Nepal’s advocacy drive for UN post initiated
By Rajesh Dahal
Kathmandu, Nov. 2 – Nepal has initiated an advocacy campaign in support of Kul Chandra Gautam as its candidate for the Presidency of the 66th session of the United Nations General Assembly (PGA, 2011-12) from member states of the United Nations.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs began the advocacy with the slogan ‘It’s a turn of Nepal’ on behalf of Gautam.
Two countries have so far declared their candidacies for PGA in 2011: Nepal and Qatar. Nepal has nominated Kul Chandra Gautam and Qatar has nominated its permanent representative to the UN Nassir Abdulazaz al-Nasser.
Deputy Prime-minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Sujata Koirala informed that the ministry had instructed all Nepalese missions to lobby for Gautam.
She said that the ministry had written letters to all its line agencies for the campaign and added that the prime minister was also seeking support from international communities.
Nepal has been a loyal and committed member of the UN since 1955 and, in 55 years of its membership, Nepal has served with distinction in many organs of the UN funds and programs. Nepal has contributing as many as 29 UN Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) around the world with over 80000 Nepalese and 62 have died in the line of duty. Currently, Nepal is the 6th largest contributor to UN’s PKO.
This time, the campaign asserts, it is a South Asian turn. From the Asian region, Bahrain (2006), Republic of Korea (2001), and Malaysia
(1996) served as PGA in the past. Similarly, Bangladesh in 1986 served from South Asian region. South Asia has not got the opportunity for the past 25 years to serve the PGA. So Nepal should get the priority for PGA in 2011, the argument goes.
Foreign Minister Koirala said that she would write letters seeking support for Gautam from all international friends and added that Nepal’s candidacy had great chances.
In the 65 years history of the UN, only 5 countries in PGA were from the 49 low development countries.
Gautam, who was the highest ranking Nepali in the UN civil service, served as Assistant Secretary-General of the UN and Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF in his 3 decade-long UN career. He said that all member countries of UN were positive about his candidacy.
He traveled over a hundred countries on official missions, dealing with heads of government, ministers and ambassadors, civil society leaders and private sector CEOs in Africa, Asia, Latin America and elsewhere. He has expertise in English, French, Spanish, Hindi, and Indonesian languages. He provided high level leadership for development of women, children and human development in over 150 countries. He is familiar with the UN system and has excellent diplomatic, negotiating and advocacy skills.
He is currently the special advisor to the Prime Minister of Nepal on international affairs and peace process. He was the key senior UNICEF officer responsible for drafting the Declaration and Plan of Action of the 1990’s World Summit for Children, the largest gathering of world leaders in history until that time. In 2002 he led the organisation of another major UN conference, the special session of General Assembly on Children.
Gautam said that he would try to take up the challenge facing this large group of UN member states, in particularly vulnerable situation in terms of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and environmental sustainability which are central concerns of the whole UN system.
Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Durga Bhattarai said that the Nepalese candidate was in a strong position and the ministry started a high level advocacy for the presidency at UN.
He said that Nepal was strong on merit system and there was a possibility to achieve the goal.
Source: The Rising Nepal, Published on: 03-11-2010