United Nations Welcome to the United Nations. It's your world.

Statement by H.E. Mr. Amrit Bahadur Rai, Ambassador/Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations, at the General Debate of the Second Committee of the 74th Session of the UNGA

Tuesday, 08 October 2019
H.E. Amrit Bahadur Rai, Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations
New York

Mr. Chairman,

I congratulate you upon your election as Chair of the Second Committee, and other members of the Bureau on their elections. My delegation assures you of our full support and cooperation throughout the session. 

I align my statement with those delivered by the State of Palestine on behalf of the Group of 77 and China, by Malawi on behalf of the LDCs, and by Paraguay on behalf of the LLDCs.

Mr. Chairman,

We are about to enter the 3rd decade of 21st century. The session this year, therefore, provides us with a crucial opportunity to deliberate on the commitments as well as achievements that we have made in the past and our preparedness for the upcoming decade. The coming decade must be a decade of action and delivery. 

Though the world saw economic recovery after the Great Recession, many persisting problems remain unabated. Extreme poverty, inequality, rising hunger, and archipelagos of under-development in the sea of rising prosperity are but a few of those. 

Looking back, we must acknowledge that the United Nations in this decade has adopted a series of ambitious agendas and resolutions–on sustainable development, financing, climate, migration, disaster risk reduction, south-south cooperation and so on. Also, we have come up with specific programmes of actions for the countries in special situations. 

But being honest, our work is yet to transform from dialogues to delivery. 

Mr. Chairman,

It was a euphoric moment when multilateralism culminated into an ambitious and transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The agenda, a blueprint of development, can only be implemented if similar multilateral approaches underpin our actions. 

This year marked the end of the first four-year cycle of the HLPF after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda. My delegation thus welcomes the convening of the SDGs Summit. 

The scorecard remains mixed. Some achievements have been made; they are not enough. ‘Things to do’ are so overwhelming that it is too early to pat ourselves over the ‘things that have been done’. 

Things are not rosy. While poverty has decreased, the rate of reduction is decelerating. While the unemployment levels have dropped, the wages remain stagnated. Food insecurity and hunger is in a regressive track.

Inequality -be it of income or opportunities or be it of capabilities and recognition – is increasing. 

As turbulent winds in trade are gaining the tempo, the edifice of the rules-based multilateral trading system is in jeopardy. With such erosion of trust, a rise of uncertainty, and the prevalence of protectionism, the significant impact will be felt in the economies of developing countries in particular. And consequently, such tensions have the potential to wreck the raft of recovery that we have seen in this decade. 

Mr. Chairman, 

A peaceful, prosperous and secure world will only be possible to attain when millions of people come out of poverty. The frustration resulting from poverty, hunger, illiteracy and exclusion has the potential to breed anger and chaos. Inclusive implementation of SDGs is, therefore, a worthy responsibility of all to pursue in earnest. 

While national ownership and leadership is a must for such an onerous task, a robust international partnership remains critical for its success. This is more so for the countries in special situation, particularly LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS as they are on the bottom rung of development. Those furthest behind should be in the front and center of development discourse, and the same spirit should run through all processes and mechanisms. 

Mr. Chairman,

Globalization has worked for few countries but not for all.    

Elements of inclusion, equity and social justice are missing in the entire process. Continuous exclusion and deprivation of a significant portion of the world population is a bitter fact. 

As the technological revolution unfolds rapidly, a new wave of marginalization is impending due to the benefits of technological breakthroughs would occur unevenly. 

Therefore, it is a must that we begin a multilateral dialogue to set normative frameworks on digital cooperation. We need to set the guardrails before a torrent takes us by surprise. 

Mr. Chairman,

The menace of climate change is outpacing our response. This endangers the sustainability of the planet as well as the future of humanity. 

Unfortunately, it is the poorest and most vulnerable who are hit hardest by the impacts of climate change. Despite their negligible emissions, these countries face the consequences which are disproportionate, unjust and undue.

A country with many snowcapped mountains, Nepal lies at the hotspot of climate change. The climate-induced disasters have also added misery and resulted in the loss of numerous lives. 

A report by International Center for Integrated Mountain Development this year presented that that one-third of the glaciers in the Hindu-Kush Himalaya region will melt away by the end of this century, even if we are going to meet the 1.5-degree scenario. 

If the current trend goes unabated, the loss of glaciers could amount up to two-thirds. Such a situation will be detrimental to millions living in the mountains and more than a billion people living in the river basins. 

A matching and robust response is needed. International cooperation for adaptation and mitigation as well as resilience building should be ensured through more accessible climate finance for the neediest countries. 

Mr. Chairman,

Implementation of the 2030 Agenda is our national priority and is integral to our graduation from the LDC status. The government now is committed to fulfilling people's aspiration of socio-economic transformation, with the vision of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”. 

Nepal has expressed its intent to present its second VNR during the HLPF next year. 

To conclude, Mr. Chairman, let me stress that Second Committee must continue to be a bulwark of sustainable development agenda, and address the emerging issues of development with a greater focus on the neediest countries to make this planet prosperous yet sustainable. 

I thank you.