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Nepal Monitor: The National Online Journal

Nepal Emphasizes UN Reform, Peace and Environmental Justice

Foreign Minister SAHANA PRADHAN ephasizes Nepal's position on national and world affairs in her statement at the 62nd session of the UN general assembly.

What follows is the statement by Sahana Pradhan, leader of the Nepali delegation and Minister for Foreign Affairs at the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly, 1 October 2007, New York:

Mr. President,
Distinguished Heads of State and Government,
Distinguished delegates,
1. I congratulate His Excellency Mr. Srgjan Kerim for being elected the President of the sixty second session of the General Assembly and pledge Nepal’s support in the execution of his duties successfully. I would also like to place on record our appreciation of the leadership of Her Excellency Sheikha Haya Rashed Al Khalifa during the 61st session. My delegation expresses its appreciation to the Secretary General Mr. Ban Ki-Moon for his stewardship of the United Nations and wishes him a very successful tenure.

Mr. President,
2. United Nations today remains only truly global organization to seek solutions to the world’s most pressing issues. The increasing importance of multilateralism has made the United Nations indispensable. The principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter should continue to guide us to address all the issues that confront us. Nepal has adopted these principles and purposes as the basic tenets of its foreign policy.

3. The General Assembly has, before it, important agenda that seek to deal with world’s most pressing issues and problems. I fully agree with the priorities that the President of the General Assembly has outlined for this session.

Mr. President,
4. The pledge of roadmap for development in the form of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) remains to be fully achieved. As we approach half way, this Assembly should review the progress to devise ways and means for achieving the full and effective implementation of the commitments made in the Millennium Declaration. The follow-up conference on Financing for Development to be held in Doha in 2008 should be used as an opportunity to effectively meeting the financing gap and exploring innovative ways of financing for development.

5. We commend the Secretary General for convening a high-level meeting on climate change. I hope that the momentum generated will pave the way for an agreement on climate change with long-term and comprehensive global commitments beyond 2012 starting the process in Bali later this year.

6. Climate change is linked to human security, social and economic development and environmental protection. Scientific studies point out that solution to climate change is within human reach and that we can achieve it without compromising economic development and human progress, if we start to act now.

7. Climate change demands a coordinated and comprehensive global response. As enshrined in the UN Convention on Climate Change, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities should be the basis for addressing the challenges of climate change. Mandatory emission reductions targets are necessary in order to stabilize the greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at safe levels. Industrialized countries should assume the leadership and demonstrate the necessary political will in adopting long-term commitments to reduce emissions.
8. While sea levels are rising, the Himalayan glaciers are retreating and surrounding areas are witnessing increasing intensity of climate change-induced disasters such as glacial lake outbursts, extreme rainfalls, recurring floods and massive landslides.

9. It is an irony that the world’s most vulnerable countries such as least developed and small island countries get the worst effects of climate change though they are least responsible for the same. In the new compact in climate change, there should be special provisions for addressing the mitigation and adaptation needs of the least developed countries and small island nations to address their special vulnerabilities.

Mr. President,
10. Nepal stands firm against any form of terrorism. We have been implementing the provisions of various UN Security Council resolutions to combat international terrorism. An effective implementation of the provisions of the UN global counter-terrorism strategy adopted last year can foster international cooperation against terrorism. We call for an early conclusion of a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. There should be a coordinated global response, including through the mechanism at the United Nations, to address the underlying social, economic and political causes of existence and spread of global terrorism.

Mr. President,
11. Reform of the United Nations has constantly engaged us. We need to reflect contemporary realities for making it more effective, representative, responsive and capable of handling the increasingly complex global problems. The General Assembly needs to be further strengthened as a true decision-making body. We should develop effective mechanism to implement its decisions.

12. The reform of the United Nations should include reform of its Security Council. We support extension of membership in both permanent and non-permanent categories to reflect the current realities of the day. We feel that India, Brazil, Germany and Japan deserve permanent place in the expanded Security Council, while Africa should also be fairly represented. We also favour a tangible improvement in the working methods of the Council. We welcome the agreement that this Assembly should start the inter-governmental negotiations on this important issue as soon as possible.

13. Nepal welcomes the restructuring of the peacekeeping-related departments of the UN Secretariat, including the creation of a new Department of Field Support. In view of the increasing complexity and size of the peacekeeping operations, we hope these changes will further enhance effectiveness of peacekeeping operations and ensure safety and security of the peacekeeping personnel.

