EU will support Nepal in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions: EU Ambassador Deprez « Khabarhub
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EU will support Nepal in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions: EU Ambassador Deprez



Nona Deprez is Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nepal. She was Head of the Unit for the Partnership Instrument in the Service for Foreign Policy Instrument (FPI) of the European Commission in Brussels.

At the start of the new Commission, Deprez was appointed Equality Coordinator for the Service.

Within the FPI, she has worked previously on Election Observation Missions and the instrument contributing to stability and peace after having served in two European Union Delegations to Indonesia and Benin.

Dr. Pramod Jaiswal, Strategic Affairs Editor at Khabarhub, spoke to Nona Deprez, Head of Delegation of the European Union to Nepal on Nepal-EU ties.

The European Union has finally put together a long-awaited strategy on the Indo-Pacific. What are the reasons for the EU to step into the region and what are the major goals of this strategy and how will it affect Nepal?

I think it is very obvious to us because the European Union and the Indo-Pacific are highly interconnected.

The European Union is already the top investor; we are the leading development partner with our member states, and we are also one of the biggest trading partners in the Indo-Pacific region.

Together, the Indo-Pacific and Europe hold over 70% of the global trade in goods and services, and also 60% of the direct investment flows.

This is why looking at these numbers — the Indo-Pacific region is increasingly becoming strategically important to the EU.

We want to work with the Indo-Pacific region on maintaining a Free and Open Indo-Pacific while building a long-lasting partnership and a strong partnership.

However, we also see that there is a growing political competition in the region and increasing tension in the trade and supply chain.

So, this is why we have decided to step up our strategic engagement with the Indo-Pacific region.

We want to work with the Indo-Pacific on a rules-based international order level and a level playing field, and also on an open and fair environment for trade and investment.

We also want to tackle climate change together, and we want to support connectivity between the Indo-Pacific and the European Union.

How does the EU plan to extend its support to Nepal in achieving its development aspirations and its commitment to the Green Resilient Inclusive Development of Nepal?

This is something which is very important for the European Union, and it really is our top priority. The European Union has adopted a Green Deal, and we have also pledged to become the first carbon-neutral continent by 2050.

We want to do this but it will not be sufficient if we are the only ones who do this. This is why we want to work with partners around the world so that they also adopt very ambitious climate actions and climate objectives, and that is exactly what Nepal has done.

Nepal has put forward very ambitious objectives at the last COP26 in Glasgow, and we want to continue supporting Nepal in its endeavor.

I think for us, this Green Resilient Inclusive Development Agenda is a top priority to work on, with the authorities of Nepal, the private sector, civil society, and obviously also with other development partners in Nepal.

This is very important in order to have sustainable growth and development and to make sure that there is a decoupling between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions.

It is very much in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, with our own priorities, with Nepal’s priorities; Nepal is very vulnerable to climate change and it is also very much in line with Nepal’s agenda on its transition from the least developed country into a developing country.

So, I think we want to continue to work with Nepal on this agenda. We have already announced them during the visit of my director Paola Pampaloni, together with the Finance Secretary Madhu Marasini, with our EU member states and our Team Europe initiative on Green Recovery, putting together 214 million Euros to support Nepal in its green recovery.

But we also have many other projects which we work on education, health, nutrition, all of which is human capital development, which is absolutely a crucial factor to work on equitable, sustainable and inclusive development, and without forgetting of course the gender equality agenda.

For us, we need to have a whole of government approach, a whole of society approach, including the women into the productive force so that we can all work together on Nepal’s development.

In what ways and how has the EU been cooperating with Nepal in combating the climate crisis and protecting the environment?

Indeed, Nepal does not contribute very much to greenhouse gas emission, although it’s increasingly emitting this greenhouse gas emission.

But we want to support Nepal in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

We work together, for example, in the sector of WASH which is water and sanitation.

So, bringing water to the households, to the most vulnerable households, but also making sure that when we bring water, this is in line with Disaster Risk Reduction, and also working on nature-based solutions, working on the fact that this can be climate-resilient, working with Nepal on new agricultural practices which also should be climate-smart, which should be taking into account the new climate change environment that we have here.

But also making it resilient to any change in the climate.

So, we have been working on several levels; we want to also step up our cooperation with Nepal on energy, working with Nepal and with our colleagues from Germany on energy efficiency but also on renewable energy and on trying to make sure that there are more public-private partnerships, on trying to promote a new technological solution on energy efficiency.

