Your Excellency Mr. Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the Chairman of the Non-Aligned Movement,
Your Excellencies the Heads of State and Government,
At the outset, I would like to thank Your Excellency President Ilham Aliyev for this timely initiative to bring us together.
Nepal welcomes your initiative to establish the NAM Contact Group for our collective fight against the COVID-19.
The Pandemic has shaken the world in a magnitude not experienced in our lifetime; yet it has reminded us how deeply our fate is interwoven in this global village.
The humanity is at stake now. Close to two hundred and fifty thousand lives are lost. Our health facilities have been overwhelmed. The virus has tested our ability and exposed our vulnerability.
Global trading and travel linkages are disrupted. Businesses have collapsed.
Jobs are vanished. Education systems are disrupted, and
Millions risk relapsing into poverty making the realization of SDGs even harder. We are now fighting a common but invisible enemy.
In such a situation, I believe that there is nothing more important than the protection of human life and saving of humanity. This is the supreme duty of Governments.
We can revive economic loss. We can reinvent technology. We can build a prosperous society. But, we cannot revive the loss of precious human life, which is also the loss of human capital, talents, expertise and ideas. So, life comes first of all other considerations. Humanity must prevail, not the virus. For this, health must be our topmost priority.
Mindful of this, in Nepal, we have deployed all political, economic, human and technological resources at our disposal to contain the spread of the virus. Our focus has been on both the prevention and mitigation of the pandemic. We have marshalled all resources and state machinery at federal, provincial and local level to manage and respond to the crisis in a coherent way.
We have upgraded health facilities, incentivized health care workers, and ensured accessible health services for all. We have installed additional facilities for quarantine and isolation. We have pursued combination of measures, such as, testing, contact-tracing, quarantine and social distancing. At the same time, we have enforced temporary measures, such as, nation-wide lockdown, suspension of international flights and restriction in cross-border movement of the people.
I am happy to share that, as of today, there is no death from Covid-19 in Nepal. I must underline though the unprecedented economic hardship that we are facing. The whole economy is in standstill. Understandably, small enterprises, peasants and daily wage earners are the hardest hit. Remittances and revenue sources have declined. Tourism has shattered. The pace of development will suffer, so will the sources of livelihood of the people.
While we are determined to face the challenge, we believe that crisis of this proportion calls for robust global response. National endeavors must be complemented by international support measures. Here comes the indispensable role of the United Nations and its specialized agency, WHO. They must be strengthened and supported to promote cooperation, collaboration and synchronize global response against the pandemic.
Non-Aligned Movement, as a group of 120 countries, must use its numerical and moral strength to unite the world at this critical moment of human history. If the world unites, we will win the war. If the world divides, virus will defeat us. And there is no other choice, but the virus must be defeated.
In this context, I would like to highlight the following points:
First and foremost, NAM must remain united at this critical hour and support multilateralism and global cooperation to defeat COVID-19 and to help achieve the shared aspiration of peace, stability and prosperity.
Second, NAM must coordinate actions to help its Member States and consolidate the voice of the poorest and most vulnerable population around the world in the spirit of global solidarity. In this regard, Nepal welcomes the proposal to establish the NAM Task Force to work out a database that will include requirements of NAM Member States.
Third, NAM must do its part to ensure that the world bounces back to normal. While galvanizing global unity, we need to scale up South-South Cooperation by way of sharing experience, transfer of technology, medical logistics and equipment.
Fourth, NAM must coordinate and advocate for launching of a robust recovery package from the international community to address the looming economic recession. The impacts are already massive worldwide and they are disproportionate to the LDCs, LLDCs and SIDs in particular. The crisis should not provide an excuse to retreat from existing commitments to the developing countries.
Fifth, NAM must promote regional initiatives as building blocks for global efforts. In South Asian region, leaders of SAARC countries came together for a summit level video conference to promote cooperation and find solution to the challenges posed by COVID-19.
Sixth, humanity must come together to fight against the challenges of poverty, illness and under-development. This is not a time to engage in insurgencies and wars. Therefore, Nepal supports UN Secretary General’s Appeal for Global Ceasefire.
Finally, the pandemic has exposed the inadequacies and fragility in existing economic system. We must ensure that states reorient economic arrangements and redeploy resources for building and maintaining of basic social protection, health care and education. Pro-people policies stand better to deal with the crisis like this.
Before I conclude, Mr. Chairman, let me express my profound condolences to the countries and families for the loss of lives and wish for speedy recovery of those undergoing treatment.
Together we will rebound; and rebound better.
I thank you for your attention.