalled. Tendency to evade from the Doha Development Agenda risks negating the development dividend of the multilateral trading system. Multilateral trading and financial systems must not fail to recognize the special and differentiated situation of the LDCs and LLDCs and should aim at supporting those countries come forward.
- Flow of trade among the NAM Member States has increased manifold. Countries in the South today are leading financer in many areas, including in technologies. South is in better position than ever before to foster South-South cooperation which should be diversified and strengthened in a meaningful way to incorporate all possible areas of mutual benefits. Genuine North-South and triangular cooperation can contribute for development and democratize decision-making structures of the international financial institutions and World Trade Organization. It can also help implement the declarations, commitments, and plan of actions adopted in the various UN sponsored conferences and their follow up meetings. We urge the developed countries to fulfill their commitments of providing 0.7 percent of the GNP to the developing countries and 0.15 to 0.20 percent of GNP to the LDCs as official development assistance
- The United Nations has adopted much awaited Sustainable Development Goals last year. This is a time for international community to translate the motto of the SDG conference ‘leave no one behind’ into reality. The LDCs and LLDCs in particular need assistance to overcome structural challenges, eradicate poverty, and promote rapid, equitable and sustainable development. Together with the SDGs we emphasize on full implementation of the commitments made in the Istanbul Program of Action for LDCs and Vienna Program of Action for LLDCs.
- The new democratic and inclusive constitution was adopted in Nepal on 20 September last year by the popularly elected Constituent Assembly. People of Nepal had long-cherished aspiration to have a constitution written by their own representatives. Nepal had gone through series of political movements, decade long armed conflict and struggles to realize this aspiration. The rigorous democratic exercises spanning over eight years in an inclusive, transparent and participatory manner culminated into the making of the constitution. This marks a historic political watershed. The Constitution ensures inclusive and democratic polity, pluralism, the rule of law, representative and accountable government, social and economic justice and universally accepted human rights. The constitution guarantees equality, dignity, identity and opportunity for all by ending discrimination and inequalities. Fundamental rights of persons belonging to the mosaic of multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and geographically diverse country are safeguarded. Gender equality which remains at the core of the constitution has already produced female President, Chief Justice and Speaker of the parliament at a time. The constitution adheres to the principles of inclusion and participation, and ensures social justice to all.
- We are now in the process of making arrangements to hold democratic elections at all levels of our political structure. The present Government of Nepal has accorded priority to the implementation of the constitution, completing of the remaining issues of peace process, reconstruction and rebuilding of the earthquake ravaged areas, and attaining inclusive prosperity and development. This would help institutionalize the federal democratic system of governance as promised by the Constitution.
- Nepal is land of Lord Buddha and home to the spectacular Mount Everest, the highest point on earth. The vast fresh water resources sprung from the Himalayas constitute the lifeline of millions of people living in the great Himalayan watershed. Impact of climate change in the form of melting glaciers and its environmental consequences has posed danger in the fragile mountain ecosystem. Like other LDCs, we are bearing the brunt of the climate change while having contributed least to greenhouse gas emissions. NAM should accord high priority to this critical issue. Climate vulnerable LDCs in particular should be ensured with necessary funding for adaption and mitigation as well as for easy access to technical knowhow to minimize the negative impacts of climate change.
- Nepal plans to graduate by 2022 from LDC status. This uphill task is constrained by the devastating earthquake that struck Nepal in 2015 twice. Around 9 thousand people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of houses and historical monuments perished. As we have accelerated the pace of reconstruction; an enhanced, comprehensive and robust international support would be instrumental in our endeavor of rebuilding of earthquake ravaged areas.
- We are happy to see NAM’s evolution as a major inter-governmental forum with a great moral strength. I conclude my statement by stressing on three points: First, peace and harmony among the Member States is a must for the NAM to continuously stay as a coherent force. Second, sense of genuine solidarity and unity within the movement is important for us to thrive. And third, NAM must adapt to the changing ground realities of the world and try to influence the events in favor of the developing countries, particularly the most vulnerable among them. I am confident that this summit would be able to chart out our future course to further the collective interests of the movement.
I thank you.