KATHMANDU: Nepal-Australia diplomatic relation is entering into 60 years of its establishment from (February 15) Saturday.
Canberra has established itself as a reliable development partner of Kathmandu in 59 years of the diplomatic ties between Nepal and Australia.
Over the years, the Australian government and private sector have contributed to the economic and social development of Nepal through assistance in the fields of health, education, hydroelectricity, sustainable management of forest, agriculture, strengthening governance and service delivery, civil aviation, and livestock management.
Australia’s assistance to Nepal is delivered through Nepal government and in partnership with other donors and multilateral organizations.
Priority areas for Australia’s development assistance to Nepal are in line with Nepal’s poverty reduction strategy and include basic education, health, livelihoods, strengthening and improving governance, peace building and human resource development.
Australia has also equally contributed to human resource development through the provision of scholarships, and helped to reduce the incidence of HIV through a Harm Reduction program for Injecting Drug Users (IDUs).
Support has also been provided to peace building activities that address the root causes of conflict, such as issues of governance, poverty and discrimination.
Currently, Australia is assisting in enriching local governance, education and micro-enterprise development. In the past Australia made significant contribution to the Community Forestry Programme in Nepal.
Australia’s support to health, civil aviation, administration, community development, agriculture, heath, micro enterprise development, and peace building have remained important.
Australia provided support to the victims of 2015 earthquakes and to the affected people of Nepal under humanitarian assistance and early recovery package.
The support was mobilized through multilateral agencies like UNDP, WFP, UNFPA as well as through NGOs. The Government of Australia also made commitment to provide Nepal US$ 46,35,300 at International Conference on Nepal’s Reconstruction on 25 June 2015.
Australia has been one of the destination countries for the Bhutanese Refugee Third Country Resettlement Programme. As of 31 July 2017, more than Six Thousand Six hundred (6,600) Bhutanese Refugees departed to Australia under resettlement programme.
Australia has increased volume of its official development assistance to support Nepal’s efforts for development. Australia has extended assistance amounting to 22.5 million Australian Dollars to Nepal for 2019-20 while it was 16.7 million Aus $ for 2015-17.
Nepal’s foreign secretary Shanker Das Bairagi said, “Australian assistance has been focused on fulfilling Nepal’s development priorities and projects”. The multi-faceted bilateral relations have further deepened in the recent years.
Not being limited to government level, the friendly relation has been expanded to people to people level as well”, he added while sharing the fact that Australia has become an attractive destination for Nepali for employment and higher education.
Nepal, a member of United Nations Human Rights Council, has been collaborating with Australia in regional and international areas of common interests, Bairagi said, adding both the countries are aspiring to take this mutual relation to a new height.
Efforts are underway to initiate direct flight to Australia and continuous discussions are also being held with Australian authorities to encourage maximum numbers of their nationals to visit Nepal, Bairagi informed.
Nepal has laid emphasis on trade expansion and tourism promotion with Australia, he shared. Nepal’s relationship with Australia predates the establishment of diplomatic links in 1960.