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New York, 16 May 2008
1. Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. Chairman, for the effective stewardship of the Commission on Sustainable Development and successful steering towards the productive deliberation of its sixteenth session (CSD-16).
2. Meanwhile, my delegation would like to express deepest condolences to the governments and the peoples of Myanmar and China over the recent loss of lives and physical devastation wrought by the deadly cyclone and the massive earthquake in these countries recently.
3. While associating myself with the statement made by Antigua and Barbuda on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, and by Bangladesh on behalf of the least developed countries (LDCs), I wish to put some remarks on my national perspective and the way forward.
4. The six thematic issues – Agriculture, Rural Development, Land, Drought, Desertification, and Africa – that we discussed during the last 10 days did clearly show the inter-linkages that are critical to our common pursuit of sustainable development agenda.
5. Agricultural and rural development are the key developmental issues for a least developed and mountainous country like Nepal where over 80 percent of the population lives in rural areas dependent upon agriculture.
6. But, the agriculture sector suffers from low productivity as well as fluctuation in productivity. Agricultural land is degraded by the problem of soil erosion due to recurring landslides and floods. It also lacks sufficient irrigation facilities and agriculture-friendly market and rural infrastructure.
7. Therefore, Nepal’s current development plan has given emphasis on improving agricultural sector shifting from subsistence farming towards promoting cooperatives, agro-industries and commercialization. Scientific land reform and management has been emphasized with the objective of improving land use and productivity.
8. Management of forests, agriculture, land and water conservation aspects have been viewed in an integrated and unified manner. Nepal has successful lessons learnt from community forestry programmes whereby community forests user groups as well as leasehold forests consumer groups are managing forests areas and benefitting from forests productivity and bio-diversity protection.
9. As Nepal is firmly embarking upon the political and economic transformation process, with the peoples’ active involvement, we look towards enhanced cooperation and understanding of the international community in the days ahead.
10. The least developed countries, mountainous communities and coastal regions are exposed to immediate vulnerability to climate change. Their sustainable livelihood and development potentials have been seriously compromised.
11. The Himalayan glaciers are receding at a rapid pace. My own country Nepal is susceptible to glacial lake outburst floods and deadly landslides. Precious water resources are drying up and erratic rainfalls and drought have become recurring phenomena. Monsoon fed farming in rural areas is suffering from low productivity. Rural inhabitants, who lack the capacity to cope with unpredictable calamities, are put to the danger of displacement.
12. Besides, rural people are further marginalized in terms of productive capacity primarily due to the lack of access to affordable technology and basic health care, and quality education, which are preconditions for sustained development potentials.
13. At such point, the current rise in food prices has threatened food security. It has distorted the market trends and policy choices. We need long-term solutions to the food shortages in the face of population of least developed and marginalized countries. In this context, we welcome the establishment of a panel headed by the Secretary General on the crisis of surging food prices.
1. The foregoing are the real challenges facing the international community today. Addressing these aspects is vital towards achieving our Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), promoting sustainable development and ending extreme poverty.
2. In our countries, massive investment is required for developing basic infrastructure – reliable roads and communication networks, good public schools and health posts, and proper water supply and sanitation services.
3. Renewed focus on agricultural and rural infrastructural investment can strengthen community resilience to unpredictable crises and underpin the sustainable local development. Utilization of indigenous knowledge, community empowerment and gender focus together with enhanced technical cooperation and research orientation would be crucial for effective policy implementation.
4. In conclusion, Mr. Chairman, as we are embarking upon global partnership for development, we are faced with recurring poverty and marginalization in the face of energy challenges, food shortages, unsustainable pattern of resources utilization and climate change. This demands visionary and cooperative actions. The question of advancing sustainable development agenda in all encompassing manner should become our urgent priority for shared prosperity.
I thank you.