UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres is arriving on SundayHe will address a joint session of parliament and meet communities affected by climate change in the Himalayas.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres is paying an official visit to Nepal from October 29 to November 1, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday.
The visit had earlier been planned for the second week of October, but was rescheduled due to the outbreak of conflict between Israel and Hamas militants on October 7.
This will be Secretary General Guterres’ first visit to Nepal since taking office on January 1, 2017, said the Ministry.
He will address a joint session of the federal parliament on 31 October.
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had extended an invitation to Guterres to visit Nepal during their meeting in New York in September, and before that, in Rome, Italy in July.
Guterres is also scheduled to observe first-hand the impacts of climate change on the Himalayas and will hold a brief conversation with the affected communities, said the ministry.
It is said that he might visit Everest and Annapurna base camps in order to see the impact of climate change.
He will go to Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha and Pokhara, on October 31.
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 a third-country resettlement plan with Bhutanese refugees.
Between 2006 and 2016, a total of 113,500 refugees were 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.”
The secretary general will be accompanied by Jean Pierre Lacroix, under secretary general for Peace Operations; Hanaa Singer-Hamdy, the resident coordinator of the United Nations to Nepal; and other officials from the UN Headquarters in New York and the United Nations country team in Nepal, said the ministry.
During the visit, Secretary General Guterres will call on President Ramchandra Paudel and hold meetings with Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and other top leaders of the major parties.
The secretary general will depart from Kathmandu on the first of November. Prime Minister Dahal, during his two meetings with the UN chief, had invited him to visit Nepal and observe the progress the country has made in the peace process as well as the challenges posed by climate change.
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.
Likewise, on the margins 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.
Haribol Gajurel, chief political adviser to Prime Minister Dahal, said the UN secretary general will talk mainly about climate change in Nepal, Nepal’s peace process, and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
“We see the increasing role of the UN in global peacekeeping efforts including the current crisis in the Middle East,” he said, adding, “in this regard we also echo Guterres’ emphasis on the early restoration of peace between Israel and the warring factions,” Gajurel told the Post.
“The UN’s role is important for the conclusion of Nepal’s peace process,” said Gajurel, adding, “Guteress’ positive gestures will help Nepal to conclude the 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.