Cassam Uteem, former President of Mauritius and Vice-President of the Club de Madrid, and Teresita “Ging” Deles, NetPluss Member and former presidential adviser on the Peace Process in the Philippines lead the Survey Mission to Nepal under the umbrella of the CdM Shared Societies Project. The mission aims at strengthening the peace and democratization process in the country thanks to the exchange of views with the Nepalese President, Mrs. Bidya Devi Bhandari and Prime Minister, Mrs. Pushpa Kamal Sahal, and also with former President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and former Prime Ministers, political parties and ethnic leaders.
Nepal can still be categorized as a post conflict society. Nepal has experienced a challenging transition from an absolute monarchy to a democratic republic, a civil war from 1996-2006, and subsequent difficult negotiations on the creation of a new federal constitution that recognizes the diversity of the Nepalese population. A Shared Societies approach is very relevant as Nepal is very diverse, with around 60 races and tribes, some very small, 13 recognised languages in addition to the state language of Nepali, as well as religious and caste divisions. The former warring parties now share power with each other but they find it difficult to get broad support for decisive action on many of the challenges the country faces. For example, there are continuing disagreements about the demarcation and titles of the federal units. Communications are difficult and there are disparities between regions of the country, particularly between those living in the Himalayas and those in the foothills or Terai.
These meetings will also help on the establishing of a network of Nepalese former heads of state and heads of Government to share experiences and ideas. The network would help preserving the great achievements that Nepal has recently made and in overcoming current challenges by sharing experiences and mobilizing support at the international level, including the insights and concepts underlying the Shared Societies Project.
Club de Madrid visited Nepal in November 2014 with Members Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland, and José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor Leste. The mission was titled Women as Agents of Change in Building Shared Societies in Nepal as it took place in the context of a Shared Societies Project Working Group to consider how women can be supported and encouraged to play an active role in resolving inter-ethnic conflicts.
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