Declaration adopted at the High-Level Conference on the Role of Private Sector in Sustainable Development in Nepal

We, the representatives of the business sector in Nepal, building on the discussions held during the High-Level Conference on the Role of Private Sector in Sustainable Development in Nepal held on 21 November 2017:


Supporting the commitment of Nepal to the Agenda 2030 and the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by all Member states of the United Nations on September 25, 2015 as an ambitious yet achievable framework to create a fairer, more prosperous, and sustainable future for all,


Recognizing the commitments made by Nepal to various international Treaties and Conventions it has signed and ratified, such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women


Understanding that the achievement of sustainable development and the SDGs will require stronger inclusive economic growth and the creation of decent employment for the economy of Nepal,


Acknowledging the leading role of the business sector in creating jobs and economic activity that translates into sustained growth as well as working conditions that align with Nepal's obligations


Highlighting the importance of innovation, of responsible and sustainable business practices, and of establishing a culture of integrity in the economy to foster sustainable development and the achievement of the SDGs,


Calling on the government to create a conducive investment environment and to improve the ease of doing business, to invest in infrastructure to foster economic development, and to include business sector representatives in the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes that affect them, including through public-private partnerships,


Inviting development partners to increase their resources to support inclusive private sector development in Nepal and ensure development effectiveness by working collaboratively and in an aligned and coordinated manner,


Urge all stakeholders to come together and join forces to implement Agenda 2030 as a plan of action for people, the planet, and prosperity and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Nepal by 2030. [Source: UNDP Nepal] 



Specifically, we:

i.               encourage private sector entities to adopt the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals as part of their business plans;


ii.              collaborate to undertake joint initiatives to foster the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals;


iii.            mobilize other relevant stakeholders and advocate for their contribution to achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals; and


iv.            jointly work on policy reforms to improve Nepal's business environment.



To Support this ambitious agenda and the implementation of this Declaration, we form the Nepal Business Coalition for the SDGs and invite all businesses to join our efforts for a more resilient economy and the achievement of sustainable development in Nepal

Nepali business community commits to contribute to Nepal¹s sustainable development




Nepal's business community has expressed its firm commitment to contribute to the country's sustainable development, helping it achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.


Following a day-long seminar on "The role of the private sector in sustainable development in Nepal" on Tuesday, representatives of Nepal's top business associations and organizations announced the creation of a "Nepal Business Coalition for SDGs," which calls on all businesses to align with Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, adopted by the UN Member states, including Nepal in September 2015. The conference was organized by UNDP, KOICA, Embassy of Republic of Korea to Nepal, Korean Alumni Association in Nepal, and UN Global Compact Nepal.


In what was a clear milestone in engaging the private sector, the conference concluded with six major Nepali business organizations signing Memoranda of Understanding with UNDP Nepal to collaborate on the SDGs. The organizations signing the MoUs include: Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Federation of Women Entrepreneurs' Associations of Nepal, Hotel Association Nepal, National Business Initiative and the Nepal Bankers' Association.

The coalition, fully backed up by these organizations, encourages private sector entities to adopt the Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals as part of their business plans; collaborate to undertake joint initiatives to foster the achievement of the Goals; mobilize other relevant stakeholders and advocate for their contribution to achievement of the Goals; and jointly work on policy reforms to improve Nepal's business environment.

The Business Coalition for the SDGs is a voluntary group of likeminded enterprises, which understand the need to align their business operations with the SDGs and work with other actors in Nepal to achieve sustainable development. Businesses joining the coalition sign a declaration involving a formal commitment to the SDGs and highlighting the need for partnership to realize the ambitious


Addressing the meeting, Vice Chair of the National Planning Commission Swarnim Wagle underlined how the achievement of the SDGs is not only a Government responsibility but a national priority, requiring partnerships for success, while also acknowledging that "a good place to start implementing the SDGs in Nepal is by aligning and adjusting existing sectoral strategies with the Global Goals."


UN Resident Representative Valerie Juliand said "We should not work to make money, but make money so we can do good work." and called for business with ethics as key to achieve the Goals.


Yam Kumari Khatiwada, Secretary at the Ministry of Industry said the private sector have a major role to play in Nepal's sustainable development as they have the huge potential to bring in innovation and resources. "The Ministry of Industry is committed to promote conducive environment for innovative business solutions in Nepal," she said.


"The government can't deliver on ambitious sustainable development promises on its own—partnerships with the private sector is the only way to bring the will into action," said Suraj Vaidya, President of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.


