Pri­or­i­tiz­ing ap­point­ment of Nepalese am­bas­sadors

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for­eign pol­icy (FP). There ex­ists a very fa­vor­able po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic en­vi­ron­ment. Nepal is well placed to ben­e­fit from such op­por­tu­ni­ties. Fo­cus­ing on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment rather than con­ven­tional diplo­macy has be­come more ur­gent. Ap­pli­ca­tion of tact, ne­go­ti­a­tion skills, and in­tel­li­gence in pro­mot­ing de­vel­op­ment, trade and in­vest­ment con­sti­tute an in­te­gral part of de­vel­op­ment diplo­macy. At­tract­ing for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment from China, In­dia and oth­ers along with trans­fer of new tech­nolo­gies, skills and man­age­rial ex­per­tise in ar­eas of Nepal's com­par­a­tive and com­pet­i­tive ad­van­tages i.e. hy­dropower, in­fra­struc­ture, agro­forestry based in­dus­tries, and tourism (re­li­gious and ad­ven­ture) can boost our econ­omy. How­ever, ef­fec­tive­ness of de­vel­op­ment diplo­macy hinges on sev­eral fac­tors. The non-par­ti­tion High level Task Force (I was a mem­ber) formed at the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs (MoFA) looked into dif­fer­ent as­pects of Nepal's New For­eign Pol­icy in­clud­ing po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, se­cu­rity and in­sti­tu­tional is­sues that needs to be ad­dressed by Nepal in the changed global con­text. Nepal will be­gin a path to pros­per­ity and earn re­spect from de­vel­op­ment part­ners if the lead­ers re­al­ize and work to cap­i­tal­ize on this new op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in de­vel­op­ment pro­grams of mu­tual in­ter­ests that will lead to eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and pros­per­ity.

Need for Im­prove­ment

MoFA needs to de­velop its ca­pac­ity to fa­cil­i­tate/ co­or­di­nate de­vel­op­ment diplo­macy with in­ter-/ na­tional part­ners to achieve SDGs and grad­u­ate to de­vel­op­ing coun­try sta­tus with mid­dle in­come.The skills and com­pe­ten­cies of Nepalese Am­bas­sador­splay a cru­cial role in ful­fill­ing the above ob­jec­tives and mak­ing our for­eign pol­icy more ef­fec­tive, mean­ing­ful and re­ward­ing. In the past few decades, Am­bas­sado­rial ap­point­ments have be­come con­tro­ver­sial and in­ef­fec­tive due largely to po­lit­i­cal pa­tron­age, quota, nepo­tism, and bribery with­out con­sid­er­ing in­di­vid­ual's job rel­e­vance, com­pe­tency, qual­i­fi­ca­tion (min­i­mal and de­sired), job per­for­mance and good track records. Ap­point­ments were con­sid­ered as fa­vors for rest and re­cre­ation op­por­tu­nity rather than con­tribut­ing to na­tional de­vel­op­ment and ac­count­abil­ity. In re­cent times, key Am­bas­sado­rial po­si­tions in the im­me­di­ate neigh­bor­hood, ma­jor coun­tries, and dozenother places have re­mained va­cant for long time while some em­bassies have been opened with­out proper re­view and vet­ting with no re­sults. This has taxed na­tional cof­fer un­nec­es­sar­ily. In or­der to en­sure that the coun­try gets the best tal­ents, the Gov­ern­ment should con­sti­tute a Per­ma­nent Search Com­mit­tee headed by the For­eign Min­is­ter (FM)in­clud­ing the For­eign Sec­re­tary,for­mer am­bas­sadors and in­de­pen­dent pro­fes­sion­al­swith good track records and meet­ing de­sired cri­te­ria. The High Level Task Force had rec­om­mended some guide­lines for se­lec­tion of Am­bas­sadors. I am glad to learn that the gov­ern­ment and es­pe­cially the FM has started im­ple­ment­ing the guide­lines more ef­fec­tively in an ob­jec­tive and trans­par­ent man­ner. As MoFA gains ex­pe­ri­ence, fur­ther im­prove­ments are ex­pected in fu­ture. Keep­ing in mind the con­sti­tu­tional guide­line, the ap­point­ment ofAm­bas­sadors should be in­clu­sive of gen­der, eth­nic and re­gional di­ver­sity. The se­lec­tion should be merit based in an af­fir­ma­tive man­ner and with a pro­vi­sion for al­ter­na­tive can­di­date. The present sys­tem of pro­vid­ing the Terms of Ref­er­ence (ToR) to the Am­bas­sadors should be up­dated and reg­u­lar­ized in line with in­ter­na­tional best prac­tices. The Min­istry should sign per­for­mance con­tracts with the Am­bas­sador des­ig­nates clearly spec­i­fy­ing the goals, tar­gets, ex­pected re­sults and per­for­mance in­di­ca­tors. The eval­u­a­tion of the Am­bas­sador's per­for­mance should be made strictly based on this con­tract. Same in­di­vid­ual should not be re­warded over and over again like in the past deny­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for can­di­dates with new ideas, in­no­va­tion and in­ter­na­tional ex­pe­ri­ences. Nepalese Am­bas­sadors should be com­pet­i­tive in terms of train­ing skills, pro­fes­sional com­pe­tence and ne­go­ti­a­tion skills at least at par with in­ter­na­tional coun­ter­parts if we are to ben­e­fit from bi­lat­eral/ mul­ti­lat­eral deal­ings.


The Oli led CPN gov­ern­ment has ini­ti­ated a more bal­anced and ef­fec­tive for­eign pol­icy for in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion in keep­ing with the do­mes­tic pol­icy pri­or­i­ties. With proper im­ple­men­ta­tion of FP ac­cord­ing to above guide­lines, and ap­point­ment of Am­bas­sadors (who rep­re­sent the coun­try), Nepal can en­sure its best in­ter­est in achiev­ing the goal of “Pros­per­ous Nepal and Happy Nepali” if we all con­trib­ute to­wards this goal.

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