PM addresses 72nd Session of UNGA, says global challenges reinforce the role and responsibility of UN
September 24, 2017 12:00 PM NPT
NEW YORK, Sept 23: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has said that the global community faces a more complex and polarized environment with multiple transnational challenges ranging from terrorism, climate change, energy deficiency, food insecurity and mass migration to extremism.
He emphasized that all these challenges reinforced the role and responsibility of the United Nations.
Prime Minister and the Leader of Nepali Delegation to the 72nd Session of United Nations General Assembly, Deuba said this in his statement in the UNGA session today.
Stating that it has been almost two decades since he first addressed from this podium, he said, "In decades that followed, the world has witnessed profound transformation. While there are some notable achievements in poverty reduction, school enrollment, gender equality and combatting communicable diseases, it is not without multiple and complex challenges."
He maintained that the world has become more inter-dependent, and better connected, while growing interdependence and pluralism have unleashed both challenges and opportunities.
A big geopolitical transformation is in the making, PM said, adding that the rise of inward looking tendency in some of the nation-states marked by the tide of populism on both the left and the right have created confusion over the course of world politics.
"Global community faces a more complex and polarized environment with multiple transnational challenges ranging from terrorism, climate change, energy deficiency, food insecurity, and mass migration to extremism," PM Deuba stated.
He said that ethnic tensions and intra-state conflicts have taken toll on millions of innocent lives, and the sufferings of people in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen have not abated.
"Unfortunately, our efforts have been too little, and often too late. All these challenges reinforce the role and responsibility of the United Nations," he reiterated.
Saying that as the world embarks upon a path of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he pointed out such challenges were the litmus tests for our leadership.
The choice of the theme for our deliberations at this Assembly "Focusing on people: striving for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet" provides a clear direction ahead, he added.
PM Deuba said – "Path to peace and decent life for all will remain elusive without resources and commitment for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. A very small fraction of trillions of dollars spent in armament can help the countries in need to attain these goals.
Delivery on commitments, inclusive process, coordinated efforts and shared responsibilities backed by adequate resources are essential to secure sustainable future and ensure that no one is left behind."
Call for complete disarmament
Reminding that the vicious race for weapons of mass destruction continues to threaten the world, the Prime Minister said Nepal called for a time-bound, general and complete disarmament.
"Nepal welcomes the confidence-building measures on conventional weapons, ending nearly two decades of stalemate in the UN Disarmament Commission.
Nepal has signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons as a step towards nuclear disarmament."
Nepal deplores the continued defiance by DPRK of the repeated calls of the UN Security Council and the international community, he said and urged the DPRK to abide by all the relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council. "We believe this alone safeguards peace and promotes stability on the Korean Peninsula," he added.
PM Deuba further stated that as the host to the Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament for the Asia-Pacific, Nepal underlines the need to reactivate the regional disarmament deliberations under the Kathmandu Process.
According to the PM, violent extremism and religious fundamentalism have undermined peace and security in different parts of the world - with more youths being radicalized, with more lives being devastated, societies turning intolerant.
Terrorism is a curse to humanity and biggest threat to democracy and development, he deplored and said – "Nepal condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and anywhere in the world.
The world must come together to address not just its symptoms but the root causes. Early conclusion of the anti-terrorism global convention is the call of our time."
Noting that successful peacekeeping demanded objectivity, impartiality and ability of the Mission to deliver with the consent and confidence of the host governments, Prime Minister and the Head of the Nepali Delegation said having contributed over a hundred and thirty thousand peacekeepers in some of the most challenging theatres and true to our commitment to the success of UN peace operations, Nepal remains prepared to provide additional troops and civilians for this noble cause.
"While we welcome the new standards and assessment mechanisms, a sustained partnership for capability building of peacekeepers is crucial for improving performance in peace operations. The UN should play a supportive role in capacity building of peacekeeping related institutions," he stated.
Nepal has been a host to a world-class peace-keeping training center- the oldest one in the region, PM Deuba remarked, adding that the United Nations can make the best use of this facility and help develop it as a regional center of excellence for peacekeeping training.
"Nepal firmly believes that all troop and police contributing countries must get fair opportunities to serve in leadership positions both in the field and at the headquarters commensurate with their level and length of contribution," he stated.
Stating that protection of civilians should be at the center of peacekeeping operations, he said Nepal believed the safety and security of the peacekeepers is the key to enhance their ability to deliver from the high moral ground.
