KATHMANDU – In her capacity as President of the UN-Women Executive Board for 2017, Her Excellency Lana Nusseibeh, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations in New York, completed a tour of United Nations operations in Nepal alongside Presidents and Members of the Executive Boards of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Development Programme (UNDP)/UN Population Fund (UNFPA)/UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS), and the World Food Programme (WFP).
The objective of the trip was to observe the operations and coordination of the six agencies on the ground, and to meet with field representatives to understand the issues affecting the projects and their outcomes. The joint field visit (JFV) headed by His Excellency Walton Webson, Permanent Representative of Antigua and Barbuda, in his capacity as President of UNICEF’s Executive Board, prepared the Presidents for the upcoming annual Executive Board meetings of each of their respective entities. During the visit, the Presidents and Members of the Executive Boards visited UN-supported programs and initiatives strengthening Nepal’s community infrastructure, access to education, promoting women’s empowerment and participation, and rural development in the aftermath of the 2015 earthquake in Central Nepal.
“The trip was an opportunity to see first hand the important work that the UN family is doing on the ground in Nepal and coordination of the 6 UN agencies, helping to rebuild and develop communities following the devastating earthquake of 2015,” explained Ambassador Nusseibeh. “The UN is working in close collaboration with Nepal and in line with the government’s strategic objectives and priorities. It was also a chance to reaffirm the UAE’s strong commitment and close relationship to the government and people of Nepal as expressed in the high-level visit of the Prime Minister of Nepal, Pushpa Kamal Dahal, to the UAE in January 2017 and his excellent meetings with UAE leadership.”
In the meeting with Dr. Prakash Sharan Mahat, Nepal’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Nusseibeh conveyed the regards of His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation,
and commended the strong bilateral relationship between Nepal and the UAE, most recently signified in the opening of a UAE
embassy in Nepal. They then interacted with Dr. Min Bahadur Shrestha, Vice Chairperson of Nepal’s National Planning Council, and Ayodhi Prasad Yadhav, Chief Election Commissioner, where the Ambassador Nusseibeh shared the UAE’s experiences with parliamentary elections and promoting and ensuring women’s active participation in the political process.
Before leaving Kathmandu, Ambassador Nusseibeh attended a humanitarian staging area tour with the delegation, followed by a discussion of the facility and its use during the 2015 earthquake. Ambassador Nusseibeh and other Members of the Executive Boards travelled to Bidur where they were briefed on active programs and initiatives implemented in districts of central Nepal. She then travelled to Gerkhu with her group to visit Siddheswor Primary School, where classes are running under semi-permanent transitional learning centers. The group met with the UNICEF-supported Village Children’s Protection Committee, and observed how women’s cooperatives supported served the community’s women and children and engaged with both the women and children on their feedback of these services and the role the UN is playing in their lives.
Ambassador Nusseibeh and other Members of the Executive Boards travelled to Kalyanpur to visit a vegetable collection center under a UNDP-supported Community Infrastructure and Livelihood Recovery program, an early initiative to support those affected by the 2015 earthquake. They also observed a Conditional Damage Community Infrastructure project, and a cash distribution program, both a part of the protracted relief and recovery operation by WFP in Lachyang and Urleni. The delegation discussed with the community how the new infrastructure promoted growth in light of environmental calamities and built sustainable economic opportunities for the future.
The JFV also observed a micro-entrepreneurship development program supported by UNDP, as well as health personnel working on issues relating to malnourished children and mothers. Ambassador Nusseibeh met with female health volunteers ensuring women’s access to health care in rural Nepal.
“I was inspired to see the real and tangible ways that the UN has impacted the lives of so many where it’s needed the most,” said Ambassador Nusseibeh. “I am proud that the UAE is such an active and committed giver in the humanitarian space, including in Nepal. Interacting with the children and women who have benefited from these projects brought home the importance of the UN reform work we are doing in New York to ensure that the UN delivers efficiently and effectively to ensure maximum impact for the people at the center of its work. The interaction with the government of Nepal was particularly helpful to the Board Members in terms of getting constructive feedback on the UN agencies’ role, impact and future priorities. The UAE is a strong and committed partner to Nepal both multilaterally and bilaterally, and we hope to see this relationship grow stronger in the coming years.”
Nepal is one of the UAE’s close development partners. The UAE invests millions of dollars of grants annually in a wide range of infrastructure and social services. The UAE also played a key role in the response to the 2015 earthquake, serving as an operational hub for UN and international response, as well as mobilizing search-and-rescue teams and immediate relief including meals, water equipment, and medicine. For the third time in the last four years, the UAE was named by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as the world’s top donor, in terms of foreign aid as a percentage of gross national income.
Ambassador Nusseibeh will be heading the UN-Women delegation, including the four Vice-Presidents of the Executive Board from Guyana, Liberia, Montenegro, and Switzerland, to India for a field visit between April 22 and 26. The delegation is to meet with government representatives, UN agencies and their civil society partners to observe and provide recommendations on UN-Women’s programming in India.