By A Staff Reporter Kathmandu, Nov. 26: The 13th meeting of the Joint Commission between Nepal and the European Union (EU) was held in Kathmandu on Wednesday. The EU and Nepal discussed the COVID-19 pandemic and cooperation in post-pandemic recovery and Nepal conveyed its gratitude to the European Union for promptly extending the support of life-saving medical items and equipment when Nepal was struggling through the devastating second wave of the pandemic in the summer this year, read a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Thanking the EU for its important contribution to the COVAX Facility, Nepal shared the plan of vaccinating all eligible population by April 2022 and briefed on efforts being made by the Government to contain COVID-19. Welcoming Nepal’s plan to graduate from LDC status by 2026, the EU expressed its commitment to the Green Resilient Inclusive Development of Nepal and its readiness to extend all possible support to Nepal in achieving its development aspirations.
The two sides also underlined that vaccines are public goods, hence the need of ensuring equitable access. Nepal reiterated its appreciation for the EU’s strong support for the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) as well as for the extension of the Initiative.
The EU informed also about the finalisation the development programming documents under the new Neighbourhood, Development and International Cooperation Instrument (NDICI Global Europe). In the Sub-Commission on Development Cooperation held on November 23, Nepal and the EU took stock of the progress achieved and lessons learned in the implementation of on-going cooperation. Nepal thanked Finland, France, Germany and the EU for the announced Team Europe Initiative on green recovery for a total amount of EUR 240 million.
The EU also welcomed the commitment to transitional justice expressed by the Foreign Minister Dr. Narayan Khadka at the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in September this year. The two sides exchanged views on bilateral trade relations. The EU reiterated its longstanding commitment to support Nepal’s development also in view of the LDC graduation process and emphasised the need for Nepal to implement necessary requirements in view of qualifying for preferential market access under the EU’s GSP+ scheme.
Nepal briefed on its efforts made to improve air safety, notably regarding the proposed new aviation legislation. Nepal appreciated the technical support received in its endeavour to improve air safety. The EU and Nepal also exchanged views on the importance of regional cooperation in South Asia (SAARC, BIMSTEC). The meeting was co-chaired by Mr Bharat Raj Paudyal, the Foreign Secretary of the Government of Nepal and Ms. Paola Pampaloni, Deputy Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific of the European External Affairs Service.
The next Joint Commission meeting will take place in Brussels in 2022. Set up in 1996, the Nepal-EU Joint Commission has proved to be a useful platform of engagement and providing momentum to further deepen the partnership between Nepal and the EU.