"On sexual exploitation and abuse, we must move from zero tolerance to zero case scenario. It is in this spirit that Nepal endorsed the Kigali Principles in its entirety, and signed the Secretary-General's Voluntary Compact on the Elimination of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse," he further maintained.
Nepal's constitution has aspirations of all of its citizens
According to the PM, all human rights are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated and should be accorded equal emphasis including the right to development.
PM Deuba made it clear in the global forum that constitution of Nepal accommodates aspirations of all of its citizens. It guarantees a comprehensive set of internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms.
"We are fully committed to the promotion and protection of those rights and their full enjoyment by our people. The constitution establishes powerful commissions to promote and protect rights and interests specific to women, Dalits, Muslims, Madhesis, indigenous people and other disadvantaged communities," he said, adding that the National Human Rights Commission, an independent constitutional body, is responsible for overall monitoring of the human rights situation and investigation into the cases of their violation.
He further said Nepal views the right to life as the most important of all human rights. Nepal’s constitution bans death penalty in all circumstances. As a party to 24 international human rights instruments, including 7 out of 9 core instruments, Nepal has been fulfilling its international obligations with all sincerity, and to the best of its ability.
Nepal presents its candidature to UNHRC
Making the foreign leaders aware about salient features of Nepal's constitution and human rights practices, PM Deuba presented Nepal's candidature to the UN Human Rights Council for the term 2018-2020.
He stated that Nepal's first-ever election to the Council would be the recognition of Nepal's long commitment and contributions in the field of human rights and an encouragement to do more at national as well as global levels. Nepal seeks invaluable support of all Member States to Nepal’s candidature, the PM underscored.
Migration is a mega-trend
Addressing the 72nd session of the UNGA, PM Deuba said ensuring safe, orderly and regular migration is the need of time. Nepal eagerly looks forward to a successful outcome of the 2018 Global Compact on Migration.
"Nepal calls for concerted efforts at the national, regional and international levels to ensure that the migration process creates a fair and win-win situation to all. We call for safety, security, dignity and well-being of all migrant workers," he mentioned, adding that although not a party to the Refugee Convention and its Protocol, Nepal has earnestly upheld humanitarian principles by hosting thousands of refugees.
Protection of minorities and their rights makes the world more humane, and contributes to world peace and security, he reminds.
Forced eviction of citizens grave crime against humanity
The PM also called upon the international community to respond responsibly and act decisively for refugees’ right to return to their homeland in safety and dignity and rapid rehabilitation under all circumstances, arguing that forced eviction of citizens is a grave crime against humanity.
Saying that the cost of natural disasters is rising sharply in terms of human tragedy and devastation, he called for greater global cooperation and coordination in prevention, mitigation and recovery.
Trauma of Nepal earthquake yet to subside
In his address to the UNGA, the PM said the trauma of Nepal earthquake 2015 has not subsided yet. The post-disaster reconstruction is ongoing. Nepal thanks it neighbors, development partners, other friendly countries and UN family for their generous support in our reconstruction drive.
Speaking about the climate change effect, he said poor and vulnerable countries disproportionately suffer from climate change despite their negligible role in greenhouse gas emissions. The implementation of Paris Agreement should be done in synergy with the 2030 Agenda. The principle of common but differentiated responsibilities, equity and respective capabilities should be at the center of its implementation.
LDCs most vulnerable group of countries
"The LDCs are the most vulnerable group of countries. They cannot be perennially equated with dehumanizing conditions of poverty and under development. They must be enabled to smoothly and sustainably graduate at an early date. LDCs and LLDCs have not been able to benefit from the process of globalization. They need reliable and sustainable financing, partnerships, and technology transfer to overcome their structural impediments," he emphasized.
Moreover, the PM explained that as cost of doing trade is higher to the LLDCs than the coastal countries, development of multi-modal transport infrastructure and unhindered transit rights of landlocked nations are critical to their sustainable development.
The PM called for full implementation of the Istanbul Programme of Action, Vienna Programme of Action and Addis Ababa Action Agenda in full synergy and coherence with the 2030 Agenda.
The development potentials of South-South cooperation in terms of trade, investment and technology must be fully exploited.
After years of political transition, Nepal now seeks to project a clear roadmap to prosperity, he reminded, adding that aligned with economic, social and environmental pillars of the SDGs, Nepal's development priorities would be framed around the imperative of generating, sharing and sustaining broad-based prosperity.
