Full text of statement----
Inaugural Statement by the Right Honourable K P Sharma Oli, Prime Minister
At the Asia-Pacific Summit
Kathmandu, Nepal; 1 December 2018
"Addressing the Critical Challenges of Our Time: Interdependence, Mutual Prosperity and Universal Values"
Your Excellencies the Heads of State, Presidents, Vice-Presidents and Prime Ministers,
Your Excellencies Former Presidents and Vice presidents,
Your Excellencies Former Prime Ministers,
Right Honourable Speakers and Chairpersons of Parliament,
Madam Dr Moon,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Namaste and good afternoon!
I feel privileged to extend a warm welcome to our distinguished guests in Nepal, the land of Sagarmatha and Budhha.
I am impressed by the gracious presence of so many important political leaders and eminent personalities from various countries in this Summit.
I wish you a productive and enjoyable stay in Nepal.
Today, we stand at a critical juncture in the history of mankind as we face several critical and sensitive issues at local, national, regional and global levels.
The scientific and technological revolutions over the past several centuries have significantly empowered human beings, treating or eradicating diseases of many kinds, enabling most people to read, write and calculate, helping humanity to communicate better and faster, and making it possible for human beings to live better, healthier and longer lives.
The unprecedented achievements in biology; information, transport and communications, and agricultural technologies; and space science have delivered to us the fruits of human ingenuity as never before.
Today is also one of the most peaceful periods in world history, as international trade, cross-cultural interactions and technological innovations drive the global society much more deeply than anything else.
By resolving many intractable global problems, we, the people of the 21st Century, have indeed succeeded in improving the quality of life of people across the world, and enabled humanity to look forward to even better times to come.
Yet, numerous challenges and festering problems still continue to bedevil us, and warrant our urgent attention.
Poverty, illiteracy and many infectious diseases may have subsided, but they continue to beset and beleaguer the lives of millions of people across the world.
In addition, the world continues to reel from the adverse impacts of climate change, natural and man-made disasters, and terrorism. Indeed, nothing worries us more than the deteriorating condition of the planet and rapidly degrading environmental sustainability.
Climate change cannot be treated simply as a development challenge. It has emerged as a challenge to survival, an existential threat to humanity, particularly those living in mountainous and small island countries.
Let me elaborate little bit on this. Climate change has upset the organic linkage between the mountains and seas. The melting of glaciers leads to the rise in sea level. The natural recharge system, which is critical to maintain temperature and humidify the land, has been increasingly affected by climate change due to irresponsible human activities. The contamination of the sources of water downstream leads to pollution with negative consequences on the bio-geo chemical cycle which, in turn, disturbs the mountain ecosystem as well.
Our mountains, which occupy more than15% of our land mass, and forests with more than 45 per cent of coverage, must be seen as global asset, calling for global attention in view of their significant contribution to check temperature rise. The mountains help keep air cool through out the year and in all seasons below -50 degree Celsius. The melting of snow is absorbed by rocks which then discharge it in a normal way in the form of several rivers and tributaries, which help maintain downstream ecological balance. Likewise, forests' contribution in carbon sequestration is equally important.
It is worth-mentioning that sixty per cent of our land is dedicated to containing temperature rise. In this way, the contributions of both of our mountains and forests in maintaining environmental sustainability in a natural way is matchless.
The irony is that the severest burden is felt by those who did not commit any fault. This is unacceptable. So, we very much emphasize the need for effective implementation of climate justice principle.
In order to address multiple global problems, I believe that the way forward should consist of three major approaches: the promotion of peace and interdependence among nations by strengthening and upholding multilateralism; the pursuit of mutual prosperity by both developing and developed countries by protecting natural ecosystems and habitat; and the inculcation of universal values among the peoples of the world.
The era of relative peace and tranquility that has dawned on earth since the end of the Second World War has many causes behind it, but one of them is of paramount importance: interdependence among nations of the world.
Just as no modern human being can live alone in the state of nature, no nation in today’s world can sustain itself - or even survive - solely on its own in the absence of an international system that it is intricately embedded into.
Indeed, the creation of worldwide networks beyond national borders have made it insuperably difficult, and expensive, to wage large-scale wars. The pursuit of peace has been a direct beneficiary of such integration, inter-connections and interdependence, and integrative processes and interdependence have, in turn, led to globalization, which has brought us all closer toward greater harmony and co-operation.
