Friday, 12 April, 2024

COVID-19 pandemic slowed down pace to achieve SDGs: FM Gyawali


By Mahima Devkota, Kathmandu, Mar. 1: Minister for Foreign Affairs Pradeep Kumar Gyawali said on Monday that the country has made a progress in terms of 12 governance indicators, poverty alleviation, rise in per capita income, extension of roads and communication, increase in literacy rate as well as on access to basic amenities like education, water, health, nutrition and sanitation.

He said so while addressing a programme organised to mark the 73rd anniversary of Nepal Council of World Affairs (NCWA) held in the capital city.

He lauded NCWA's role in holding discussions in matters pertinent to Nepal’s foreign policy which he said have always enriched the quality of policy dialogues. 

He said, "Amity with all and Enmity with none' remains the soul of our foreign policy".  

He further mentioned that the constitution of Nepal defines the fundamentals of foreign policies and guides to pursue independent foreign policies by adhering to policies prescribed by UN charters.

The foreign policies of Nepal are devoted for the greater good and have achieved economic development and prosperity in the process, said Minister Gyawali.

He stressed on the fallout that Nepal had to go through because of the COVID-19 pandemic. "The support and assistance that Nepal received from international community during the tough times has been tremendous, and Nepal will always advocate for and support bilateral, regional and international initiatives that promote such solidarities".

While mentioning some repercussions of COVID-19 on development, FM Gyawali said, “We were on the right track on achieving the sustainable development goals but the pandemic has slowed down the pace, crippled the tourism sector, strain on health and affecting the incoming remittance".

A message to the anniversary of the NCWA by Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli was read out in the programme, in which the PM said that the institutions like NCWA should be able to stay free of any biases and continue to provide a platform for the national interest through research and discourses.

The PM further stressed on the need of prompting these institutions as a political and independent think-tank.

Hemanta Kharel, president of the NCWA, said, “Sovereignty, mutuality of interest, fairness, reciprocal respect are the main conduct of the Nepal’ international relation.”

Our economic diplomacy is focused in the promotion and projection of national economic interest. In order to make it happen the national institutions and think-tanks play a pivotal role as they generally create the space for the government in generating new ideas and finding policy issues based on research and informed consent, said Kharel.

Similarly, Bhuvan Pathak, secretary of the NCWA said that NCWA is one of the prominent think- tanks of Nepal, which is recognized in the foreign places as well. "It provides the space among international diplomats, academicians, politicians and other experts".

A book entitled Nepal: Standing up to Domestic and Foreign Challenges was launched amidst the programme.