Nepal at the United Nations: Need for Diplomatic Expertise – The Himalayan Times – Nepal’s No. 1 English Daily Newspaper


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The advent of the United Nations in 1945 was primarily attributed to a widely felt need for a global body, unlike the League of Nations (League of Nations), capable of establishing world peace and security for avoid a possible third world war. The failure of the LoN formed by the great powers after the end of the First World War (1914-18) by the Treaty of Versailles in 1919 and the lack of sense of belonging of many countries were at the origin of the creation of the United Nations.

The LoN looked only at the rich countries, whose very preamble opens on “We, the high power nations…”, while the Charter of the United Nations in the preamble says “We, the peoples of the United Nations … ”, Signaling a shift from the nations of great power to the peoples of the United Nations, great or small, rich or poor. The 51 founding members who endorsed the United Nations Charter on June 26, 1945 in San Francisco to establish this body and officially give birth to it on October 24 of the same year could hardly have imagined the UN today in terms of continuation of its existence and the global efforts of the United Nations in the field of peace and security, socio-economic development and humanitarian activities for the well-being of the peoples of the member countries, which has now reached 193.

As the UN marks the 76th year of its creation, Nepal, for its part, celebrates the 66th year of its membership in the UN, following its admission on December 14, 1955 as the 75th member of the UN. Nepal’s earlier solicitation on July 22, 1949 through a 27 page letter signed by Major General Bijaya Shumsher Rana, then Director General of Foreign Affairs (equivalent to the current Minister of Foreign Affairs) for membership at the UN was unsuccessful following the veto of the USSR on September 7 of the same year. This news was covered by a newspaper no less well known than the famous The New York Times which said “The Himalayan Kingdom of Nepal has been kept away from the United Nations today by the thirty-first veto registered by the Union. Soviet ”.

Naturally, Nepal had a Rana regime at that time when Russia was already a communist country since the revolution of 1917 which overthrew the Tsar.

The Soviet Union might have interpreted Nepal’s Rana regime as a counterpart to their former rulers, the Tsar. This is clearly demonstrated because the Soviet Union did not oppose Nepal’s entry into the UN in 1955.

At the time of its candidacy for the UN in 1949, Nepal had diplomatic relations only with India, France and the United States, which may also have contributed to Nepal’s non-acceptance of the UN although Nepal was one of the 17 oldest independent countries in the world in which no foreign flag has been hoisted in documented world history.

The fact that Nepal first applied for membership in the UN during Rana’s reign in 1949, but was not admitted until five years after the end of the same reign was due to the lack of concrete follow-up in the UN corridor through Nepal in the meantime due to the power struggle between political leaders. Although blamed as a thief of democracy, it was during King Mahendra’s direct reign that Nepal became a member of the United Nations in 1955.

Nepal’s entry into the UN in the mid-1950s was followed by UN commitments in Nepal’s development since the early 1960s with technical and financial assistance covering almost all segments of socio-development. economic. Its assistance has focused on infrastructure development, health, education, population and family planning / reproductive health, maternal and child health, gender issues, poverty reduction and the environment. through a number of projects and programs across the country.

Currently, 21 UN specialized agencies and other UN bodies such as UNDP, WHO, UNICIEF, UNFPA, ICAO and many other offices are actively contributing, under the overall residential coordination / representation of the office of country of the UNDP, to the development of Nepal. There is a good chance that more aid will be provided if the government shows diplomacy and tact in advocating for more UN aid for the sustainable development of Nepal, mainly through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Finance.

Nepal’s presence in the United Nations as a member for the past six and a half decades has been marked by remarkable examples. Nepal’s representation in the UN mission, led by Nepal’s first envoy, Rishikesh Shah, has earned a great reputation through his diplomatic maneuvers in the UN corridor, as a result of which he was chosen to head the International Commission, set up by the UN, charged with investigating the death of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold in a mysterious plane crash in Rhodesia, now in Zambia, while he was on a UN peacekeeping mission.

The fact that a permanent representative of Nepal to the UN was chosen to head such a prestigious but sensitive UN mission was not a simple recognition of Nepal when the country at the time was not as well exhibited internationally as it is today.

Nepal’s significant presence in the UN was reflected when it was elected to a two-year non-permanent member seat on the UN Security Council in 1969 during the tenure of Major General Padam Bahadur Khatry in as a permanent representative to the UN. After nearly two decades, Nepal regained the same prestigious seat of the UNSC in 1989 under the diplomatic leadership of Jaya Pratap Rana, but Nepal lost in the fray for a non-permanent presidential seat of the UNSC and of the General Assembly in the recent past.

Currently, Nepal is ranked as the fourth largest force contributor to the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission, with its security personnel engaged in various conflict-affected UN member countries. But no Nepalese has become the head of a specialized UN agency, not even a second man, since the retirement of Kul Chandra Gautam from UNICIEF. It takes a sense of diplomacy.


A version of this article appears in the November 09, 2021 print of The Himalayan Times.

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