UN System marks UN Day 2010 in Nepal

un-day-2010KATHMANDU, 22 Oct: The UN Day was commemorated by the UN System in Nepal on 22 October 2010 in the UN House. The event was participated in by over 600 participants consisting of high level government officials, diplomatic corps, donors, INGO and NGO representatives, national and international media, civil society and UN staff members from all the agencies. Also participating on the occasion was Nepal’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sujata Koirala. The Chief Guest of the function was Nepal’s Prime Minister Rt. Honourable Madhav Kumar Nepal.

The programme started by screening of the Secretary General’s video message on the occasion of the UN Day.

Speaking on the occasion, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal praised the United Nations for its support to Nepal’s peace process and socio-economic development. He said, “From peacekeeping to peace building and conflict resolution, from poverty alleviation to human development and disarmament, from human rights to climate change and environmental conservation, the UN has become a truly global instrument for peace and development cooperation in today’s world” adding, “Nepal has always been faithful in undertaking its international obligations under the UN Charter.”

The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal, Mr.  Robert Piper said the UN Day is an important opportunity for all the 22 agencies consisting of 2200 staff that make up the UN Country Team in Nepal – to re-commit its support to the host Government. He stressed on the need for greater stability in the broadest sense, in Nepal, requiring not only fewer cantonments and greater political power sharing, but also progress on issues like rule of law, equity and democracy.

Also speaking on the occasion, the Representative of the Secretary general in Nepal and Head of UN Mission in Nepal Karin Landgren  reaffirmed that Un will continue to do all it can to support the peace process in Nepal. “ UNMIN has done its part to support Nepal’s peace process, including through assistance to the Constituent Assemblr elections. UNMIN continues to monitor the management of arms and armies and to encourage theparties to keep the peace process on track.” said Landgren.

The longest serving national staff members from various UN agencies received memento handed over to them by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ms. Sujata Koirala for their relentless contribution to the service of the UN.

Three different short audio visuals were screened highlighting the important contributions been made by the UN in the development process of Nepal.

The programme was marked by an enthralling performance by a renowned Nepali classical musical ensemble “Sur Sudha’.

An important highlight of the UN Day programme was the exhibition booths that were set up by sixteen UN agencies.

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

MESSAGE FOR UNITED NATIONS DAY
24 October 2010

On United Nations Day, I express my great appreciation to the millions of people throughout the world who believe deeply in our work for peace, development and human rights… and who uphold our ideals and help us achieve our goals. To all of you… friends and fellow citizens of the world… I say: thank you.

Sixty-five years ago on this date, the founding Charter of the United Nations entered into force. Every year on UN Day, we reaffirm our global mission. We reassert the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity. And we recognize the progress we have made together: gains in literacy and life expectancy… the spread of knowledge and technology… advances in democracy and the rule of law.

But above all, UN Day is a day on which we resolve to do more. More to protect those caught up in armed conflict, to fight climate change and avert nuclear catastrophe; more to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to combat injustice and impunity; more to meet the Millennium Development Goals.

Last month’s MDG Summit at the United Nations generated political momentum… as well as financial commitments that are especially significant in these difficult economic times. I am determined to press ahead as the 2015 deadline approaches.

Despite our problems, despite polarization and distrust, our interconnected world has opened up vast new possibilities for common progress. Let us commit to do even more to realize the great vision set out in the UN Charter.

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Statement by Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Nepal
UN Day ceremony in Kathmandu, 22 October 2010

Thank you Right Honourable Prime Minister, Honourable Deputy Prime Minister and distinguished guests for  honouring us with your presence. On behalf of the UN County Team, welcome to UN House, and welcome to UN Day 2010.

UN Day is an important opportunity for us – the 22 agencies that make up the UN Country Team in Nepal – to acknowledge the leadership and support of our host Government, and that of the other 191 Member States of our organization. It is our Member States who are building an international legal framework of rules and conventions, which are in turn, making the world safer and fairer. It is our 192 Member States who articulate the universal goals and aspirations for humanity in the 21st Century, from which we, as international civil servants, derive our priorities and our inspiration. Today, UN Day, the UN’s 2200 staff in Nepal re-commit ourselves to serve this noble cause.

Since we last met to celebrate the anniversary of the signing of the UN Charter in 1945, the UN has continued to serve as the world’s indispensable meeting point; the place where all come together to attempt to tackle some of the planet’s most intractable challenges.

In the closing weeks of 2009, upwards of 30,000 participants gathered in Copenhagen to move the climate agenda forward. While the conference illustrated unprecedented political engagement and concrete progress in a number of areas, a comprehensive, binding global agreement remains elusive. Closer to home, the Government of Nepal with the support of UNDP has since completed a National Adaptation Plan of Action and launched an important new international initiative to spearhead an alliance of mountain countries on Climate Change. 49,000 households have now been reached by the UN and World Bank supported Renewable Energy Programme. And with Climate Change visibly affecting Nepal’s weather patterns, WFP’s programme reached 2 million food-insecure Nepalis in the year past. For their part, UN-Habitat and UNEP participated in the preparation of the Bagmati Action Plan, graciously launched by you, Prime inister, early last month.

