Citing the enormity of global challenges, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Nepal, addressing the United Nations General Assembly, urged world leaders to undertake a solemn commitment to make the world “of tomorrow” better than the world “of today”.
“We have the capacity, resources and technologies to address [these] challenges and ensure prosperity and dignity to everyone,” said Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat in his address to the Assembly’s annual general debate, and added: “But we must muster the necessary political will to achieve this.”
Speaking on the importance of implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, he reported that Nepal’s experience and success in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) will inform its implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and that the Goals have been made a part of the country’s national development plans and programmes.
Mr. Mahat also underlined that addition to national commitment, ownership and people-focused governance, international partnership is crucial to ensure the success of the SDGs.
Drawing the Assembly’s attention to growing terrorism in the world, the Minister stressed that Nepal “univocally condemns” the scourge in all its manifestations and said that it is “frustrating” that the international community has not been able to agree on a comprehensive convention on international terrorism, and called on world leaders to provide the political will to accomplish this important agenda.
Also, underlining that migration has become a defining phenomenon of the contemporary world, and that the movement of people brings both benefits and challenges, he said that proper management of migration can contribute to economic growth and development of both receiving and origin countries of migrant workers. He called for concerted efforts at the national, regional and global levels to ensure that the process of migrant employment creates a “win-win” solution for all.
Minister Mahat also emphasized the importance of implementation of global commitments contained in various agreements and frameworks, including the Istanbul Programme of Action for Least Developed Countries, the Vienna Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on financing for development, and the Sendai Framework on disaster risk reduction. He also underlined the importance of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, called for its early entry into force and urged for special focus on climate vulnerable countries that are at particular risk of the effects of climate change.
In conclusion, he expressed the country’s commitment to the UN and for its peacekeeping operations as well as underlined Nepal’s commitment to human rights, fundamental freedoms, and in particular gender equality and empowerment of women.
Maldives Foreign Minister Mohamed Asim called for re-evaluating the gross domestic product (GDP)-based system used to classify States as least developed countries (LDCs), which confers special aid and trade benefits, warning that it disadvantages smaller countries with small populations.
“The fact that we graduated from LDC status, does not mean that we have overcome our challenges overnight. Large-scale infrastructure – ports, hospitals, harbours – is still required across the entire Maldives,” he said.
“Yet, the large scale financing needed for these projects is not readily available because the preferential and concessional arrangements for financing are lost after graduation,” warned, urging that the economic vulnerability of countries be included in the assessment system.
“These limitations make it harder to maintain and sustain the development gains that enabled us to graduate in the first place.”
Also addressing the Assembly today, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bhutan, Lyonpo Damcho Dorji, reminded delegations of the threats posed by climate change, in particular to the countries that are most vulnerable – the least developed, landlocked developing and small island countries.
The Minister called on world leaders for renewed resolve involving all stakeholders at the national, regional and global levels to translate the global agreements into real and meaningful dividends for all peoples in all countries.
Highlighting that Bhutan’s national development framework of ‘Gross National Happiness’ (GNH) is already aligned with the global development agenda, he underscored that the next decade will be critical as it will pursue the realization of poverty eradication, inclusive and sustained economic growth, self-reliance, and the eventual graduation from the least developed category.
“We will continue to work in earnest to ensure effective implementation of the SDGs so that we succeed in achieving the transformation that we all seek,” he said in his address, adding that “in this endeavour, the role of [Bhutan’s] development partners is critical,” as Bhutan faces immense challenges as a least developed and as a landlocked country.
Mr. Dorji further informed the General Assembly of the country’s commitment and contribution to conservation and preservation of the environment, protection of biodiversity and combatting climate change which he said have been widely acknowledged.
In particular, he recalled that in 2009, the country committed to remain carbon neutral but in reality, it is carbon negative and it looked forward to ratifying the Paris Agreement on climate change, at the earliest, upon completion of domestic procedures.
In his address, Minsiter Dorji also noted the need for effective reforms at the UN so that it is “fit for purpose,” and underscored that the global body and its principal organs such as the Security Council must be reformed in keeping with contemporary realities to make it representative, transparent and accountable, and to enhance its legitimacy and credibility.
Furthermore, expressing that peace and security are a shared concern and responsibility, he said that his country is committed to and supports UN peacekeeping efforts to maintain peace, protect civilians and to create the conditions necessary for lasting and durable solutions to conflicts round the world.