November 25: The European Union (EU) has expressed its commitment to the Green Resilient Inclusive Development of Nepal and its readiness to extend all possible support to Nepal in achieving its development aspirations.
The EU made such commitment during the 13th meeting of the Joint Commission between Nepal and the European Union (EU) that was held in Kathmandu on November 24.
A broad range of issues of mutual interest featured during the meeting.
Set up in 1996, the Nepal-EU Joint Commission has proved to be a useful platform to further deepen the partnership between Nepal and the EU.
The EU and Nepal discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperation in post-pandemic recovery. Nepal conveyed its gratitude to the EU for promptly extending the support of life-saving medical items and equipment when Nepal was struggling through the devastating second wave of the pandemic in the summer this year.
Thanking the EU for its important contribution to the COVAX Facility, Nepal shared the plan of vaccinating all eligible population by April 2022 and briefed on efforts being made by the government to contain COVID-19.
The EU welcomed Nepal’s plan to graduate from LDC status by 2026. In this respect, the EU expressed its commitment to the Green Resilient Inclusive Development of Nepal and its readiness to extend all possible support to Nepal in achieving its development aspirations.
Stress on multilateral cooperation
The EU and Nepal underlined the importance of effective multilateral cooperation, strengthening the World Health Organization and strengthening global capacity to respond to future pandemics. The two sides also underlined that vaccines are public goods, hence the need of ensuring equitable access.
Nepal reiterated its appreciation for the EU’s strong support for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) as well as for the extension of the initiative. Nepal and the EU agreed that the swift and full implementation of the DSSI by all official bilateral creditors should be a key priority in order to ensure predictability given the continuing financing pressures on the beneficiary countries owing to the pandemic.
The EU also appreciated the achievements made by Nepal in its socio-political transformation. It stressed the important role of civil society and media for strengthening democracy and good governance. The EU encouraged Nepal to further increase the participation of women in political life and the decision making process in Nepal.
The Joint Commission welcomed the lending activity of the European Investment Bank (EIB) in Nepal, which will focus on climate change adaptation and mitigation as well as improved connectivity and renewable energy in the coming years.
Similarly, regarding people-to-people contacts, Nepal and the EU discussed ongoing higher education cooperation, whereby a growing number of Nepali students are studying in European universities. Nepal ranks among the top 20 countries worldwide in terms of students being awarded scholarships for Erasmus Mundus Joint Master Degree programmes. Since the launch of the cooperation about 800 students from Nepal benefited from the possibility to study on European universities.
EU requested to lift ban on Nepali airlines
Nepal briefed on its efforts made to improve air safety, notably regarding the proposed new aviation legislation. Nepal appreciated the technical support received in its endeavour to improve air safety. In view of the necessary measures taken by Nepal and its need to reviving tourism sector for economic recovery, Nepal requested the EU to lift the ban on its airlines. The EU acknowledged the positive developments and effort made by the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and assured that a positive step will be taken in this direction once the necessary legislation is implemented.
Joint commitment to rules-based order
Both sides reiterated their commitment to work together in the United Nations, World Trade Organization and other international fora supporting effective multilateralism and rules-based world order. They agreed on the importance of sincerely implementing the outcome of the COP26 held in Glasgow earlier this month and taking robust measures for climate action as well as meeting the financial commitments made to support the less resourceful countries in fighting the adverse impacts of climate change.
The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal from Nepal and Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Affairs Service, Paola Pampaloni.
The next joint commission meeting will take place in Brussels in 2022. -- RSS