Monday, 18 January 2010

NCF January 2010 Notice Board

Programme on Social and Ecological Market Economy Organized

January 26: Nepal Constitution Foundation (NCF) in cooperation with the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) organized in Kathmandu a discussion programme on Social and Ecological Market Economy today in the context of constitution making in Nepal.

Two German experts Dr. Dieter Beneckend and Ms. Cornelia Richter made their presentation on the theme which was followed by floor discussion on the issues involved in the context of the draft constitution Nepal is working on. While Dr Dieter W. Benecke focussed on the principles of social and ecological market economy, Ms Cornelia Richter elaborated on impact of social and ecological market economy drawing on examples from Countries in transition.

The social market economy is a system of countervailing powers through which a dynamic equilibrium is created in the economy. The fundamental institutional requirements are the rule of law and a democratic order in which the interests of the different social groups are respected. Social partnership between trade unions and entrepreneurial associations is an essential component of labor market design to allow for entrepreneurial dynamics, investment, high employment rates, and social justice. The implementation of social market economy is based on three general principles: individual spirit of achievement and self-responsibility of citizens, solidarity within society and subsidiarity of the state.

Presenting his paper Dr. Dieter W. Benecke said that there has been certain crisis in the thinking of neoliberal approach - financial crisis. He said there have not been enough discussions done about economic vision in Nepal. He did not intend to give a recipe or blueprint but wanted to highlight the requirement of private initiative, free entrepreneurship, and free competition. Discussion has to be done at the local level on social and ecological market economy.

He said that everybody has to do the best possible. There should be solidarity of the stronger with the weaker ones.

He also highlighted the principles and aims of social and ecological market economy. Among others, economic aim: welfare for all, social aim: social justice for all, access to political participation, ecological aim were mentioned. We have to do more for ecological protection was his understanding. Use of renewable energy, recycling and saving resources is important for environment protection and conservation. It was desirable to have a role for everyone to behave responsibly.

Equal opportunities have to be created. Education for all is important in society as it creates opportunities.

He also highlighted role of State as economic actor.

Speaking on areas of legal regulation in the social and ecological market economy Dr. Dieter said the highest rate of income tax has to be determined.

Giving his views on institutional framework of the State, legally autonomous institutions, he said Central Bank should deal with monetary policies and not the Ministry of Finance. In case the latter dealt with the monetary policy there would be inflation.

He elaborated on the concrete functions of the government. The role of the State as entrepreneur has to be defined. Entrepreneurs should be given incentives for innovations.

Concluding his deliberation he said that State of law and good governance are half the way social and ecological market economy success.

Ms Cornelia Richter spoke of the role GTZ is playing in different countries in different capacities. She told the gathering that GTZ is the implementing agency of the German government. GTZ has been working in more than 130 countries around the world with more than 12000 national experts. Almost half century old partnership has been developed with Nepal. The achievements in Nepal is encouraging was her assessment.

GTZ has an expertise in local self government, renewable energy and family planning. Sharing of other countries’ transitional experiences will be beneficial to Nepal was her opinion. She said that social innovation is a crucial prerequisite for sustaining the process of (societal) transition. She further said that decision maker has to decide which institutions should be strengthened.

She enumerated the following as social and ecological market economy’s principles

1. Supporting the rule of law
2. Striving for broad based growth
3. Strengthening the private sector
4. Improving the conditions for the market economy
5. Making an economy viable for the future
6. Creating social partnership
7. Shaping the economy based on ecological concerns
8. Ensuring equal opportunities

Ms Cornelia shared the experiences of Armenia, Bolivia and Georgia where GTZ had assisted. In Armenia GTZ had worked in training judges. It supported the consolidation of the legal system. Sharing Bolivia’s experiences she said not only Bolivia was geographically similar to Nepal but also it has similar situation. Rights of the indigenous people had to be strengthened. In Georgia GTZ assisted in law and judicial reform. The success factors have been civil society and media was her analysis.

Welcoming the guests and the participants, Dr Bipin Adhikari, Chairperson of the Nepal Constitution Foundation, said that a market economy is based on division of labour in which the prices of goods and services are determined in a free market system set by supply and demand. Emphasizing that the concept of free market economy has gone far ahead, he pinpointed that recent advances have gone beyond the thoughts of David Hume, Adam Smith, Ricardo, Karl Marx etc. The social and ecological market economy provides a perspective from which to approach many problems that many economies face today. He said this discussion can help us find out what special provisions we might need in the new constitution that can address both the need for protection of the environment and the social fairness.

The programme was participated by about 35 plus members of the Constituent Assembly (CA), lawyers, university professors, business consultants,and social activists. CA members Ms Ratna Sherchan (Nepali Congress), Lucky Sherpa (UML), and Ms Sita Gurung (NC) also participated in the programme.

The discussion session was wrapped up by Dr. Horst Matthaeus. He also emphasized that political stability was important for economic development, welfare for all including for dalit women and men.

(Abhishekh Adhikari)

Nepal receives international inputs on the draft constitution

Jan 18, 2010 The three-day international conference on “Dynamics of Constitution Making in Nepal in Post-conflict Scenario” concluded in Kathmandu on Sunday.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the conference, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal extended sincere thanks to all international delegates who came to Kathmandu to attend such an important seminar.

"I can assure you that the Government of Nepal will give due consideration to your recommendations taking into account our special needs and priorities in this direction," the PM said.

The conference was inaugurated on Friday by President Ram Baran Yadav. In his key note speech, chairperson of the Constituent Assembly Subash Chandra Nemwang explained in detail the contentious issues before the Assembly including the forms of government and federalization options. His address formed the basis of discussions in the next two and half day conference.

