Activities of Secretary-General in Nepal, Including Stopover in Qatar, 27 October-1 November
The United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, departed on Friday, 27 October to Nepal. This was his first trip in preparation for the forthcoming climate change summit, COP28 [twenty-eighth Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change], which would be held in the United Arab Emirates later in 2023.
During a stopover in Doha, Qatar, on 28 October, he spoke by phone with President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi of the Arab Republic of Egypt. They discussed the current situation in the Middle East and spoke about the coordination of humanitarian efforts for civilians in Gaza.
During the stopover, the Secretary-General also met with Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al-Thani, Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of the State of Qatar, for consultations on the Middle East crisis.
Before departing Doha for Nepal, the Secretary-General issued a statement on the situation in Gaza in which he reiterated his strong appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, together with the unconditional release of hostages and the delivery of humanitarian relief at the level that corresponds to the dramatic needs of the people in Gaza. See Press Release SG/SM/22011.
The Secretary-General arrived in Nepal early on Sunday, 29 October.
That afternoon, he had meetings with various Nepalese officials, including President Ramchandra Paudel; Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’; the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Prakash Saud; the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense, Purna Bahadur Khadka; and the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
He also met the former Prime Minister and Member of the House Representatives, Sher Bahadur Deuba, and the former Prime Minister and Leader of the main Opposition Party in the House of Representatives, KP Sharma Oli.
In a joint press encounter following the meeting with the Prime Minister, the Secretary-General extended his deepest condolences to the families of the ten Nepalese students killed in the terror attacks by Hamas in Israel on 7 October and his best wishes for the safe return of Bipin Joshi, who was missing. He repeated his utter condemnation of the appalling attacks perpetrated by Hamas, stressing that there is no justification, ever, for the killing, injuring, and abduction of civilians.
The Secretary-General said that the situation in Gaza was growing more desperate by the hour, and he reiterated his appeal for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, the unconditional release of all hostages, and the delivery of sustained humanitarian relief at a scale that would meet the needs of the people of Gaza.
Later in the afternoon, the Secretary-General visited the historic area around Patan Durbar Square with the Mayor of Lalitpur, Chiri Babu Maharjan. In the evening, the Secretary-General attended a dinner hosted by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’.
Early the next morning, the Secretary-General flew over the Everest region, including the Imja Lake. He also met with people from local communities in the Himalayas to hear directly from them about how they are being impacted by climate change.
In a video message issued from the Mount Everest Region, the Secretary-General noted that Nepal had lost close to one-third of its ice in the last 30 years. He said that the glaciers are retreating, but we cannot. He stressed that we must end the fossil fuel age, and we must act now to protect people on the frontlines. See Press Release SG/SM/22013.
The Secretary-General then returned to Kathmandu. After a meeting with UN staff at the UN House Pulchowk, the Secretary-General departed for Pokhara.
Early on Tuesday, 31 October, the Secretary-General visited the Annapurna Base Camp, where he warned that glaciers were melting very quickly, causing floods, landslides, and dramatic impacts on communities. He stressed that it was time to take drastic measures to fight climate change.
At a press encounter at the Pokhara Airport, the Secretary-General appealed to the international community to show effective solidarity so that there is much more funding for adaptation, to build resilience, to protect the communities, adding that the loss and damage fund needs to be put to work to the benefit of those populations like the ones he visited.
The Secretary-General then left for Lumbini, the birthplace of Lord Buddha, where he delivered a message for peace. He said that humanity was at war with nature and at war with itself. In the Middle East, Ukraine, the Sahel, Sudan, and many other places around the world, conflict was raging, he added.
The Secretary-General noted that across the ages, Lord Buddha's message of compassion, non-violence and interdependence calls to us all, and inspires us all — reminding us of our common humanity and the connectedness of all things. See Press Release SG/SM/22014.
Later in the afternoon, back in Kathmandu, the Secretary-General delivered remarks at the Nepalese Parliament. He said that as geopolitical tensions rise, global divisions were becoming deeper and more dangerous.
The Secretary-General noted that smaller countries feared becoming collateral damage in competition between the great powers, and climate catastrophe was accelerating with a deadly force. In responding to these crises, he said, the world could learn much from Nepal. See Press Release SG/SM/22015.
Later in the evening, at his hotel, the Secretary-General met with the UN country team. He departed Nepal on 1 November, early in the morning.