LONDON: Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has said that the tendencies of populism, protectionism and inward-looking thinking have become more pronounced in the world today. Hence, it is characterized by both optimism and anguish, by achievements and setbacks and by prospects and problems.
In his address to the Oxford Union on the theme ‘Peace, Democracy and Development’
in London, United Kingdom earlier today, Prime Minister Oli said the growing tussle between and among the world’s largest economies has raised doubt over the future of multilateral trading system and overshadowed the prospect for global development.
The fourth industrial revolution along with ‘disruptive technologies’ has led the world towards greater prosperity. However, its benefits are not judiciously shared. Inequality persists. The existence of poverty is against the values of human civilization and our conscience.
Stating that democracy and development are contingent upon peace and peace cannot be achieved and sustained in the absence of development, the Prime Minister said it is only the democratic system that paves the way for lasting peace and development.
“As a staunch fighter for democracy throughout my life, I believe the alternative to democracy is ‘more democracy’. This corresponds to the ‘Comprehensive democracy’. It embraces democratic rights including at the political, economic, social, cultural and technological levels to empower people,” he said.
Stating that Nepal’s experience with peace-making and peace-building has been an eminently endogenous process, with many salient features that are unique to our special circumstances, the Prime Minister said with political issues settled, our fight is now directed against poverty, underdevelopment, inequality, illiteracy and backwardness.
“Our vision is guided by the long-term aspiration of ‘Prosperous Nepal, Happy Nepali’. We aim to achieve both prosperity and happiness for lasting peace and stability”.
In his statement, Prime Minister Oli said Nepal has established the foundation of a non-discriminatory, inclusive and participatory democracy to bring everyone onboard for socio-economic transformation. Its demographic dividend and huge national resources offer enormous possibilities for development.
“Our model of development aims at ensuring basic services such as food security, shelter and clothing, education, and health and security for all,” the Prime Minister said, ” Our priority is not only about building and sustaining a political system but also about achieving overall social transformation. Sarwajan Hitaya Sarwajan Sukhaya (welfare and happiness for all) is at the heart of our efforts”.
In Nepal’s context, the democratic values and pluralism are inherent in our own culture and they are born out of our own conscience and conviction, and we have been practicing them as Nepali way of life. He also said that the most important task of a democratic government is to ensure the basic rights of the people so that ‘no one is left hungry and no one dies of hunger’.
Furthermore, the Prime Minister said democracy and its ‘bidirectional’ outcomes- peace and development- must aim at serving the people. Also, it is the people who must lead the opinions in democracy.
However, peace and democracy are always in the process of ‘becoming’ and we must believe in them and work at them in a sustainable manner, taking into account the local realities and keeping people at the centre.
On the occasion, the Prime Minister also lauded the Oxford University for its distinguished service to humanity through generation and dissemination of knowledge.
“Oxford an epitome of human pursuit of knowledge right from the medieval times and a center of knowledge and research where learning is nobler and superior,” he noted.
On a different note, the Prime Minister said it is unfortunate that the countries like Nepal which emit negligibly and contribute substantially to the maintenance of global ecological order are ironically bearing the brunt of disproportionate impact of climate change. “Our Himalayas and forests contribute to the recharging system of the earth and also keep the environment clean and cool. This must be recognized and climate justice should be upheld as an essential component of comprehensive democracy at the global level”, he said.
Noting that democracy has failed to promote equality, justice, employment, freedom, and deliver tangible outcomes to bring about the changes in the living standards of people, the Prime Minister said democracy has tended at times to become a formality and rhetoric, not substantive and people-centered. “Prescriptive approach developed on the basis of binary opposites, which is not mindful of the local context, does no justice to democracy itself”.
As there is no single formula of democracy and no fixed model of development, the Prime Minister said the political system of a particular country may inherit its historical background and socio-cultural features, thus making the system unique, which needs to be accepted and respected.
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