We have to see the possibility of channeling all scattered efforts in order to make a powerful impact in Nepal for which responsive partnerships between government, private sector and donors are required," said Hyungkoo Kim, Country Director of KOICA Nepal Office.


Through the conference, the business community, the government and the international development partners gave a clear message that the private sector's profitability, their business practices and achievement of the SDGs are mutually reinforcing.


"The Nepal business community by engaging and committing itself to contributing to the SDGs is not only doing goo but will also do well" said Renaud Meyer, UNDP Country Director, highlighting a recent study estimating that the achievement of the SDGs would bring more than USD 12 trillion of business opportunities to the private sector. He also emphasized that —if the cost of achieving the Global Goals is high, it will likely cost even more to both countries and businesses to not achieve the SDGs. [From UNDP Nepal] 

Call for women’s representation and leadership in local governance


 I am contesting the upcoming election with my headscarf on, duly following the advice of my mother-in-law. But I have offered my full support to my daughter-in-law to contest the polls without headscarf on." Kausilya Tharuni, a participant from Bara district at the two-day national conference on women's leadership and representation

Kausilya Tharu is one of the 39 women participants contesting the local polls who came all the way across Nepal to participate in the national conference, 'Towards Planet 50:50-Enabling Women's Leadership and Representation in Local Governance', organised by the Election Commission Nepal, together with the United Nations and Sajha Abhiyan (Women's leaders' Coalition) on 20-21 April 2017.

With the promulgation of a new constitution that contains many positive provisions to advance gender equality and women's empowerment, as well as due to Nepal's national and international commitments for the same causes, there has been significant progress in the country in recent years. However, many serious challenges remain and a coherent approach among political parties is needed to ensure women's leadership and representation in local governance.  

The two-day conference is a response to identified shortfalls in terms of women's participation and representation. Various speakers have highlighted the message that women's participation is more than numbers and filling quotas, and that the country needs to aim for female representation and participation that substantially transforms decision making in the political sphere.


Speaking at the inauguration session on Thursday, Rt. Honorable Speaker of the Parliament, Onsari Gharti Magar, said that women's participation in local governance as voters is simply not enough. "What is more crucial is to push for greater leadership roles in the pursuit of national development."  

Chief Election Commissioner, Dr. Ayodhee Prasad Yadav, requested all political parties to encourage women's candidacy in all posts as far as possible. "We need to put an end to the existing socio-economic and cultural discrimination against women to see them in the leadership roles."

"Quotas help, special measures help, interest groups help, but it is when knowledge is put into practice that changes come," said UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand. "Transforming policy into practice highlights the tangible challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. At the end of it all, we need to have women who want to come to the table – this requires everyone supporting women."

Women's political empowerment and equal access to leadership positions at all levels are fundamental to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and a more equal world. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), ratified by Nepal in 1991, calls on state parties "to take appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in the political and public life".

Similarly, the Constitution of Nepal (2015), Article 38-4, states that "women shall have the right to participate in all bodies of the State on the basis of the principle of proportional inclusion." Regardless, women continue to be significantly under-represented in political and electoral processes everywhere in the world – as voters, candidates, elected representatives or electoral administrators. Nepal is no exception.

Many of the candidates contesting the election from different districts shared a common message that there are still huge obstacles for women entering politics and this is something they should collectively fight, to enable more women leaders and representatives. "The barriers, however challenging, that stop women from entering into politics can be easily overcome if both women leaders and parties are committed," said Member of Parliament, Kunti Shahi.

The Government of Nepal (GoN) has announced 14 May 2017 as the date for election of local bodies and preparations are underway. The local bodies for which elections will be held include 481 Rural Municipalities, 246 Municipalities, 13 Sub- Metropolitan Cities and 4 Metropolitan Cities. These elections will result in at least 13,360 women being elected decision makers in 6,680 wards.

The conference, aimed at strengthening knowledge and capacities among both political actors and women from across Nepal, brought together over 300 women leaders from the 75 districts of Nepal who discussed how they could take maximum benefit from the opportunities provided by the new constitution, the electoral laws and political processes. Among these, 13 will contest for the post of mayor, 16 for deputy mayor, 5 for ward chair and 4 for ward member. If elected, they will contribute to the progress of recent years and strengthen Nepal's position as a leader on the issue of women's representation in politics.

In the words of UN Resident Coordinator Valerie Julliand, "when women prosper, all of society flourishes, and political inclusion and participation, as well as access to education, are instrumental in attaining prosperity." [UN]

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