Kathmandu, May 5
Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that the Non-Aligned Movement, as a group of 120 countries, must use its numerical and moral strength to unite the world at this critical moment in human history.
Addressing the virtual Summit of the NAM on the theme of ‘United against COVID-19’ last evening, he warned that humanity was at stake now and countries were fighting a common but invisible enemy. He further said the virus had tested ‘our ability and exposed our vulnerability’. “Global trading and travel linkages are disrupted, businesses have collapsed, jobs have vanished, education systems are disrupted, and millions risk relapsing into poverty making the realisation of SDGs even harder,” said the prime minister.
PM Oli emphasised that in such a situation, there was nothing more important than the protection of human life and saving humanity, which ‘is the supreme duty of governments’. “We can revive economic loss, reinvent technology, build a prosperous society, but, we cannot revive the loss of precious human lives, which is also the loss of human capital, talent, expertise and ideas. So, life comes first of all over other considerations,” he said.
Stressing that human health must be our topmost priority, the prime minister shared with NAM member states the measures taken by the Government of Nepal to respond to the crisis and informed that there was no death from Covid-19 in Nepal as of now.
He also underlined the unprecedented economic impact on remittances and tourism and the hardships that people face, in particular small enterprises, peasants and daily wage earners.
While expressing Nepal’s determination to face the challenge, the prime minister called for a robust global response to the crisis of such large proportion and highlighted the indispensable role of the United Nations and its specialised agency World Health Organisation.
“Those institutions must be strengthened and supported to promote cooperation, collaboration and to synchronise global response against the pandemic,” he said.
Oli further underlined that NAM must remain united and support multilateralism and global cooperation to defeat COVID-19, consolidate the voice of the poorest and most vulnerable, scale up South- South Cooperation by way of sharing experience, transfer of technology, medical logistics and equipment, coordinate and advocate for a robust recovery package from the international community.
He said that NAM must promote regional initiatives as building blocks for global efforts and recalled the video conference of the leaders of SAARC countries to promote cooperation and find solution to the challenges posed by COVID-19. Saying that humanity must come together to fight against the challenges of poverty, illness and under-development, PM Oli said this was not a time to engage in insurgencies and wars.
“Therefore, Nepal supports UN Secretary General’s Appeal for Global Ceasefire,” he said Stating that the pandemic had exposed the inadequacies and fragility in the existing economic system, the PM called for reorienting economic arrangements and redeploying resources for building and maintaining basic social protection, health care and education.
Pro-people policies stand better to deal with a crisis like this, he said.
He welcomed the proposal to establish the NAM Task Force to work out a database that will include requirements of NAM member states and appreciated the initiative to establish the NAM Contact Group for collective fight against the pandemic. The Summit adopted an eighteen-point declaration.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on May 6, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.