Reversal of these gains under any pretext may invite untold consequences.
Contrary to its underlying meaning, globalization has led to uneven global platforms where the benefits accrued by some advanced economies have, sadly, been at the expense of the many developing ones.
An immediate remedial approach should, therefore, be devised in order to create a world which belongs to everybody, and which enables all humanity to live a life of peace, harmony and prosperity.
For attaining the goal of universal peace and harmony, the pursuit of mutual prosperity is the path that countries rich and poor ought to walk together.
For ensuring mutual prosperity, we need to forge active partnerships between governments, the private sector and diverse social groups.
In the international context, more advanced nations should encourage the flow of capital and technologies to the developing world, and help the socio-economic transformation of less developed economies through enabling policies in development assistance, trade, investment and technology transfer. They should also avoid restrictive policies that limit global mobility of people.
When we think about partnership among nations we must not forget that equity, justice and shared benefit should be the outcome of such a partnership based on the principles of sovereign equality, mutual respect and benefit. Everyone has to sacrifice for a collective good, for prosperity cannot be achieved at the expense of others.
Our collective efforts should be underpinned by universal values that all humanity shares as its core norms, and these values are of peace, harmony and tolerance among the peoples of the world.
In today’s age of fast-paced technological revolutions, we are set to be faced with such moral dilemmas as never faced by humanity in its history so far.
Advancements in science and technology without an underlying system of moral and ethical values will not only bring disaster of incalculable magnitude, but may also wreak havoc to the very foundations of human civilization.
We need to be prepared for the coming new age not just with new intellectual tools, but also with commensurate moral compass and ethical standards that can help us negotiate the many dilemmas that it will bring.
Our motherland, Nepal, and Himvatkhanda, the Himalayan region that we belong to, is an ancient fountainhead of wisdom and practical knowledge, where the profound contemplations were first made of the entire Universe being a shared space for all sentient beings.
The phrase ‘वसुधैव कुटुंबकम’ encapsulates that profound wisdom of common humanity: The World is one Family.
It is also the land of Buddha, the beacon of peace, wisdom and moderation, and of a humanist and universal philosophy which extols the virtue of seeing the other in one's own self, and which calls for peace and harmony in the entire universe.
We are the proud inheritors of one of most ancient civilizations on earth, which has given the world art, literature, science, innovation and, most importantly, the ideals of peace and political philosophies. The light of knowledge was first lit in the Asia-Pacific region. We should be proud of our rich Asian values and legacies handed down to us from generation to generation.
In this philosophy of our ancient seers, which we inculcate in our daily lives to this day, there is no Other Self.
The blessings of this ancient, generous, profound, humanistic and universalist civilization of Nepal make our country one of the best-placed cultures to help identify and further develop the values that will be needed for our future generations to live full, meaningful, happy and decent lives.
Based on the teachings of our ancient civilization, I believe that the norms and values that should guide the future of humanity are the following: universality, harmony, acceptance, peace, empathy, non-violence, and dispassionate action.
Universality is a value that disregards petty distinctions of race, creed or geography, and strives for imbibing the principles of the world being one place.
On the other hand, universal harmony is not possible without the acceptance of our distinctive identities and unique particularities. When we talk about harmonious coexistence, we can learn from nature. Just as nature accommodates diversity and helps preserve overall balance in the ecosystem, we, human beings, should also develop the culture of peaceful and harmonious coexistence, respecting diversity of our society. Thus diversity is inevitable, whether it is in nature or society, which makes our world both beautiful and colourful.
Therefore, both universality and particularity are complementary and harmonious, and fit perfectly into a single paradigm of universal unity with distinctive individuality.
Where there is empathy and acceptance, there is harmony, and peace and non-violence are their natural corollaries.
We take enormous pride in our own culture, traditions and heritage, and we sincerely believe that we have much to offer in developing a universal system of values such that all nations and all peoples can create a harmonious world and live together in peace, amity and friendship.
The poverty of material goods that some parts of our society are still faced with does not mean that we are morally submissive or that we are eager to imitate the culture and values of others.
