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UN ready to support Nepal’s TJ process

UN ready to support Nepal’s TJ  process

As geopolitical tensions rise, global divisions are becoming deeper and more dangerous. Smaller countries fear becoming collateral damage in competition between great powers. And climate catastrophe is accelerating with a deadly force. In responding to these crises, the world could learn much from Nepal.

This country is a promoter of peace, a champion of multilateralism, and a staunch supporter of sustainable development and climate action. Nestled between two great powers, you have forged your own path to safeguard your sovereignty and independence. And your journey over the past 20 years has been wonderful to see. A new republic with a new Constitution has the UN Charter at its heart.

You were quick to embrace the Sustainable Development Goals, and are making progress on many of them. And your country has successfully calmed the storms of conflict and moved from war to peace. A process the United Nations has been proud to support. Nepal does not stand still. Your dynamic story of progress continues today. Your graduation from Least Developed Country status is imminent. The United Nations is committed to supporting a smooth transition.

And you are preparing the final stages of your peace process—healing the wounds of war through transitional justice; A process that must help to bring peace to victims, families and communities haunted by questions, and scarred by injustice; and help put the past to rest.

Transitional justice can play a vital role in securing lasting peace. But it is not easy. By nature, it is a delicate and complex process. We know that transitional justice has the greatest chance of success when it is inclusive, comprehensive, and has victims at its heart.

When it centers on truth and reparations but also justice. When women participate fully. And when all victims of human rights violations can find meaningful redress.

I welcome efforts here in Nepal to drive progress and find solutions. You are not alone. The United Nations stands ready to support you to develop a process that meets international standards, your Supreme Court’s rulings, and the needs of victims—and to put it into practice.

The United Nations and Nepal are old friends. Our cooperation runs deep. Nepal has long been a cherished member of the UN family, and a powerful voice for developing countries, most recently as Chair of the LDC Group.

And this small country has made an outsized contribution to international peace: Of all the countries on Earth, Nepal is the second largest contributor of troops to United Nations’ missions. On climate action, Nepal is a frontrunner. You are on target to reach net zero emissions by 2045. Thanks to extraordinary reforestation efforts, trees now cover almost half of the country.

And you are one of the pioneers of our Early Warning Systems for All Initiative—which aims to protect every person on Earth by 2027. Yet global crises are hitting Nepal hard, as they are developing countries around the world. The lingering effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, inflation, and above all, the climate crisis, are threatening hard-won development gains and squeezing the funds available for investment.

Nepal contributes just a fraction of a percent to global emissions. But monsoons, storms and landslides are growing in force and ferocity—sweeping away crops, livestock and entire villages—decimating economies and ruining lives. In August, landslides caused by heavy rains caused devastation and killed scores of people. And glaciers are melting at record rates. Nepal has lost close to a third of its ice in just over 30 years. The effect is devastating: Swollen lakes bursting; rivers and seas rising; cultures threatened; and mountainsides exposed—inflaming the risk of rockslides, landslides and avalanches. Threats will continue mounting. 

Himalayan glaciers provide fresh water to well over a billion people.

As they shrink, so do river flows. In the future, major Himalayan rivers like the Indus, the Ganges and Brahmaputra would have their flows severely limited. Combined with saltwater intrusion, that will decimate deltas in this region and beyond. That could mean low-lying communities and entire countries erased forever.

We also need to deliver climate justice: Developed countries must honor the promise of $100bn a year; and double adaptation finance, as a first step to devoting half of climate finance to adaptation; The most vulnerable must be at the center of efforts to build climate resilience; and all parties must operationalize the landmark Loss and Damage Fund at COP28 this year. And we need new and early pledges to the fund. The Nepali people depend on it. For families that have lost their home to storms; for communities forced to abandon their villages by rising rivers—loss and damage is not a negotiating point or a bureaucratic abstraction. It is a lifeline.

Nepal has long been a friend to the international system. And today that system is in dire need of refresh, revitalization and reform. The world is in a state of flux. It is moving toward multipolarity. That is a good thing. A multipolar world provides new opportunities for leadership and balance on the global stage. But this new dynamic requires strong multilateral institutions to maintain peace.

History shows us that. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe was multipolar, but without strong multilateral institutions, it descended into war that engulfed the world. That is not a risk we can take. We need strong international institutions that reflect the realities of today. But ours mirror the world in which they were founded—almost 80 years ago. That must change. Developing countries must have far greater representation in international institutions. I have called for reform of the outdated United Nations Security Council. And I have proposed measures to reform the global financial architecture so that it better represents developing countries and responds to their needs. And these proposals are gaining real traction—at this year’s United Nations General Assembly and beyond.

Excerpts from the speech delivered by UN Secretary-General at the Federal Parliament