Your search keywords:

Editorial: Ensure transparency

Sometimes, even Foreign Ministry and Nepali missions abroad remain uninformed about high-level visits

Editorial: Ensure transparency

In recent months, there has been a notable surge in foreign travels by ministers, parliamentarians, heads of constitutional bodies, security agencies and senior government officials for bilateral visits, and for participation in multilateral forums. These activities, which were restricted for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, have resumed, both from Nepal to other nations and vice-versa. While bilateral visits and international engagements are inherent to diplomatic practices, the level of transparency surrounding these visits has become a growing concern.

One key aspect to address is the lack of transparency in communicating the details of these visits. When ministers, heads of security agencies and constitutional bodies embark on foreign visits, there should be transparency regarding their agendas, meetings and discussions with foreign counterparts. 

The current practice of issuing brief and vague press releases just before the visits, without providing adequate information on the purpose and agenda, is insufficient. Since major powers seek to influence the state for their own interests, it becomes imperative to ensure transparency in these interactions. Sometimes, even the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Nepali embassies abroad remain uninformed about high-level visits.

There is a considerable influx of visits from major countries to Nepal, but many of these visits are not disclosed to the public, and even when they are, the agendas remain undisclosed. The foreign ministry is often bypassed in such meetings. While the government had previously introduced a policy requiring high-level officials to submit reports to the Prime Minister's Office after foreign visits, this policy is often disregarded. It is now essential to revisit and reinforce such provisions to guarantee adherence.

There have been instances where high-level officials have entered agreements with foreign countries without informing relevant agencies, raising concerns about the potential compromise of Nepal's national interests. To safeguard against such risks, it is imperative to establish a comprehensive policy ensuring transparency in all high-level official visits.