I am quite sure that the sublime wisdom and eternal serenity that animates this ancient Himalayan city with the teachings of seers from countless millennia ago will give depth and meaning to the discussions of this conclave on how to make the lives of our future generations even brighter, while being embedded deeply with our heritage of the past.
Before I conclude, I would like to briefly share with you our political achievements and the road ahead.
Recent political transformation in Nepal has been a monumental achievement in our history. Equally successful has been our unique peace process, launched in 2006. It was a process invented, led, owned, managed and steered by ourself. With courageous steps and bold decisions at various critical points of time, we have been able to fundamentally conclude the peace process and leave behind one of the most difficult periods in our history. In achieving this landmark success, we have set an example that, in a diverse society like ours, through dialogue, understanding, mutual respect, compromise and accommodation, even an armed conflict can be successfully resolved and supremacy of ballot over bullet can be established. While one-size-fits-all approach cannot work in addressing country-specific situation, I, however, believe that our success story can serve as a good example for emulation elsewhere.
We also take immense pride in accomplishing a historic task of constitution writing by the elected representatives of the people. Our goal is to realize comprehensive democracy that empowers individual in all spheres of national life with social justice at its core. With the incorporation of universally accepted rights and freedoms of people; distinctive features of competitive multiparty democracy; rule of law and independent judiciary , I feel honoured to share with you that we have one of the best constitutions in the world. It is worth-mentioning that for the first time in our history, the constitution has made the people of Nepal truly sovereign and I strongly believe that we will not have to fight for political rights anymore. This marks the dawn of a new era for the people of Nepal.
I am acutely aware of the fact that these solid achievements of the Nepali people will not be sustainable if concomitant progress is not achieved in socio-economic spheres. Informed by this reality, my Government has accorded top priority to rapid yet sustainable economic development. Our agenda for socio-economic transformation is guided by the motto “Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali”.
The people of Nepal have exhibited higher degree of resilience to remain united and determined in pursuing political, economic and social objectives in a peaceful and harmonious manner even in the face of devastating earthquake that hit the country in April and May 2015. Our reconstruction drive is gaining momentum and we are confident that we will be able to complete the task within a short period of time.
The successful conclusion last year of elections to all three tiers of federal setup-local, provincial and federal- with record turnout of voters have effectively ended the protracted political transition in Nepal, ushering the country in a new phase of political stability. My government enjoys robust mandate of the people with three-fourth support of the parliament, out of which my party alone constitutes two-third majority. The people of Nepal have voted for stability and economic transformation and as Prime Minister I am proud to dedicate myself to the great service of the nation and people.
Political stability has an important bearing on policy stability. All confusion and uncertainty surrounding policy domains have also come to an end with our clear vision and forward looking approach. This will positively impact on our efforts towards socio-economic development .
On the foreign policy front, we have made major achievements in our neighbourhood policy with a balanced, objective and independent conduct of diplomacy. Our objective has been to strengthen our friendly and cooperative ties with our neighbours based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and benefit. Our relations with major powers of the world have been further strengthened and our engagements in regional and multilateral affairs have been more visible and productive.
These are some of the remarkable achievements of Nepali people. These gains have not come without heavy price. But, today we are a confident nation with a strong sense of unity in diversity and imbued with a profound patriotic feeling that nothing could be superior than the vital interests of the country.
I sincerely believe that our friends and well-wishers have an innate desire to see a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous Nepal. We need your goodwill, understanding and support as we move ahead for the realization of this goal.
The perfect blend of nature and culture makes Nepal an attractive destination for tourists around the world. It is the land one would not miss in his or her life time not only because we have beautiful mountains, lakes and rich flora and fauna but also because innocent smile of Nepali people touches the core of your heart for their unmatched hospitality. Moreover, we believe that our friends and well-wishers want to come and visit us to see for themselves how far Nepal has gone in the last two decades in transforming its political system and the way of life of its people. I hope, you would find a convenient time to visit us again, as we believe ‘ Once is Not Enough’ !
Finally, Distinguished Guests, I sincerely hope that the deliberations in this Summit, which has brought together statesmen, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, academics and experts from across various continents, will be held in this high spirit of ‘live and let live’.
With these words, I thank you for your valuable participation in this important event. I wish all success of the Summit.