•      Wed Dec 6 2023

‘We intend to strengthen connectivity with China through roads, railways’

Narayankaji Shrestha

Beijing: At the outset, on behalf of the Government of Nepal and on my own, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the Government of the People’s Republic of China for the invitation to this High-level forum on Green Development under the Third Belt and Road Forum.

I firmly believe this is the most appropriate time to deliberate on the theme “Green Silk Road for Harmony with Nature” under the broader theme of “High-Quality Belt and Road Cooperation: Together for Common Development and Prosperity” particularly when anthropogenic climate change has emerged as an existential threat to humanity, and inequality is widening within and among countries.

From pandemic to catastrophic disasters- caused by natural hazards, our generations have witnessed from closest vicinity how disasters wreak havoc on humanity if not handled with utmost care.

I express my firm belief that this forum will be instrumental in shaping our developmental pathways in harmony with nature to ensure sustainable development and prosperity.

Nepal is one of the most vulnerable countries to climate change with limited response and adaptive capacity. Climate vulnerable mountainous countries like Nepal have been bearing the severe brunt of climate change. Poor countries cannot bear the cost of environmental damage for which they are least responsible. Climate justice should underpin global burden sharing.

On one hand, we must align all our activities towards green development-for resilience and sustainability. On the other hand, the international community must fulfill their obligations under the Paris Agreement including financing commitments.

Connectivity remains at the core of all development activities. For a landlocked country like Nepal, the importance of connectivity within the country and across the border cannot be overemphasized.

In this context, I recall with happiness that Nepal signed the framework agreement of the Belt and Road Initiative in 2017. We intend to strengthen connectivity with China through roads, railways, airway, ports, and grids in an orderly manner as envisaged under the Trans-Himalayan Multidimensional Connectivity Network.

Nepal and China are good neighbours and close friends. Our close collaboration could stand tall in addressing the aspiration of our people for shared prosperity.

Nepal is all set to graduate from Least Developed to developing country in 2026. Similarly, Nepal is also committed to pursuing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

In this context, we value the importance of high-quality Belt and Road cooperation to enhance our connectivity, boost up productive capacity, and accelerate economic development on a sustainable basis.

The planet is finite. So, we must protect nature while we achieve economic prosperity. We must adopt an eco-friendly development strategy. And, we must change our consumption pattern.

We are living in an interconnected and interdependent world. We must work in close collaboration to better respond to and deliver on the needs of the people and the planet.

I look forward to this forum taking decisive steps to achieve the objectives of Green Silk Road while realizing common development and promoting our harmony with nature.

In conclusion, it is our collective responsibility to ensure common development and prosperity.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs Narayankaji Shrestha was addressing the gathering of “High-level Forum on Green Development during the Third Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation” in Beijing on 18 October 2023.