First, you try them out on public authorities for example, and then to work with private sectors so that they also adopt these energy-efficient technologies, but also work on renewable energy such as the solar or the small hydropower off the grid.

Another very important point for the EU is the circular economy. I think this is also very promising and vital in Nepal, where we could also work together in terms of supporting Nepal in green and inclusive development.

Can you tell us about the new approach called the ‘TEAM EUROPE’ approach when it comes to assisting Nepal?

The European Union has 27-member states and what we want to do is to really promote us working together as Team Europe.

So this means, it’s the European Union, it’s the European Union member states, and the European Union financial institutions, such as the European Investment Bank; the EIB.

So, it’s all of us working together, communicating on our work together but also pooling the funds, looking at it that we can really leverage what we do hereby being able to work together because we are stronger together.

For example, one important action that Team Europe has already delivered is that we have played a leading role in setting up the COVAX facility because we also believe in multilateral solutions.

This is where Europe- Team Europe as a group has exported more than half of its production of vaccines and is also one of the lead contributors to COVAX which has provided vaccines to Nepal amongst other countries, so I think that is a good example.

The other example is the one that I mentioned before. So now in our new program, we want to support Nepal’s Green Recovery and we will work with colleagues from Finland, from Germany, and with the political support of France on making this happen in Nepal.

Can you highlight how the European Union has been supporting Nepal in the implementation of its Nationally Determined Contributions?

I think this is now really a top priority for us. So, we will work together in terms of energy, in terms of a circular economy, but also we are looking into moving into other sectors such as forestry; where we could also support Nepal in achieving its nationally determined contributions.

We’re also ready to look into other fields where we could support Nepal and this is all part of this Green Resilient Inclusive Development.

So, I think, obviously for us, this is a top priority; we want to work with Nepal so that it achieves these nationally determined contributions, and that it’s really on the path to becoming a negative emitter from 2045 which is very ambitious but very laudable in terms of ambition from Nepal.

What will be the role of the EU to help countries like Nepal in its post-COVID19 economic recovery?

I think this is part of why we’re here and Nepal is obviously part of the Indo-Pacific region.

We are very highly interconnected; we have a lot of trade, a lot of development cooperation, we could improve the investment.

We want to be there to support Nepal on its path to graduation from the least developed country.

We want to also try to promote sustainable development; in line with environmental standards, labor conventions, and inclusive society.

It is really in our interest as it is in the interest of Nepal that Nepal is an inclusive, democratic, sustainable society with equitable growth. So this is where we see that it’s really a common priority to work on global challenges such as climate change, but also to work in the same way on Nepal’s economic development so that we could increase our trade and investment links.

We work, for example, currently on raising awareness on our new generalized system of preferences to which Nepal will transition once it has graduated from the least developed country, for which a few labor conventions or human rights conventions, environment conventions, have to be ratified and implemented.

We want to support Nepal in this endeavor which is in all of our interests, so we want to increase foreign direct investments into Nepal; promote sustainable growth in Nepal.

Nepal and the EU held the 13th edition of the Nepal-EU Joint Commission this year. In your view, what role has the platform played in increasing the engagement and providing momentum to further deepen the partnership between Nepal and the EU?

Well, we were very lucky to have our director Paola Pampaloni here with us physically, just before the Omicron wave hit the world and I really believe this is really part of our work; this is why we are here, this is why we are a diplomatic service — to talk to each other, to understand each other, and to share our experiences.

So, I think the Nepal-EU Joint Commission is a very important platform to deepen further these relations and I was very happy about the Joint Commission meeting this year.

We met for a whole day; we had very deep discussions on various matters ranging from COVID recovery, climate change, human rights, good governance, trade, and investment.

I think it is very important that we exchange, that we explain to each other our point of view.

We had a very good talk with the Foreign Secretary and with all of the ministries of course.

So, I think all of these are very important platforms. Obviously, they are not the only platforms.

We also want to sustain our dialogue with the authorities here in Nepal, so we have regular meetings with the Nepali government, with the Provincial governments, the local governments, civil society, private sectors, think tanks, and with the population, because it is so important that we raise awareness on what the EU stands for, our values, and what we do here in Nepal.

Publish Date : 18 January 2022 07:22 AM

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