According to him, geographical proximity to India and China provides Nepal a rare opportunity to benefit from unprecedented economic transformation in its neighbourhood, opening up immense opportunity for trade and investment.
Nepal exercises political pluralism at home, believe in multi-polarity in int'l relations
Likewise, PM Deuba, in the address, mentioned Nepal exercises political pluralism at home and believes in multi-polarity in international relations. The essence of Nepal’s foreign policy is Panchasheel –five principles of peaceful co-existence that are derived from the teachings of Lord Buddha-the enlightened son of Nepal.
The Panchasheel principles, as he said, serve as foundations for managing harmonious relations among nations in this time of increasing uncertainty and turmoil.
"Nepal believes in nonalignment. In exercise of our independent foreign policy, we judge every issue on its merit without fear or favor. We consider regional cooperation an important means for building trust and confidence among nations and making the best use of complementarities for shared prosperity," he stated while saying that connectivity remains at the core of deeper integration and for creating a win-win situation.
UN indispensable in multilateral affairs, global governance
Nepal firmly believes in the indispensability of the United Nations in multilateral affairs and global governance. All countries, particularly major powers have the responsibility to contribute to the global good by fulfilling the obligations and responsibilities.
Reform of Security Council long overdue
The PM pointed out the need for the reform of UN's Security Council, as it is a long overdue. Under-representation of developing countries must be addressed in recognition of their growing contributions in shaping global agenda, he stressed, arguing reforms must be inclusive and representative in structure, transparent and efficient in procedure, and accountable and effective in delivery.
"The Secretary-General’s reform proposals are a step forward. We believe a clear statement support of the Member States, such as the Declaration made earlier this week, helps make our organization fit-for-purpose. Any repositioning of UN development agenda should address gaps, build synergy and improve the accountability, steer clear from the politicization of development under any guise," he made it clear.
According to the PM, Nepal supports the revitalization exercise of the UN General Assembly for streamlining its functions and ensuring fair gender and geographical representation at higher UN positions, among others.
The PM also shared the political developments in Nepal, saying, "Nepal’s transition to democracy from a decade-long armed conflict through peaceful means demonstrates the power and promise of dialogue and negotiation over the perils of violent methods for political power. The national peace process that began in 2006 concluded with the promulgation of a democratic and inclusive constitution in 2015 through a popularly elected Constituent Assembly."
This unique peace process, as he said, was home-grown and nationally-driven. Its successful conclusion has firmly established the culture of dialogue and accommodation and could serve as a model for similar situations elsewhere. Nepal appreciates the support and understanding provided by the international community.
Proportional representation core of Nepal's inclusive democracy
Moreover, the PM was of the view that proportional representation of all sections of Nepali society was at the core of Nepal's inclusive democracy.
Recent local level elections have firmly established women’s role in politics and development, he informed, adding that the constitution guarantees 40% women representation at the local level and one-third in the federal and provincial parliaments.
After successful local level elections, held in 20 years, the dates have been announced for the provincial and federal parliaments in two months from now, he stated.
He further said the ongoing transitional justice process combines our international commitment and ground reality of delivering justice and sustaining peace.
Nepal profoundly committed to UN principles, purposes
Concluding his address, PM Deuba reiterated Nepal’s profound commitment to the principles and purposes of the United Nations. The United Nations is made of big and small nations. Vast majority of UN membership comes from smaller countries, confirming the universality and legitimacy of the world body. An edifice for a peaceful, stable, rule-based and just world order cannot be erected without addressing their genuine concerns for security, development and wellbeing, he added.
The PM went on saying that Nepal believes small nations have been sincere and serious in discharging their responsibilities as members of this body. Even with their negligible economic and security resources, they have been playing a constructive role under the aegis of the UN for promoting peace, security and cooperation under the most difficult circumstances in various parts of the world.
BP's quote on 1960's UNGA reminded
He also recalled the wise words of BP Koirala, the first elected Prime Minister of Nepal, who told the Fifteenth Session of this August Assembly in 1960, as “Our physical strength may be negligible, but our moral strength, if we are true to ourselves and to the people of whom we speak, may be great.” This statement is as relevant today as it was then, he reminded.
The PM called on everyone to collectively display wisdom, knowledge and capacity to address the pressing issues of peace, security, disarmament and sustainable development with due respect to the internationally accepted rules to ensure a safe and stable world order.