Nepal’s National Statement to be delivered at the 2019 HLPF by Hon. Prof. Dr. Puspa Raj Kadel, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission of Nepal

Nepal’s National Statement to be delivered at the 2019 HLPF by Hon. Prof. Dr. Puspa Raj Kadel, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission of Nepal
New York, 17 July 2019

Madam President,
Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates.

1. At the outset, I would like to thank you for convening this important Forum. It is an honour to represent Nepal and share our perspectives on the implementation of 2030 Agenda.

2. I align my statement with those of the Groups of 77 and China, LDCs and LLDCs.

3. Four years into the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the scorecard of its implementation remains a mix.There have been important achievements across the Goals, but the level and pace of progress need further acceleration. Poverty has decreased, but the rate of poverty reduction has decelerated. Inequality of income, of opportunities, of capabilities and of recognition is widening. Climate change is clearly outpacing our response.

4. The gaps within and among countries are even huge when it comes to the countries in special situation –LDCs, LLDCs and SIDS. As the Mid-term review of VPOA and SAMOA Pathway are due this year, and the IPOA is nearing the year 2021, the unfinished agenda implores the international community to accord due priority to these neediest countries.

5. The challenge requires us to enhance partnerships and multiply efforts. So, the upcoming decade must be a decade of action and a decade of delivery in all its true sense.

6. The global megatrends, as mentioned in the Secretary-General’s report, give us an important insight into galvanizing our efforts as response to these trends –demographic change, urbanization, climate change, conflicts and frontier technologies.

7. Similarly, this year’s theme of ECOSOC “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality” rightly captures our common vision and the indispensable purpose of the 2030 Agenda.

Madam President,

8. Having achieved political stability and a conducive atmosphere for economic development, the Government of Nepalremains squarely focused on the agenda of achieving sustainable development with an overarching national aspiration of “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”.

9. We achieved an annual growth rate of about 7 per cent on average; reduced poverty to 18.7 per cent; participation of women is about 40 percent in all three tiers of the government; the gender parity index (GPI) for the net enrolment rate (NER) remains at 1.0 at basic level and 0.99 at secondary level; and inequality is reduced as wealth-based Gini Coefficient came down to 0.31.

10. In alignment with the broader national aspiration, we have adopted the 15th Periodic Plan along with the 25-year Long Term Vision that aims atachieving transformational development and bringing about structural changes in the economy. Thirty-four indicators for the long-termvision and 60 indicators for the 15th Periodic Plan have been identified as milestone targets.

11. Furthermore, graduating from the LDC statusin a smooth and sustainable way is our priority.

12. The implementation of the 14th three-year plan achieved the target of about 7 per cent annual GDP growth. The upcoming 15thperiodic plan aims at attaining a double-digit growth, including throughpromoting sustainable and decent employment for all. We plan to spread economic dividends evenly among the provinces and local levels to achieve balanced development.

13. Nepal has mainstreamed SDGs into the national plans, policies and programs. They are now being localized and synchronized with the annual budget and programs. Progress has been recorded in theGoals that are under discussion at this Forum.

14. We have laid a special focus on achieving all the targets and indicators of Goal 4. Various programs have been implemented to enhance access, retention and quality education, particularly for the poor and disadvantaged groups.

15. On Goal 8, we have launched a comprehensive contribution-based social security scheme. Similarly, we also launched the Prime Minister Employment Program. These flagship programs aim at lifting people living under the poverty line by creating jobs, guaranteeing employment to every working age citizen, providing unemployment allowances, promoting innovation and entrepreneurship. To change the production relations, we have introduced new sets of labour laws that safeguard dignity of work, guarantee of equal pay for the equal work, and ensure flexibility in the world of work. The National Economic Censusrevealed that about 38 percent of women employee and about one third of women managersare engagedin the business establishment. Participation of women is about 40 percent on the parliaments of all three tiers of the government.

16. Being a mountainous country, Nepal lies at the hotspot of climate change. The adverse impacts of climate change disproportionately affect us despite our negligible emissions.

Nonetheless, Nepal is taking a number of initiatives to integrate mitigation and adaptation plans at the national and sub-national levels. The government has adopted a policy of huge cut-off in the custom duties for electric vehicles. We are increasing supply of clean energy each year through hydropower. Climate Smart Villages have been proposed to be established. The forest cover is increasing and now covers about 45% of our territory.

17. On Goal 16, Nepal has come a long way in strengthening inclusive democracy, good governance, inclusive institutions and the rule of law. The successful peace process has culminated in much needed political stability, which will propel the sustainable development.

18. The 2030 Agenda represents a blueprint for partnerships and international cooperation. The successful implementation of the Agenda requires enhanced cooperation and sustained partnerships among all the stakeholders. For this,we must renew the commitment to the spirit displayed during the adoption of the Agenda.

Needless to say, financing for sustainable development remains an important challenge. In Nepal’s case, more thanUSD 18 billionis required annually to achieve SDGs. All modes of financing –public as well as private, and domestic as well as international– must be leveraged on.

19. Similarly, the repositioned UN Development System should ensure that the UN has system-wide coherence in sustainable development programmers and policies.

20. To conclude, Madam President, Nepal is doing all it can to achieve SDGs by 2030. National efforts need to be complemented in the spirit of ‘leaving no one behind’ and ‘reaching the furthest behind first”.

I thank you.