Friday 19th July 2024
Friday 19th July 2024
गृहपृष्ठOpinionNepal’s looming multilateralism challenges

Nepal’s looming multilateralism challenges

-Illa Mainali

Nepal’s difficult topography in the Himalayan mountains forces it to maintain tight and strategic partnerships with both of its neighbors, China and India, as a landlocked nation positioned between two significant economic powers.

However, for a developing country like Nepal, having strong ties with just its neighbours or any other countries is not enough. This is where multilateralism comes in as a key strategy.

By participating in multilateral platforms, Nepal can build diverse international relationships, secure development aid, take part in global decision-making, and follow international norms and standards.

This not only boosts Nepal’s standing but also prevents over-reliance on any single country, supporting sustainable growth and development. Multilateralism is crucial for Nepal’s development and stability.

The United Nations is central to Nepal’s diplomacy and development and since 1955, it has been leveraging the UN forum to express its positions and views on significant international issues, earning recognition for its substantial involvement in peacekeeping operations. Nepal’s commitment to international peace and stability is stronger than ever.

Nepal has played a significant role in multilateralism. As a signatory to almost all major United Nations Conventions and Treaties, Nepal holds a significant position on the international stage. This highlights Nepal’s commitment to the critical areas like peace and security, human rights, disarmament, climate change and many more issues.

The Himalayan nation played a major role in the negotiations of the Istanbul Programme of Action in 2011 and has significantly contributed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. As one of the largest contributors of troops and police to UN missions, Nepal demonstrates its commitment to global peace keeping efforts.

Nepal has also served twice as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, in 1969-70 and 1988-1989, and is looking forward to being elected again in the future.

One of the main components of Nepal’s foreign policy is disarmament. As a committed party and active participant in key international treaties and protocols related to disarmament, including the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Nepal firmly believes that the utilization of nuclear science and technology must strictly adhere to peaceful purposes as outlined within the robust Safeguards Framework established by the IAEA.

Similarly, in the matter of Human Rights, as a member of HRC for two consecutive terms, Nepal has been playing an objective role on the human rights agenda in the multilateral forums.

The Constitution of Nepal guarantees most of the human rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The Government has launched a combined ‘Fifth National Human Rights Action Plan (2020-2025) and implementation action plan of 3 rd cycle of UPR recommendations (2021-2025). It is being implemented in collaboration with various stakeholders.

Being elected for two consecutive terms in the HRC also underscores Nepal’s progressive journey on the human rights forms. In multilateral forums, Nepal has a strong voice to protect human rights of all including women, girls and children.Generally, several times a year, Nepal engages in high-level participation in various multilateral forums, such as the UN General Assembly and the NAM Summit among others.

Recently, the President visited Geneva to attend the inaugural forum of the Global Coalition for Social Justice and the high-level segment of the 112th session of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Additionally, last year, our Prime Minister participated in the United Nations Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking in Rome.

While we are trying our best to be very active in all multilateral forums, there are some challenges being faced in multilateralism, often due to lack of resources and influence. Financial and Human resource limitations hinder our ability to maintain large and specialized delegations, reducing our effectiveness in international forums.

Lack of technical expertise and internal policy coordination further weakens our negotiation positions. Dependency on foreign aid and geopolitical pressures complicate Nepal’s multilateral engagements. Sometimes, we feel compelled to align with donor priorities.

Geopolitical dynamics add another layer of complexity, forcing us to balance international pressures while striving for independent policies. Implementation of International agreements is another major hurdle due to inadequate infrastructure and weak institutional capacities.

To benefit from multilateral engagements and to deal with the challenges more effectively, Nepal should prioritize multilateral diplomacy more. It should invest in educating diplomats and negotiators with the necessary skills to participate more effectively in International forums.Strengthening internal policy coordination and coherence across different sectors in Government is crucial for presenting a unified position of the government in multilateral negotiations.

Securing sustainable financial resources is necessary for reducing dependency on foreign aid. We should invest more in multilateralism and also gearing technology and innovation can play a role in overcoming resource constraints. Partnering with other developing countries with similar interests in multilateral agenda can also be helpful.

We should always advocate for more inclusive decision making processes in multilateral organizations, ensuring that the International instruments are designed and implemented in such a way that it is beneficial for all.

Graduation from LDC status

As we are graduating from the LDC status in 2026, we need a solid plan to build on our progress. While this graduation brings opportunities, it also poses tremendous amount of challenges, particularly in promoting exports with preferential market access, receiving international grants or subsidized loans, and technical assistance and capacity building support, among others.

To become a middle income country, we must approach this goal with renewed confidence. It requires achieving sustainable and inclusive economic growth that matches with other middle-income countries.

A robust and strategic plan is necessary for navigating this transition effectively. This plan should focus on maintaining market access, securing alternative funding, and focus on capacity building to mitigate the impacts of losing LDC-specific benefits.

This article is written by Illa Mainali, Deputy Permanent Representative Embassy and Permanent Mission of Nepal to the UN Vienna.

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