Friday, September 30, 2011

Address by the Rt. Hon. Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Prime Minister of Nepal, to the 66th Session of the United Nations General Assembly

Mr. President,
Mr. Secretary-General,
Distinguished Delegates,

Let me begin by congratulating you, Mr. President, on your election to the President of the Sixty-sixth session of the United Nations General Assembly. I also take this opportunity to sincerely thank the outgoing President, His Excellency Mr. Joseph Deiss, for having successfully steered the Sixty-fifth session. Let me also express our sincere appreciation to His Excellency Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations for strong commitment and dedication with which he has been serving the United Nations. We wish him further success in his second term. Nepal warmly welcomes the Republic of South Sudan as a newest member of the United Nations.
Mr. President,

It is a distinct honor and privilege for me to bring to this august Assembly the voice of the voiceless of the world. I have brought with me greetings from the nearly 30 million toiling but proud people of Nepal, who have recently liberated themselves from age-old feudal monarchy and autocracy. Nepal is an enchanting land of Mt. Everest, the top of the world. It is the birthplace of Gautam Buddha, the apostle of peace. And it possesses an unbelievable variety of natural beauty and diversity.

In recent years, a momentous transformation is taking place in Nepal. After a long and persistent struggle, a feudalistic and autocratic monarchy has been abolished. We have entered into a new historic era with the creation of a new federal democratic republic of Nepal. Today, the new state apparatus is striving to take into account the multi-ethnic, multi-lingual, and multi-cultural diversity of the country. Abolition of all discriminations and oppression based on class, gender, nationality, region and caste and creating an inclusive democratic system and a just society is at the heart of all our struggles for decades. Thanks to the ultimate sacrifice of the thousands of martyrs of the historic People’s War of 1996 to 2006, People’s Movement of 2006, Madhesh Movement and many other oppressed people’s movements that we have come this far to lay the foundation of a new Nepal. We have to consolidate these historic gains and institutionalize them in order to establish sustainable peace, justice and prosperity to all. My government is fully committed to doing that with the conclusion of the peace process and the writing of a new constitution through the Constituent Assembly at the earliest. The constitution will not only guarantee the fundamental democratic norms and values. But it will also ensure that our multi-party democracy is inclusive, participatory and life-changing for all, especially the oppressed laboring masses and the marginalized ones. As it is rightly said: ‘The highest measure of democracy is neither the extent of freedom, nor the extent of equality, rather the highest measure of participation’, we want to institutionalize a really participatory democracy for all, particularly the downtrodden ones.

In this context, I would like to remind this august Assembly of the poignant words expressed from this podium in 2008 by the Chairman of my party, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) and the then Prime Minister, Com. Prachanda, about the landless peasants, downtrodden women, the so-called untouchable dalits and millions of exploited masses of Nepal who are aspiring for liberation from all forms of oppression and exploitation.

Nepal’s home-driven peace process and historic transformation are unique and could be a good example for drawing lessons. We believe that transformation has to be holistic to have its long lasting impact at the grassroots. Transformation in political, social and economic fields has to be brought about holistically. It is attainable with dedication, dialogue and consensus building among stakeholders. Like in any other countries, transitional pains and delays are there. But we are united in our vision and we intend to complete the transition process with consensus and cooperation of all the political parties and stakeholders. We are confident that with international goodwill and cooperation, we will achieve it at the earliest.

Nepal’s foreign policy is based on fundamental principles of the UN Charter, non-alignment and Panchsheel principles and promotion of regional cooperation through SAARC. We would like to be a vibrant bridge between our two neighbours and beyond. At a time when humanity is so much in need of peace, and we all are striving for it, we particularly appeal for the development of Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, as the fountain of world peace through effective international support and cooperation. The International Committee for Development of Lumbini needs to be reactivated at the earliest.

I extend sincere thanks to the United Nations, especially UNMIN for providing invaluable support and assistance throughout our peace process. We are hopeful that we would continue to receive goodwill and support from the international community in our efforts to institutionalize lasting peace, equity and prosperity in the country.

