UN chief coming to Nepal on 4-day visitThe main agenda of his trip starting October 14 is climate change and ways to mitigate its effects on livelihoods.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres will arrive in Nepal on October 14 on a four-day official visit. He is coming at the invitation of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal, who met the UN chief in New York in September and in Rome, Italy in July.
Two senior government officials told the Post that Guteress will leave Kathmandu for Beijing on October 17 after completing his engagements in Nepal.
This will be his second Nepal visit. Guterres came to Nepal in May 2007 as the UN high commissioner for refugees. At the time, he had visited Kathmandu and Jhapa, where he had inspected the Goldhap refugee camp and discussed the third-country resettlement plan with Bhutanese refugees.
Between 2006 and 2016, a total of 113,500 refugees resettled in eight Western countries, including the US, the UK, Canada and Australia, under the resettlement programme coordinated by the Office of UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The key agenda of his visit this time is climate change and ways to mitigate its effects on livelihoods, said a New York-based Nepali diplomat. “He is planning to deliver a lecture on pressing issues including climate change and will interact with stakeholders.”
As the visit programme of the UN secretary general is in the preliminary stage, foreign ministry officials, the United Nations in Nepal and Guteress’s office in New York are still busy giving it a final shape.
Haribol Gajurel, chief political adviser to Prime Minister Dahal, said the UN secretary general will talk mainly about the climate change issue in Nepal, Nepal’s peace process, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“The UN’s role is important for the conclusion of the peace process, which is also something we want,” said Gajurel, adding, “Guteress’ positive gestures will help Nepal to conclude the peace process which remains incomplete since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Accord all those years ago in 2006.”
Almost all UN secretary generals have visited Nepal in the past. Besides Kathmandu, the government is trying to arrange a visit of Guteress outside Kathmandu. “As per our longstanding tradition, we are working to arrange his visit to Lumbini,” said a senior foreign ministry official. “Almost all UN secretary generals who visited Nepal in the past visited Lumbini. Another possible venue is Pokhara.”
“We are currently discussing logistical issues, weather conditions and have been coordinating with multiple government agencies and Guteress’s office for the potential visit outside Kathmandu,” the foreign ministry official said.
Prime Minister Dahal, during his two meetings with the UN chief, had invited him to visit Nepal and observe the progress Nepal has made in the peace process as well as the challenges posed by climate change.
Besides climate change and the peace process, Nepal’s contribution in the UN peacekeeping operations, and the country’s engagements in other global issues could be other possible agendas of his visit, said another official at the foreign ministry.
In the last meeting between Dahal and Guteress in New York, they discussed different facets of Nepal’s peace process, UN peacekeeping, climate change, Sustainable Development Goals, least developed countries, and development financing, according to a statement.
They also agreed to further enhance Nepal-UN engagements and partnership, according to the prime minister’s secretariat.
The secretary general thanked Nepal for its active engagement with the United Nations, including its significant contribution to international peacekeeping, according to a statement issued by the United Nations after a meeting between Dahal and Guteress.
The secretary general and the prime minister discussed mutual concerns related to climate change, challenges faced by landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) and the importance of the government leadership in Nepal’s transition to least developed country (LDC) graduation.
On the sidelines of the United Nations Food Systems Summit, 2023 in Italy, Dahal and Guteress discussed environment, food security and strengthening relations between Nepal and the United Nations.