• Poor governance has constrained Nepal’s economic potential

Kathmandu, December 9

International development partners, the United Nations Development Programme, the judiciary and the academia in Nepal have called for stronger efforts from all quarters to prevent and fight corruption, which poses a serious threat to the realisation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Speaking at an interaction programme organised by Law Campus with the support of UNDP, representatives of donor community, UNDP and the Supreme Court said combating corruption was critical to meeting the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Chief Justice Sushila Karki highlighted some of the commitments and achievements the country had made in the fight against corruption with particular focus on the judiciary’s performance, read a statement issued by UNDP, Nepal.

She said there were still hurdles and among these was the difficulty of putting together a strong, diverse workforce. “In Nepal, we have people who can’t find jobs, and jobs for which we can’t find people,” she said. The CJ also urged the students to join the fight against corruption.

British Ambassador Richard Morris said corruption and poor governance were constraining Nepal’s economic potential, posing a barrier to investment, growth and poverty reduction. “Foreign investors are deterred by practices that do not provide a level playing-field,” he said, “Successful anti-corruption efforts are an effective way of building investor confidence.”

He rounded off his talk by applauding the dynamism, commitment and ambition of the young people in Nepal. “You can make this the country you want it to be,” he told students at the programme.

Ambassador of the EU delegation to Nepal, RensjeTeerink, in her remarks, talked of the social and moral exigency of tackling the issue of corruption. She referred, notably, to Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index of 2015, which had ranked Nepal 130th out of 168 surveyed countries on the basis of corruption, as an illustration of the seriousness of the issue and the work to be done.

Sophie Kemkhadze, UNDP’s Deputy Country Director in Nepal, elaborated how the SDGs represented a transformative agenda not just for Nepal, but the world at large. The costs of corruption, she said, were not merely in the abstract, there was a concrete price tag where every year a hefty $1.26 trillion was lost in developing countries and $ 2.6 trillion globally to corruption.

“Fighting corruption is not only an issue for the government but one in which each and every one of us have a role to play,” she said imploring the students to be part of an informed and responsible citizenry as well as reaffirming the UNDP’s commitment to anti-corruption efforts.

The interaction was organised with the support of UNDP through its Strengthening Rule of Law and Human Rights Protection System in Nepal Programme, the Government of Nepal, and the embassies of Denmark, Norway and Finland.

This year’s International Anti-Corruption Day is themed ‘Corruption: An Impediment to the SDGs’.