The United Nations holds a noble vision of peace and security, development and justice and human rights for all. But if we look around the world, we have a long way to go to achieve this. We still face conflicts, deprivation and demeaning poverty all around us. How can we have sustainable peace in the world when there is so much of inequity, deprivation and marginalization around us? We have to deal with their root causes. How can one justify the spending of 1.5 trillion US dollars on war weapons every year while more than two billion people across the globe lack basic necessities of food, medicine, etc?

It is in that context, I appeal to the United Nations to come forward with a far reaching and comprehensive development package. We need a “new Marshall plan” for rebuilding and reconstruction of the post-conflict countries. Lip-services and symbolic supports are not enough. It is time for a bold visionary step to deal with the complex problems of today. This would be a most cost effective approach to deal with the global problems and ensure sustainable peace.

Mr. President,

The principles and purposes of the United Nations as enshrined in the Charter represent the high ideals of the global community. Yet we live in an age of paradox. The gap between the poor and the rich is ever widening. Today the level of inequity between the states is the highest than at any time in the past. The Least Developed Countries, or I would rather prefer calling them Underdeveloped Countries, are facing the full force of negative side of globalization with their deep structural constraints. Jobless growth is a major challenge for all of us. In this integrated world, grinding poverty of the masses in billions is a recipe for disaster. The islands of prosperity amidst the sea of poverty are not sustainable. It is morally indefensible and economically undesirable. In a globalized and interconnected world, our destiny is inextricably intertwined. When my house is on fire, your house cannot be safe, and vice versa.

The recurrence of economic and financial crises, fuel and food crises and the deeper structural crises have vindicated the need to seriously review the current economic paradigm. I believe that this is the right time for deeper soul-searching and the creation of a new, just and scientific economic order. The new global economic order needs to deal with the current global volatility and the growing marginalization of the poor and the weaker economies. The financial capital-driven ‘globalization’ process is increasingly exposing its inherent structural deficiency and incompatibility. Unless the interest of labour, the basic source of human wealth, is duly integrated in this process, we may soon have to face the ‘globalization’ of unrest and upheavals. The United Nations should be the principal forum to look at it in a coherent, inclusive and holistic manner.

Mr. President,

The Least Developed Countries (LDCs) face severe structural constraints in their development efforts. Their vulnerabilities have been further aggravated with multiple crises. Despite some good progress in achieving individual goals, LDCs as a group are most off-track in meeting the internationally agreed upon development goals, including those contained in the Millennium Declaration. Rights based approach to development is a must.

It is quite disheartening that even today about 75 percent of the population in LDCs lives in abject poverty and hunger. This situation is unacceptable and must come to an end sooner than later. Business as usual is not a solution to the deep-rooted problems. The historically structured process of ‘development of underdevelopment’ needs to be structurally addressed.

The Istanbul Declaration and the Program of Action must be implemented in its entirety and in an effective and timely manner. In particular, financing for development should be ensured as per the commitment. Duty-free, quota-free market access and supply-side capacity must be ensured to LDCs. Investment, technology transfer and private sector development should be promoted in LDCs. They are essential to translate the legitimate aspirations of the LDCs. A renewed and strengthened global partnership is critical to its implementation. We do not want to see another missed opportunity for the LDCs.

Nepal, in its capacity as chair of LDCs, will make every effort, in cooperation with fellow LDCs to ensure that the issues and concerns of the LDCs remain high on the priority list of the UN development agenda.
Similarly, the special difficulties of the Land-Locked Developing Countries (LLDCs) should be recognized and the freedom of transit should be ensured to them as a matter of right. Together with this, support for trade facilitation and infrastructure development in these countries should be scaled up.

Labour migration is a global phenomenon. We must protect the rights of all migrant workers and members of their families to ensure that ‘globalization’ is fair to all. As Nepal’s economy is increasingly dependent on remittance, this issue is very crucial for us.