14. Nepal has been continuously participating in the UN peacekeeping operations for last five decades. To this date, Nepal has sent over 60,000 troops to over 30 UN missions. At present, Nepal is the fourth largest contributor of troops and police personnel to UN peacekeeping missions. Nepalese blue helmets have been commended for performing extremely well in all circumstances. Many have sacrificed their invaluable lives to the cause of peace worldwide.

15. Peacekeeping is the soul of the United Nations, its largest function, and the most successful invention in the international relations. This enterprise can only succeed with meaningful participation of troops-contributing countries in decision-making processes and their increasing role in senior positions.

Mr. President,
16. Nepal stands for a general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction, including biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons under effective international control in a time-bound manner.

17. We are concerned by the lack of progress on major multilateral negotiations in disarmament, including in nuclear disarmament and in control of illegal proliferation of small arms and light weapons. We call upon the member states, especially the nuclear weapon states, for stepping up measures for disarmament to release much-needed dividends for development. We hope that the newly established office of High Commissioner for disarmament affairs will infuse dynamism in the process.

18. We look forward to the inauguration of the UN Regional Center for Peace and Disarmament for Asia and the Pacific soon in Kathmandu in accordance with the resolution adopted by this Assembly last year for relocation of this centre. The Government of Nepal and the United Nations Secretariat have already signed host country agreement and memorandum of understanding to this effect. Through this Center, Nepal is committed to revitalizing the process of regional disarmament, including the ‘Kathmandu Process’.

Mr. President,
19. The ideals of the Non-Aligned Movement remain as valid today as they were when founded. The principled position of the NAM countries should guide deliberations of this Assembly. I wish to reiterate Nepal’s commitment to the principles of the Non-Aligned Movement, including the principles of non-interference in internal affairs and peaceful co-existence of States.

20. The Group of 77 and China has become highly relevant in advancing the interests of the developing countries in the United Nations. This assembly should continue to protect the interests of the developing countries. We also need to advance meaningful South-South cooperation to complement global partnership and North-South cooperation.

21. We call for concerted efforts to addressing special needs and difficulties of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), including the negative impacts and marginalization from globalization.

22. We urge the developed countries to meet the targeted Official Development Assistance (ODA) to the LDCs, give products of the LDCs duty-free, quota free, and unhindered market access and extend debt relief measures to cover all LDCs. We should ensure an effective implementation of the Brussels Programme of Action for LDCs for the rest of decade based on the mid-term review held last year.

23. I would like to draw the attention of the development partners towards addressing the special needs of the LDCs emerging from conflict and the need to support them financially and technically, to help them achieve sustained peace and development and prevent a relapse back into the conflict situation.

24. The landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) face special difficulties in transit and transport of goods and services to and from sea. The Almaty Programme should be sincerely implemented for meaningful cooperation in transit, transport and trade facilitation in the landlocked developed countries. The mid-term review process of the Programme to be held in 2008 should focus on fulfilling gaps in implementation of the agreed commitments.

25. We must not delay any further WTO trade negotiations for advancing Doha Development Agenda. These negotiations should find ways to further protect the interests of the least developed and landlocked countries to make them able to competing in global markets. In particular, the international community must meet resources gap, operationalize aid for trade initiatives, strengthen trading capacities and support trade adjustment costs in the LDCs and the LLDCs.

Mr. President,
26. Nepal welcomes the proposal for UN system-wide coherence on development, environment and humanitarian issues. This process should strengthen the national and regional focus and country ownership of development programs.

27. We support effective gender architecture in the United Nations and even stronger regional and country presence of UN on gender issues. Nepal accords high priority to promotion of women’s right, gender equality and empowerment of women. A parliamentary declaration adopted on May 30, 2006 has provided for equal property and citizenship rights to women and their representation on at least one third of the elected bodies, including in the parliament.

28. Nepal is committed to the protection and promotion of the rights of children, including those affected by conflict. The peace agreement provides for immediate release of children if found recruited as combatants and their rehabilitation and integration back into their families. The government is committed to implementing recommendations of the Security Council working group on children and armed conflict in Nepal.

Mr. President.
29. The United Nations has been rather slow to respond to world’s major conflicts and humanitarian crises- from Middle East to Darfur to Somalia. Though the agreement on African Union-UN hybrid operation in Darfur is a step forward, there were missed opportunities in addressing this long-standing humanitarian crisis.

