KATHMANDU, Nov 10: Nepal has been elected a board member of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for a three-year term starting in January 2013.
Nepal along with 17 other countries were elected board members of ECOSOC Thursday by the UN General Assembly, according to the UN Department of Public Information.
Of the total 11 seats allotted to the Asia-Pacific region, four seats had fallen vacant this year. Nepal as well as Kuwait, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan are making it to the post from the region. Bahrain and Cambodia-- also vying for the post from the region -- had opted out at the end.
Officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said Nepal was elected with 131 votes out of the total of 194 votes in the UN General Assembly, against a minimum of 128 votes required.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, who is currently in Indonesia to attend the Bali Democracy Forum, expressed happiness over the election of Nepal as a board member of ECOSOC. "This is a great achievement and a matter of pride for Nepal," he said over the phone. "This will help create a conducive environment for bringing in foreign investment."
The 54-member ECOSOC, as one of the principal organs of the UN, coordinates the economic, social and related work of the UN and its specialized agencies and institutions. It has broad responsibility for some 70 percent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system, including its 14 specialized agencies, ´functional´ commissions and five regional commissions, according to the UN.
Since issues such as sustainable development, MDGs and improvement of the status of poorer countries fall within its ambit, it is believed that Nepal can now play an instrumental role in furthering the cause of least developed and landlocked countries.
Talking to Republica, Spokesperson at MoFA Arjun Bahadur Thapa said the election will help Nepal play an important role in social and economic matters. "Nepal has gotten a chance to be represented at ECOSO after a gap of several years. This election has greatly helped lift Nepal´s diplomatic stature in the international arena," Thapa added.
Nepal was previously elected a member of ECOSOC for the years 1980-1982 and 2001-2003, and also served as its vice-president for the years 1982 and 2003. Nepal had expedited its campaigning for the post since earlier than last month, sending Foreign Secretary Durga Prasad Bhattarai and Joint Secretary Dipak Dhital, who heads the UN Division at the ministry, to New York to solicit support for Nepal´s membership.