Mr. President,

Climate change has clearly emerged as one of the greatest challenges of the twenty-first century. Global warming has precipitated melting of snow in the Nepal Himalayas, a source of fresh water for over a billion people living in South Asia. Therefore, we have taken the initiative of promoting sustainable mountain agenda in order to highlight their special vulnerabilities and fragilities. The industrialized countries should bear greater responsibilities for this.

There is an urgent need to make progress in climate negotiations and to ensure enhanced and predictable financing. The Rio+20 Summit scheduled for next year are critical to define a more sustainable development path and eradicate poverty for the LDCs. Sustainable development agenda should encompass all ecological considerations, including the crucial issue of sustainable mountain development.

Mr. President,

Nepal reiterates its call for general and complete disarmament of all weapons of mass destruction in a time bound manner.

Nepal strongly believes that regional mechanisms complement efforts to promote the global disarmament agenda. The Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament for Asia and the Pacific (RCPD) located in Kathmandu would be instrumental in revitalizing the “Kathmandu Process” to facilitate dialogues and deliberations for confidence building in the region.

Nepal unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and calls for an expeditious conclusion of the negotiations on a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism. We should differentiate between terrorism and struggles for freedom.
Nepal’s commitment to human rights is deep and unflinching. We are fully aware that the protection and promotion of all human rights including the right to development and fundamental freedoms strengthens the sustainability of peace and progress. We have established an independent constitutional body – the National Human Rights Commission as a watchdog institution. We are committed to build and strengthen this specialized national institution as a true custodian of human rights.

Mr. President,

The General Assembly, which is the only representative body at the global level, needs to be given commensurate power and authority to truly work as a ‘world parliament’. It should not remain toothless. Similarly, Nepal supports the expansion in the membership of the Security Council in both the categories. Reform must address all the interrelated issues such as representation as well as transparency and accountability in the working methods of the Security Council. The role and contribution of smaller states in the maintenance of international peace and security must be duly acknowledged.

We underline the crucial role of the United Nations in promoting international cooperation for development. Its role in shaping policy debate on and establishing global norms in economic and financial matters must be strengthened. Nepal welcomes all efforts aimed at promoting system-wide coherence, including the operationalization of UN-Women.

Mr. President,

Nepal’s participation in UN peacekeeping is long-standing and consistent. We remain steadfast in our commitment to international peace and security. Nepal has already provided over 80,000 peacekeepers, out of which 62 of our soldiers have laid down their lives in the line of duty. Hence, we would like to call for equitable representation at the leadership level.

In recent times, we have witnessed the outpouring of the popular sentiments for change and freedom around the world. We believe that this is a sign of a new beginning, where people are asserting themselves to be the master of their own destiny. We applaud these changes. We should support them based on the fundamental principles of the United Nations. However, no one should hijack the agenda of democracy for its partisan ends.

The long-drawn-out peace process in the Middle-East is a matter of serious concern for us all. We must find a comprehensive and just solution to these problems. It is our principled position that we support a fully independent and sovereign Palestine State based on the UN resolutions. We look forward to its materialization at the earliest.

Mr. President,

Finally, let me reiterate, the UN principles be holistic, and all be pursued in a balanced manner.
The United Nations should not only be the custodian of its noble principles, it must deliver on its promises. Let it not be a mere umbrella of big powers.

In a globalized world of today, the UN has more responsibility than ever before to create an inclusive and just global order. Let it not falter on its historic duties.

Let the UN serve the larger interests of the poor and the weakest segment of the international community.
Let economic transformation of LDCs with a rights-based approach be on top of the UN Agenda.
Let the UN not fail the aspirations of the millions of people for freedom, equality and prosperity. Let its vision be translated into a visible change in the lives of the oppressed people.

And, last but not least, let us keep in mind, either we all reach the goal of global peace and prosperity together, or nobody will.