30. Situation in Afghanistan and Iraq demand a more proactive UN engagement. UN should continue to play a constructive role to help these countries to stabilization, national unity and reconciliation.

31. We support democratic aspirations of people all over the world. We hope that solution to Myanmar’s internal situation will be found by the people of that country through dialogue and democratic process.

Mr. President,
32. Nepal has been sheltering over 100,000 refugees from Bhutan on humanitarian grounds since 1990. There is a stalemate in this long-standing crisis, mainly because of reluctance of Bhutan to implement the agreements already reached or to engage in negotiations with a view to finding any other acceptable solution. This procrastination has made refugees run out of patience. True solution to this problem lies in the opportunity for the refugees to be able to return to Bhutan and to participate in political process of the country in a fully democratic way taking into account the cultural diversity and human rights of people. However, we are positively considering the offers made by some countries the option of third country resettlement as a part of provisional solution, should the refugees so choose voluntarily. This should not absolve Bhutan from their responsibility towards their exiled citizens, as this is a problem between the refugees and the Bhutanese regime. Nepal appreciates the continued humanitarian assistance extended by the international community, the UNHCR and other agencies for the care of refugees.

Mr. President,
33. Nepal is in the process of putting behind the decade-long internal conflict though unique and an internally-driven peace process. We are committed to bring the peace process to a successful conclusion. The government is engaged in dialogue with the Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist, to ensure the election to the Constituent Assembly is held on November 22, honoring and implementing the commitments in the peace agreements sincerely.

34. It is through dialogue that the government of Nepal recently concluded agreements with the Madhesi and Janajati leaders, allowing them a stronger voice in the political dispensation and a more inclusive representation in the Constituent Assembly.

35. Despite the challenges associated with the peace process, the government is determined to holding the elections to Constituent Assembly on time. With necessary technical, legal and logistical competence, the Election Commission has made preparations to hold the elections as scheduled in a free and fair manner. I would like to invite friendly countries and organizations to send observers during the elections to Constituent Assembly in Nepal.
36. People of Nepal have expressed their desire for a peaceful political and socio-economic transformation. They have voiced for an inclusive, democratic and participatory restructuring of the State. I have every confidence that the peace process will reap numerous dividends to the Nepalese people to create a “new Nepal”. We expect generous assistance from our development partners in this process, including in Nepal’s reconstruction and development needs.

37. On behalf of the people and Government of Nepal, I express sincere gratitude to the international community for their strong support and solidarity during our struggle for democracy, and in the ongoing peace process.
38. Last year, we invited the United Nations to facilitate the peace process through the monitoring of arms and technical support to the elections to the Constituent Assembly. We appreciate the Secretary General for his personal attention and interest to assist the peace process. We commend the role played by the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in this process.

Mr. President,
39. The Government is steadfast in protecting and promoting human rights as per its international commitments. We welcome the adoption of universal periodic review of all member States in the Human Rights Council. This exercise should be free from politicization, selectivity and double standards.

40. There has been a remarkable improvement in the protection of human rights in Nepal since the start of the peace process. The Government has extended full cooperation to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Nepal. The recent appointment of National Human Rights Commission is expected to further enhance our national capability to protect and promote human rights.

41. The Government is determined to bring an end to an environment of impunity that was present during the armed conflict. We hope the setting up of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, as stipulated in the peace agreement, will also help us put our past behind and prevent recurrence of the grave violations of human rights.

42. As a nation of diverse ethnic composition and home to various indigenous peoples, Nepal welcomes the adoption of UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples by the General Assembly this year. We hope that the declaration will serve as useful reference for the indigenous issues worldwide.

Mr. President,
43. In conclusion, the General Assembly has before it an important opportunity to address the most pressing issues of lasting significance to our times. We should strive to advance agreements to address climate change, follow up on the MDGs, seek new resources to finance development, break the impasse on negotiations in trade and disarmament, and reform the UN Security Council. We should also seek solutions to outstanding conflicts and humanitarian crises.

44. Today, the world’s major problems are demanding the leadership of the United Nations. We should rise up to the occasion and demonstrate our ability to work together to solve urgent problems confronting us. Solutions to most global problems are within our reach, if we act in unison guided by our collective wisdom and reason. Together we can make progress in all these areas. I pledge Nepal’s constructive participation in arriving at important decisions in all these issues here at the United Nations.

I thank you.

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Posted by Editor on October 2, 2007 11:53 AM