KATHMANDU, Mar 4: Amid growing concerns over the rapid spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) in different parts of the world and a number of countries putting in place travel restriction as precautionary measure, the government has decided to defer the much-touted Sagarmatha Sambad with a plan to host it ahead of the COP26 scheduled to be held in Glasglow in September.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Gyawali said they have decided to defer the event amid concerns of coronavirus with a plan to host it ahead of the COP26. “With the government taking decision not to host any international event or conferences for now, we have decided to defer the Sagarmatha Sambaad until the situation improves. We intend to host the event before the COP26,” he said.
The Sagarmatha Sambaad—a multi-stakeholder, permanent global dialogue forum proposed by Nepal to deliberate on climate change issues facing the country—was originally scheduled to be held on April 2-4 in Kathmandu. “Climate Change, Mountains and the Future of Humanity" has been picked as the theme of the first edition of Sagarmatha Sambaad.
Officials said the government is now planning to host the event in August if the situation of coronavirus outbreak normalizes by then. But this largely depends on how the situation unfolds.
Minister Gyawali said they were compelled to take a decision to defer the event even though they were receiving overwhelming response from various countries. “We were overwhelmed to receive the response so far to our invitation. We expect similar kind of response to our invitation when we plan the event next time,” he said.
Gyawali said that they had already received confirmation of participation from 10 highest level political delegations, 30 political delegations and dozens of prominent think tanks and research institutions around the world for the event. “We are feeling uncomfortable for having to defer this kind of big event,” he said.