Thank you.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Global Dignity Helping to Find the Value of Human Life

Logo, @Website
“In a world where it seems no one agrees on anything; a world where politics divide, where religion divides, and where race and even cultural borders seem to divide, dignity is something that everyone can agree on” Co-founders, Global Dignity.
Dignity as a common concept, more than 700 exceptional young leaders under 40 at the forum of young global leaders of the World Economic Forum initiate the concept Global Dignity Day as an international day for dignity every year on October 2010 in a numbers of countries all over the world.
This year the official dignity day is Thursday 20 October 2011. Global Dignity is an autonomous non-profit, non-criticism and non-partisan initiative that wish to be inspiration- and encouraging best practice and dignity-centered leadership. The mission of the global dignity organization is to “implement the universal right of every human being to lead a dignified life.” The organization believes that people have the ability to increase the dignity of others and as a result we increase our own dignity. The dignity approached is assumed to works on all levels: Children, adults, men and women including in both micro and macro level because all people need dignity to lead a human life.
A dignifying world provides everyone with equal opportunities in life and dignifies everyone's life regardless of the cards that fate has dealt you. “In a dignifying world, one's fate does not depend on one's "reproductive luck," that is, on the stars under which you happened to be born, the economic and social status of one's parents. Therefore, the thinking behind dignity includes also the ability to identify with the lives of others, the ability to "Imagine that we were 'us' just like now, except that 'I' would be 'you' and 'you' would be 'me'." Action has dignity only if I could feel dignified if I were treated in the way I'm treating the other person.”
Recently Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu has also joined our Honorary Board. Besides the most interesting things is that more than 40 countries will be participating in Global Dignity Day, and Dignity sessions are being planned for over 100,000 students on October 20th 2011 (this year).
Video Credits: Global Dignity Organization and Youtube
For more information about global dignity day: Please visit the website or follow up in facebook or twitter as given below
Twitter: @globaldignity

P.s. In partnership with Global Dignity

Saturday, September 10, 2011

One Young World Summit Experiences and Recommendations

As a returning and convening Ambassador for media impact at One Young World Summit in Zurich Switzerland, it was a great pleasure to talk about the project impacts of 2010 Ambassadors and lead Media resolution for 2011 at the summit. I was only able to make it together with the help of my mentor Carol Anderson and my Sister Janice Wong. One young world Summit purpose is to “connect and bring together the youngest, brightest and best and to ensure that their concerns, opinions and solutions are heard.” To know more about the summit, please visit One Young World Website

Nick Simmi, a 21 years old future leaders from UK shared his experienced about the events “The event has allowed me to gain a true insight into some of the world’s biggest problems and most pressing issues from first hand contact with hundreds of delegates from Africa, Asia, Europe, America, Canada and Australia.”(Lep Business)

All of the counselors such as Desmond Tutu, Bob Geldof, Jamie Oliver, Muhammad Yunus, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Paul Polman, Guler Sabanci, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Wael Ghonim, Oscar Morales, Joss Stone, Doug Richard, Andy Ansah, Patrick Chalhoub, Waris Dirie, Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish, Nick Hayson and many others were very inspiring and really cared about the issues that today we are facing.

"I love to be here because I am dying to see what you are doing" said Sir Bob Geldof, Musician and activist. He further talked about the age to inspire the delegates, “It’s incredible to be here to be less young.” Similarly, Desmond Tutu, Activist and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and one of the oldest and the most inspiring counselors called One Young World delegates as a “fantastic amazing group.”

Fatima Bhutto, Writer, Journalist and Activist and the counselor of the summit describes how women raise community and the importance of educating them where she explained the benefits of educating women. It is not just herself but for the larger network including community in the long term. She also highlighted the fact that not all women can make a world better place. "It is not true that all women can make better world, but it’s about leadership." She requests everyone especially women to fight ethically whether they are “inside” or “outside” the power.

Many of us, especially I am very worried and think how I can make a best networking and the suggestions from Karol Stone, Managing Director, YouGovStone pointed out that to network you don’t need to be outgoing but take interest in people’s action and belief. Talk with them (like-minded people) was suggested by beautiful counselor. Jennifer also highlighted the offers from the power of network delegates have. “Delegates should access network that offers powerful opportunities” said Jennifer.