The New Year brought the most devastating earthquake in living memory, centered on the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. Some 230,000 souls were lost, over 100 of them UN staff. While the international community responded with generosity and speed, the nature of the disaster overwhelmed local and international systems. In a mere 40 seconds, Haiti’s development clock was turned back several decades. Closer to home in July, Pakistan saw devastating floods that affected over 20 million, submerged an area of fertile land half the size of Nepal and destroyed over 7,000 schools. The lessons from these two devastating events have not been lost on us in Nepal. In the year past, the UN joined hands with the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Red Cross Movement to create the Nepal Risk Reduction Consortium, which launched an ambitious $140 million effort to improve Nepal’s management of risk; from retrofitting schools and hospitals to improving flood forecasting for the Koshi Basin. A little over a year ago, Cabinet approved a new National Disaster Management Strategy. Right Honourable Prime Minister, this strategy needs to be urgently translated into resources, institutions and action so we can help Nepal prepare better for the unavoidable hazards ahead.

In May, signatories to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court met in Uganda to review progress in establishing the ICC. The ICC is arguably the most important development of our international justice system certainly in recent memory and hopes remain high that Nepal will also join the other 139 signatories underwriting this critical new institution. Closer to home, I recall the support of OHCHR to the advocacy efforts of civil society, human rights defenders and national human rights institutions leading to the ratification by Nepal of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities last December. And the exciting new preventive efforts for small arms control, by our newest member, the UN Regional Centre for Peace and Disarmament.

In July, in a ground-breaking decision, the UN General Assembly created the UN’s newest institution, UN Women. UN Women is expected to become a dynamic champion for women and girls, providing them with a powerful voice at the global, regional and local levels. It will begin its work with a $500 million budget. As UN Women opens its doors for business in Kathmandu, it will build on the extensive work of UNIFEM, UNFPA and other development partners this past year in such areas as support to migrant women, and engendering the budget process as well as the 2011 Census. Next month will mark the 10th Anniversary of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 and UNFPA has marked this globally by focusing this week’s flagship annual publication “The State of the World’s Population” on the themes of conflict and crisis. We are proud too of our role in supporting the Government to prepare a national action plan on SC 1325.

In September, world leaders reconvened to take stock of progress on the Millennium Development Goals, 5 years away from the 2015 deadline. At the Summit, the international community recognized the considerable progress that has been made a across a range of issues. Particular countries were singled out for their progress in particular areas with Nepal receiving plaudits particularly for its progress on MDG5, addressing maternal mortality. Perhaps we can be permitted to bask in some of the reflected glory of these significant strides. That the work for example, of UNICEF on nutrition or social protection, of UNESCO on mother tongue literacy, of FAO’s reach to 100,000 households in the past year with inputs, or UNFPA’s reproductive health
support to 70,000 women and girls, of the ILO’s recent support on labour market legislation or UNAIDS’ efforts to strengthen coordination, advocacy and resources for HIV/AIDS, of IFAD’s help to some of the countries’ poorest farmers or the ongoing work of WHO on leprosy and other diseases, have played some part in Nepal’s success. A more equitable distribution of this progress must nevertheless remain a priority for the MDGs to find their true place in Nepal’s peace process.

From Sudan to Haiti, from the Congo to the Golan Heights, 124,000 UN peacekeepers – more than at any time in history – have been helping enforce peace agreements throughout the year since we last met. Over 5,000 Nepali men and women have served the Blue Beret with courage and conviction. In another tangible illustration of Nepal’s willingness to shoulder its global citizen responsibilities, Nepal continued to host upwards of 100,000 refugees on its soil. With the support of UNHCR and IOM, over 15,000 Bhutanese refugees have been resettled this year, with the support of the recipient countries, in an operation that is rapidly becoming seen as a model of how to handle such a complex process efficiently and with dignity.

Right Honourable Prime Minister, distinguished guests.
At last year’s UN Day ceremony, I underlined the UN Country Team’s anxiousness to “redouble our efforts” to support the longer-term transition agenda. I referred to the need to reverse Nepal’s rising inequality, bring historically-marginalized groups onto an equal footing, tackle impunity and strengthen fundamental elements of good governance, such as accountability and transparency. In today’s political climate, these ‘important’ issues continue to compete unsuccessfully against the ‘urgent’ ones for the attention of leaders, policy makers and resources.

The leader of Nepal’s delegation to the UN General Assembly this year, the Honourable Minister of Home Affairs, made the case eloquently in calling for a more rounded understanding of peace and security. Noting the “centrality of the United Nations not only in maintaining ….. and security but also in promoting international cooperation for development” he correctly called for a “reform agenda (that)… strikes . right balance to promote stability in the broadest sense”. In this same spirit, we need greater recognition closer to home, that stability in the broadest sense, here in Nepal, will require not only fewer cantonments and greater political power sharing, but also progress on issues like rule of law, equity and democracy. And the vital economic investment needed to turn the energies of Nepal’s youth to nation-building.

UN Day is also an important opportunity for me to acknowledge – on behalf of all our heads of agencies – the financial contributions of many Member States to the work of the UN Country Team. And, last but certainly not least, to thank our 2,200 extraordinary staff and their families, for the hard work and dedication since our last UN day.

Thank you. Jai Nepal.