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NC Leader Mahat Addresses T20 Summit, Stresses On Cooperative Nationalism

KATHMANDU: Nepali Congress joint general-secretary Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat has said global governance basically refers to cooperative problem-solving arrangements at the global and regional level.
In his address today to the T20 Summit kicked off at Tokyo of Japan from Friday on the theme ‘global governance in times of populism and nationalism’, the former minister said after the devastation of the World War second, various global institutions such as the UN, World Bank, IMF and more recently the WTO had been created, through which collective interests on the global plane were articulated. Similarly, at the regional level, rule based regional government and groupings such as the EU and ASEAN and many others came into existence, he added. The T20 (Think20) remains as the research and policy advice network for the G20 countries. Dr Mahat put his views before the forum on behalf of Nepal-like Least Developed Countries. “Through these institutional mechanisms and many other processes, many different global and regional problems of a varied nature such as trade, environment, security, human rights were resolved.” He went on to say that even now, many different issues of global and regional nature were in the process of resolution as countries affirmed to commit to agreed issues. He viewed that rule based international order had enabled economic and security cooperation to expand.
Former minister Mahat evaluated the open market policy, rule of law and the peaceful resolution of disputes had not only increased global wealth but also expanded globally and helped mitigate global poverty, saying the global cooperation had contributed to building a more peaceful world. It does mean that the global governance system is working perfectly. It has many shortcomings and has led to disagreements and disputes. But it has also produced results. In this regard, the US has provided a leadership role not only in reconstruction and rebuilding efforts of Europe and the Far East but also in establishing global governance structures based on liberal democratic values, according to him. “However, we are now facing a challenge to rule based global governance system.
The countries who were advancing ideas of common global community and shared values are now questioning the merits of rule based global trading system and the severity of climate change. The support to human rights and democratic governance has not been given the kind of priority it used to get.” He reminded that the countries that were the champions of globalization and liberalization are saying ‘my country first.’ The developing world was told to privatize state-owned industries, opt for liberalization of their economies and lower their tariffs. But to their dismay, what they saw today was exactly what we were doing before 1990s. “Big and powerful countries have started to increase tariffs to protect the businesses and have started tearing down regional trading arrangements. With opening of the economy many developing countries are more confident of competing while some of the major advanced countries are less sure about it.”
He utilized the forum to apprise the T20 that the global community had painstakingly worked hard to reach a consensus to address the problem of climate change. “The US has unilaterally been withdrawing from it.” The NC leader said Nepal being a home to the Himalayan range, a source of water to a large population in South Asia, would also be facing the bad consequences of temperature rise. As leader Mahat said, the slogan of ‘make my country great’ is fine and so is the rise of positive nationalism. Loving one’s country actually is a good patriotic feeling every citizen of respective country should have. But what is required is a cooperative nationalism, fostering a sense of sharing and cooperation with each participating country fulfilling their own national interest. Given the interdependent nature of many issues which require collective actions, there is no substitute for the global governance. “The focus on populism and/nationalism is used to divert the real issues and it has eroded the spirit of cooperation.” In South Asia, regional cooperation and integration faces many challenges. Due to national sentiment attached to it, ruling government in India and Pakistan find it hard to reach amicable resolution to their border dispute. Against this backdrop, it is very difficult for any leadership to come out and articulate a practical proposal to resolve this issue amicably.
The issue of terrorism has complicated the issue further, which according to him, has harmed regional cooperation and integration. “In my country, the current ruling communist government that came to power with populist and nationalist slogans when failed to deliver, they are increasing indulged in blaming liberal democratic state institutions. The ruling party is uncomfortable with the rule of law, liberal democratic institutions in-charge of protecting fundamental rights such as supreme courts, and other constitutional bodies,” he stated, asserting that the judiciary, press, intelligence agencies, civil society, central banks must follow electoral verdicts, not their institutionally assigned roles. And, every national government should promote their citizen’s welfare to build a welfare state, he stressed.

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