Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Head of Nepali delegation, Dr Narayan Khadka, has addressed the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

In his address, the Foreign Minister highlighted the devastating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘on the most weak and vulnerable countries where people remain deprived of access to basic civic amenities’.

The Minister appreciated the efforts made by the international community, including the United Nations, to address the challenges posed by COVID-19 and underscored the need to ensure fair and equitable access to vaccines for everyone, everywhere.

He also highlighted Nepal’s efforts to build a sustainable and resilient recovery from the pandemic and thanked India, China, United States, Britain, Japan and others for providing vaccines, critical medical equipment, and medicines in fight against the pandemic.

Dr Khadka expressed concerns about the situation in Afghanistan, Myanmar, Libya, Syria, Yemen and the Middle East and urged all parties involved to ensure peace, security, and stability and fundamental rights and freedom of the people.

While sharing Nepal’s principled position on peace, security, disarmament, terrorism, human rights, sustainable development, climate change, the Foreign Minister condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, called for general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction in a time-bound and verifiable manner, highlighted the importance of promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, ensured resilient recovery and building back better and stronger for achieving SDGs.

He reiterated Nepal’s commitment to delivering climate-resilient development pathways by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050 and said that the climate ambition of developing countries must be met with easier access to adequate financial and technological support for adaptation and mitigation.

Referring to Nepal’s contribution to the UN peace operations to promote peace, security, and stability, he underlined the importance of safety, security and dignity of peacekeepers as well as the need for adequate training, resources, and modern technologies.

Dr Khadka also highlighted the structural impediments facing the vulnerable countries like LDCs and LLDCs and said that they need reliable and sustainable financing, partnerships, and technology transfer to overcome these challenges.

Nepal’s plan to graduate from the LDC category by 2026 as an opportunity to bring structural transformation and make the long-held national aspiration of graduation smooth, sustainable, and irreversible, he stated.

The forthcoming LDC5 must be built on the unfinished business of IPOA, with a commitment to support the graduating countries with adequate measures, he added. He emphasized that the ongoing COVID crisis must not be a pretext for retracting from ODA commitments.

He welcomed the steps taken by the IMF and G20 on debt relief and debt service suspension and called for a reformed and more equitable international debt restructuring to address the debt crisis of low-income countries.

The Foreign Minister also outlined Nepal’s foreign policy priorities and said that the relations with neighbours and all other countries are based on the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, non-alignment, international law and norms of world peace.

He expressed Nepal’s support on the measures and initiatives taken for UN reforms and stressed the need for a more representative, inclusive, and transparent Security Council and a more revitalized General Assembly.

The General Debate of the 76th Session of UNGA is being held at UN Headquarters in New York from 21 to 27 September under the theme ‘Building resilience through hope-to recover from COVID 19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, revitalize the United Nations’.