UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr António Guterres visited Lumbini

UN Secretary-General H.E. Mr António Guterres visited Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha today. Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ received him along with other high government officials. On the occasion, the UNSG and PM Nepal planted a sapling in the Garden of Lumbini.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, reached Lumbini today to welcome the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, who is presently on a four-day official visit to Nepal. Attending a function at Lumbini with the UN Secretary-General Guterres and his delegation, PM Dahal addressed the function.

The full text of his speech is as follows:

Your Excellency the Secretary General of the United Nations,
Hon. Ministers,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Morning and Namaste!

The land where we are standing now-the Birthplace of Lord Buddha, is not merely a sacred place of pilgrimage for Buddhists, but a center of peace and harmony that continues to inspire and guide humanity at large on the basis of the eternal and enlightened teachings of Buddha.

Mr. Secretary General, your visit to Lumbini bears a special significance. It is not only a continuum of successive visits by the Secretaries General of the United Nations. Rather it represents your thoughtful step in consolidating the symbiotic relationship that exists between the core values of peace, harmony and understanding that this sacred place stands for and the Charter of the United Nations that seeks to protect and promote the same values globally.

I, therefore, express my deep appreciation to you, Mr. Secretary General, for your visit to this historic place of global significance.

The United Nations has long been associated with the development of Lumbini. It started with the UNDP-commissioned master plan by a Japanese architect Kenzo Tange in 1972. Since then, the UN has been playing an important role in developing Lumbini into a major center of pilgrimage and tourism, promoting peace and harmony. In 1997, the United Nations declared Lumbini a World Heritage Site, recognizing its historical and cultural significance on the global stage.

Excellency, on this occasion, let me thank you and pay tribute to your predecessors who have made contributions to the development of Lumbini. We count on the support of the international community, including the UN, in further developing Lumbini as the center of world peace and understanding.

The pursuit of peace has always been humanity’s highest aspiration. As a leader who has led the decisive struggle for change and transformation of the country and as one of the key players who successfully led the process of transforming armed conflict into a peace process, I understand the value of peace and the cost of conflict.

Nepali people have demonstrated exemplary resilience in pursuit of peace. The home-grown, nationally owned and led peace process has successfully transitioned the country to a state of stability and peace.

We believe that our peace process could be a good example for countries and societies facing similar situations. We will be more than happy to contribute to building a global knowledgebase of conflict management by sharing our experiences of uniquely successful peace processes. What we have learned is that peace founded on inclusion, empowerment, economic prosperity, and justice stands a better chance of lasting longer.

Currently, we are engaged in concluding the remaining task of the peace process- the transitional justice system. Our ultimate aim is to ensure lasting peace and harmony in the country. This objective will continue guiding all our efforts towards completing this task. We count on the international community’s goodwill and understanding in this regard.

Peace, harmony and compassion are the innate attributes that we have inherited from Buddha, the apostle of peace and the enlightened son of Nepal. Unity in diversity is our strength and harmony and co-existence make essential ingredients of our culture. We believe in “Vawatu Sarba Mangalam (May all be blessed with auspicious) and “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam” (The world is a family).

The principles of Panchasheel, non-alignment, the UN Charter, international law, and values of world peace continue to guide Nepal’s foreign policy. Amity, cordiality, and fraternity are the underlying ethos of our international engagements. We remain steadfast in our commitment to multilateralism, with the United Nations at its center.

Based on our strong commitment to multilateralism, we call for building trust, promoting partnership and collaboration, and working in solidarity to overcome the challenges of unprecedented scale and nature that the world faces. We extend our support to you, Mr. Secretary General, in strengthening multilateralism and fulfilling your mandates.

Our longstanding participation in, and substantial contribution to, the UN peace operations eloquently manifests our innate desire to promote global peace and security.

Mr. Secretary General,
From Lumbini, you will bring the message of peace, harmony and understanding to the international community. Your commitment to promoting the values propounded by Buddha will be deeply admired.

Equally, we admire your commitment to drawing global attention to the impact of climate change on the lives of people living in the mountain areas. During your visit to the Khumbu region yesterday and to the Annapurna basecamp this morning, you had the opportunity to closely watch how climate change has badly affected the lives and livelihood of our people. We are bearing the brunt of climate change though our share in emission generation is almost nil.

Before I conclude, let me appeal for the following:

We must let peace prevail all over the world, and the right to live in a peaceful environment for everyone must be upheld by all in all circumstances.
Peaceful coexistence, harmony and interfaith tolerance should become the defining norms of humanity. We must overcome all the visible and invisible obstacles to peace.
Elimination of all forms of inequality, injustice, exploitation, deprivation and poverty must be put to an end to ensure global peace and security. We must ensure fair and judicious global order so that all countries, big and small, rich and poor, realize, on an equal footing, the principle of sovereign equality in the true sense of the term.
With this appeal, I conclude my statement. I thank the Lumbini Development Trust and all other agencies involved for making excellent arrangements for the visit of the Secretary-General and for our impressive gathering here this morning.
Thank you!


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