I think now you will agree with me that the counselors were very inspiring. The guest speakers were equally inspiring too.
Gabi Zedl meyer, global Social innovative form HP challenged for those who think that changing the world literally is impossible. We could literally change the world... Let’s change the world Gabi requested to the delegates during his talk at the summit. He further highlights the work conducted by his company on health, education, entrepreneurs, community involvement and volunteering and says that “it’s not about how many people take training from our programs but we need to think how many people do something with it.” That’s how the leadership takes from the top.

Another guest speaker Sigi Probsti, CEO of sustainable cities, primarily focuses on the need of education, where he mentioned “education is what you need first and skills later.” While talking about some of the best examples of education system, South Korea happen to be one. However, the question is, how can we say that South Korea has one of the “best” education system given the fact that many young people still cannot afford the education. The suicide rate is increasing dramatically because of two reasons. First, Students do not receive the marks as their expectation and second many cannot afford their tuition fees. If the poor cannot afford the education and Education, today’s ‘basic needs’ is only for rich people here in Korea, how can we define it as a best education system. I myself raise this question from the floor and request all the delegates and counselors to revisit the definition of “best education” system.

The gender inequality was highlighted by guest speakers and even by the speakers in various impact areas. Mercedes Erra highlighted some of the current gender issues by showing some facts. Erra focused on the facts of illiterate women where “2/3 of the 774 millions of illiterates in the world are women.” On the other hand, “On 500 largest corporation in the world only 13 have a female CEO.”
I will talk about the impact speakers in my next blogging. Indeed they were very inspiring.

Finally at the end of the summit, Muhammad Yunus, Founder, Grameen Bank and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate stood up at the stage and asked the delegates; whether they are aware of power they have? He further makes the delegates realize their power and again asked “what are you going to do with the power you have? How can the power be used?” He further encouraged the delegates to use their power in creating a completely new world within delegates’ 4os. Yunus further challenged the delegates to takes the impossibilities. “Very soon what you think impossible today will be common tomorrow so don’t ignore any impossible”

I am very humbled to be called as a convening ambassador for media impact but there are many things that needed to be addressed by One Young World team members especially the summit organizers.
Firstly, the summit should not stop here. It’s a beginning and a best way to inspire young people and help them to find the like minded people and initiate the projects, but this inspiration should converted into actions and One Young World should support in every steps they can including financial support.

Thirdly, I have personally found some delegates who have come just to visit a country either London or Zurich. These types of delegates should not get chance in the coming summit and One Young World Summit should take it seriously during the screening phase. I am sorry to say this, but so far I have found that whoever can afford 3000 euros get chance to attend the summit. However, money should not be first priority to bring the young inspiring best future leaders rather should be their ideas and actions.
Finally, we could have brought more delegates from developing countries, if we could use the money we use for beverages such as alcohol, beers and wine during the summit or we could have use the money, we spend for beverages, to feed normal food for the delegates who arrived in 31st. I noticed that some delegates at city hotel sleep hungry stomach because they didn’t bring any money with them neither they were informed that they have to bring the some money for 31.
I hope this will be a fruitful recommendation for One Young World summit organizers and OYW will rethink about it in the future summit.

Attending One Young World for the second time is really humbling to see the amazing work young people of my age are doing after overcoming several challenges. Unlike UN and others, the summit is not just about passing the resolutions related to Media, global health, environment, global business and leadership. It is more about the actions carried by young people around the world, where summit is used as a platform to gather and exchange ideas.

