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E.N. Dhakal: Address to World Summit 2013

PhotoIt gives me immense pleasure to say few words to this august gathering. The Asia-Pacific region is the world’s most populous and fastest growing economy. Asia is also the home of the world’s major faiths and traditions. As we know, the emergence of Asia-Pacific era is changing the power balance globally. This new world economic and security order provides both challenges and opportunities.

The “Challenges of Peace, Security, and Human Development” are common issues we all face; nevertheless, nations have different perspectives about how to address these issues. Therefore, forging a common alliance and building a universal perspective is critical for creating a sustainable future.

The change in the economic balance of power between America and China is leading, inevitably, to the emergence of a new order in Asia and the Pacific as well as worldwide. A little more than half a decade ago, the major trading partners of every East Asian economy, including Australia, was either the US or Japan. Today, however, China is the major trading partner of all these economies except for the Philippines. According to the International Monetary Fund, China is set to overtake the US as the largest economy in the world in real terms within a little more than half a decade. This large and rapid shift in the structure of regional and global economic power is accompanied by shifts in Asian-Pacific political and military power and influence.

It is not that the US has lost, or will soon lose, its preeminent global military capability or political influence. Rather, the shift in economic weight and relative military capabilities now means that the projection of US marine power in Asia is being contested in new ways.

China and the whole region have benefited from the peace and stability delivered for nearly 50 years by the unchallenged preeminence of the US military. But when China, already the world’s second-largest economy, overtakes the US, its wealth and dignity will compel it to acquire a military capacity worthy of a great power, even though it presently spends less than 2 per cent of its GDP on defense, compared to the almost 5 per cent spent by the US.

China is America’s only rival for global leadership, and yet as the rivalry increases so does their interdependence. As China seeks to play a role in the region corresponding with its new status as a great power, the US faces a few choices. It can pack up and pull out, which it considers neither desirable nor likely. Or, secondly, it can seek to confront and contain China, which would likely lead to conflict. The third option, however, is for the US and China to come to a win-win agreement which ensures peaceful competition.

To bring about a happy and peaceful outcome as well as stability in the region requires China and the US to recognize each other’s legitimate roles and work together for the global well-being.

The People's Republic of China receives continual coverage in the popular press due to its emerging superpower status and has been identified as a rising economic and military dominance. In fact, the "Rise of China" has been named the top news story of the 21st century by the Global Language Monitor, as measured by number of appearances in the global print and electronic media, on the Internet, on the blogosphere, and in social media.

Balancing this, India has an excellent chance to become a superpower. It should be pointed out that India's youthful population coupled with the second largest English speaking population in the world could give her a big advantage over China.

In Nepal, my country, we are learning to build peaceful, economic ties between India and China, for our own survival.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is a geopolitical and economic organization of ten countries in Southeast Asia consisting of Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. If it were a single nation-state, it would be the tenth largest economy in the world.

There is a need to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political equality, and independence of all member states. Non-interference in internal matters and mutual cooperation for the sake of global peace and development are essential.

To further this, there needs to be an innovative strategy for steady economic growth, and this must be based on an inclusive, cooperative mindset. The zero-sum mentality is outdated. There must be a win-win strategy. Cooperation is the only way out of the current economic and political crisis. When we do this, then both the Asia-Pacific and world economies can achieve robust, sustainable, and balanced growth.

A strong global partnership not only among the government institutions but also people-to-people is necessary to develop awareness and commitment for peace and security.

Democracy should not be limited to the rule of a majority but should be on the basis of human virtues, freedom, and human rights.

Being a Government Minister in charge of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, I do not have peace of mind because 25 percent of the total population of my country is living under the poverty line. How can I sleep peacefully under this situation?

To accelerate development in Nepal, the government recently established the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation (MOCPA). It will provide a much-needed impetus to this government’s anti-poverty drive and enhance of the well-being of the people throughout the country.

A two-pronged approach has been initiated. Firstly, through poverty alleviation programs the government wants to offer temporary assistance to Nepal’s poorest and most underprivileged. During my maiden tenure as the first Minister in the MOCPA we have already started issuing identity cards to our most needy citizens.

Secondly, the promotion, development, and enriching of peoples’ lives can most effectively take place through strong, vibrant co-operatives. Nepal's co-operative movement dates back to the 1960s. Nevertheless, it is only now after more than 53 years that our Ministry drafted and the government approved a “National Co-operatives Policy.” This foundation stone, missing for nearly half a century, is now in place. With this we will be able to address various issues facing the co-operative sector and provide a vision and framework for its multi-dimensional growth.

As a low-income country, it is obvious that we have yet to fully exploit and explore our country’s huge potentials. Co-operatives are fundamental socio-economic units that will help development and support a people-based political governance as well. There are currently nearly 26,000 co-operative societies in Nepal with about five million members throughout the country. They cover almost all areas of the economy, which is a reflection of public enthusiasm in self-governance at the grassroots.

I am fully confident that the government and the concerned stakeholders will work together to promote and develop the co-operative sector even more. This will make a great contribution to our economic and social success both in the immediate future and the long-term.

Another common concern is terrorism. Extremism, violent crimes against women, and corruption have no religion, race, or nationality. We have to work together to fight against human evils that are eroding our core values.

Pluralism, co-existence, prosperity, and the universally shared values of democracy and human rights are the bases of peace, security, and human development. But these are not enough. We also need interreligious harmony, strong family values, and public-mindedness. Where can we find these values?

Please look around you. In this conference there are 355 participants from 91 nations. There are religious leaders from the major faith traditions in the world. In addition to this summit there is a women’s global assembly and a world student convention. The Universal Peace Federation has prospered in more than 100 nations in the world because the universal principles taught by Father Moon have touched the hearts of people worldwide, irrespective of caste, creed, or culture.

This federation is a model, a paradigm, for creating a culture of peace. It is scalable and replicable anywhere in the world. Let us support the work of UPF in our own nations. Let us work together to build a world of peace.

For more information about World Summit 2013, click here.