Representing Nepal at One Young World Summit in Zurich
Worldpulsarian attending One Young World Summit
Secondly, the summit is very expensive that the so-called “third world” people cannot afford. How can we expect a person to pay 3000 euro where many people in his/her country cannot afford three meals per day? If the summit is to bring young future leaders of the world then some privileged should be given to developing and underdeveloped countries. One Young World board members should encourage companies to think about their CSR for developing countries.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

HIV Awareness and Women in Mrigauliya

I’d like to share my experience conducting the one day health clinic in my own village, Mrigauliya, Morang.
In Nepal, we are politically and geographically divided into 14 zones, which each contain districts. Nationally there are 75 districts, and Morang is one of them. To break it down further – Morang has 69 village development committees (VDC) and Mrigauliya, where I live, is one of them. Mrigauliya has 10 wards, which each have a population of that ranges from 500 to 1000 people.

On Tuesday May 25, 2010, Kalpana Karki, who has been working in health sector for 7 years, and I went to visit a Dalit Community, people traditionally regarded as “untouchable,” or “outcast” in a village, Mrigauliya-5 to talk about HIV and AIDS.  The community is very poor; only about 5% of the own their own land. We wanted to encourage women and young people from the community to get tested for HIV by holding a one day comprehensive and confidential health clinic in their local area.

The health clinic was conducted in collaboration with Purbanchal University college of Medicine and Allied Science, which is located at the centre of Mrigauliya, Sundarpur, Dulari, and Indrapur. The University staffed the clinic with two doctors: Dr. Robin Chaudhary and Dr. Mandip pd. Bhattarai, as well as two nursing staff: Niti Laxmi Gurung, Kamala Timsina, and senior nurse in charge Anita Thapa. The two medical lab technologists Rajan Guragai and Satish Chandra Chaudhary conducted the blood draws for HIV testing. The chief secretary of the computer department Niraj Guragai and his assistants were available full time during the group HIV counselling. Along with the university, there were many nonprofit organization which helped my project by providing their valuable suggestion such as Pahal, Yuba Dristi Samaj, Women’s Saving Club and Informal Sector Service Center (INSEC).

The main reason for selecting this community to focus on is that many of the men go to abroad (mostly to India) to work. Since there are not many income generating opportunities locally, men are forced to go to abroad in order to support their families. Only women, old men, and children are left in the village. The village situation is so dejected that there are no young men even to carry corpse (in Nepal, it is a common tradition for the sons and/or son-in-laws of the deceased to ‘carry the corpse’ to its final resting place). The people, mostly women, who remain in the village, work in the informal sector. There are about 250 women in the community, and over 20 percent of them consented to be tested. When we went to Mrigauliya VDC 6, 7, 8, and 9, some of the women got angry when we told them that we were there to talk about HIV and AIDS and test their blood if they were interested. It was very hard to convince those women. It took us a few days to make it happen, but by June 6, we were able to provide HIV testing for an additional 45 women.  Some of the women thought that testing for HIV would put a question mark on their husband’s behavior and were scared of the potential for violence from their husbands and the respective community. Some worried that that we would publish their name if they were HIV positive, even though I told them that the test was confidential.

I have finished the project, but still there are many things we all need to consider regarding women’s reproductive health. While talking with about 300 women, I found that married women were more vulnerable to HIV than sex workers. This may come as a surprise, butmost of the married women never use condoms while having sexual relationships with their husbands, norhave they asked their husbands to use them. Some of them have never seen condoms and are not even aware of how they look. Some of the women who were interested in using condoms after our counseling said that they are unable to afford it. The cheapest condom called panther cost two rupees to buy one piece. How can a woman buy a condom when they don’t have a single rupee in their pocket? This is a big question we all need to think about. Yes, there are many organizations who organize 2-3 days campaign to distribute free condoms but how many days will these distributed condoms last?

Based on my time working on this health clinic, I realize that many issues like HIV and women’s health are connected to others, like access to condoms and ability to negotiate safer sex. If we truly want to address the HIV epidemic in communities like Mrigauliya-5, we all need to speak up to demand improved access to a full range of contraceptive services for women and girls in Nepal.

This article was previously published in IWHC website entitled Young Visionaries Project: Women’s Health Clinic in Rural Nepal