"Making value choices is not always easy. It is in the human nature to have differences in the perception and attitudes. But we need to sort out differences, and move ahead, keeping in the best interest of the people who are deprived, downtrodden and marginalized. An objective attitude is always essential in this process. I am very sure that you all will be keenly looking into what we have produced so far and providing much needed international perspective on so many issues we are talking about," said Nemwang adding, "I am happy that this perspective is coming in interaction with Nepalese experts both within the government and outside. This is a very welcome step."

The objective of the conference was to receive international inputs on major controversial issues the country has been trying to sort out in the Constituent Assembly.

A total of 25 international constitution builders presented their papers based on the report of nine thematic committees in the Constituent Assembly. More than seventy five local constitutional experts, members of the Constituent Assembly and important stakeholders commented on the papers, and more than one hundred critical participants had the opportunity to give their opinion.

Dr Bipin Adhikari, chairperson of Nepal Constitution Foundation (NCF), one of the organizers of the conference, said, "We will summarise all these international inputs, develop into policy outputs and submit to the Constituent Assembly so that they could be used in the constitution making process.”

Dr Adhikari said this was the first-ever comprehensive effort to receive technical assistance at an expert level from the international community at this scale.

The conference was attended by renowned international constitutional experts, lawyers and professors from Canada, UK, Finland, Sweden, Ethiopia, Kenya, India, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan and Australia, etc besides experts and officials from Nepal.

Writers of Nepal’s new constitution learn from international experts

Forum President George Anderson was one of more than 20 foreign experts who recently addressed a three-day conference in Kathmandu on the Dynamics of Constitution-making in Nepal in Post-conflict Scenario.

The event was inaugurated by the President of Nepal, Dr. Ram Baran Yadav, and by Subash Chandra Nembang, the Speaker of the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Mr. Anderson spoke on issues governing the choice of a federal model for Nepal.

The Jan. 15–17 Conference was timed to follow the reports of most of the committees of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, which is working to have a new federal constitution for Nepal in place by May 28, 2010.

Other presenters included former Forum Chairman Bob Rae of Canada, and long-time Forum colleagues Yash Ghai and Jill Cottrell of Kenya, Cheryl Saunders of Australia and Nicole Topperwein, of Switzerland. The experts were brought to Nepal by a wide variety of agencies.

The conference was attended by CA members, national and international experts and representatives of the international community.

Other issues discussed at the conference included: forms of government, implications of moving to a federal structure, constitutional review, bill of rights and remedies, management of the transition phase, national interest and security. Concluding remarks were pronounced by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and CA-Vice-Speaker, Purna Kumari Subedi.

While in Nepal, Mr. Anderson also had the honour of a one-hour meeting with President Yadev and met with representatives of various political parties as well as international organizations working in Nepal.

This Forum’s three-year Nepal program aims to assist the post-conflict country in building its capacity to develop and implement a federal democratic system. It is funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) in a program that runs from August 2008 until March 2011.

Statute to come on timely: PM

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today said that the new Constitution would be promulgated within the stipulated time.

"I am confident that this would go a long way in providing a valuable feedback to our primary task of drafting a new constitution within the specific period of the next few months," the PM said.

He was addressing a closing session of international seminar organised here by the Nepal Constitution Foundation with the theme: 'Dynamics of Constitution Making in Nepal in Post-Conflict Scenario'.

"Apart from being a fundamental legal and political document, the constitution of a land truly determines and should, in fact, define the future course of a nation," he said.

Stating that the nation witnessed to a dozen constitutions under different political dispensations within a period of six decades, Nepal said one of the key reasons attributed for the failures of most of those past constitutions was lack of ownership of the people.

The PM said that the 1990 Constitution was different in the sense of its promulgation as it was drafted by experts and politicians after thorough deliberations and discussions and said It had incorporated substantially important elements to make it a more democratic instrument.

"Despite these positive features, this document also had inherent weakness in the sense that it outlived its utility since it rested on the indispensability of an institution that was not in keeping with the aspirations of people in the context of the changing political dynamics," Nepal added.

Saying that the political movement of 2006 was a climax in the glorious saga of the struggle of the people of Nepal for democracy, fundamental rights, civil liberties, rule of law and human rights, Nepal said the country's social and political history as this change led to a fundamental transformation in the political governance.

Nepal also said that the experience of other countries amply indicates that successful constitutional processes require a delicate act of striking a judicious balance and accommodation between competing interests and broad public participation.

"I have been encouraged by recent developments in terms of smoothly running the stalled legislature parliament and in undertaking some tangible measures in the way of addressing the problem of combatants in the cantonments," the PM said. Saying that the imputes of the conference would be significant in Constitution making, Nepal assured that the government will give due consideration to the suggestions.

Nepal also reiterated that the government is committed to take the ongoing peace process to its positive and meaningful conclusion by promulgating the Constitution on time.

Prez boost to rule of law: REPUBLICA

KATHMANDU, Jan 15: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav on Friday said that there is no space for violence, lawlessness and injustice in a democratic country.

Inaugurating an international conference on ´Dynamics of Constitution Making in Nepal in Post-conflict Scenario´, President Yadav said, “Now is the time for Nepal and its friends from the global community to demonstrate to the enemies of peace and humanity that there is no space in this world for violence, lawlessness and injustice.”

Stressing on the need for consensus among political parties to draft new constitution on time, he said, “Since constitution writing is a blend of technical and social processes, consensus building on a common constitutional framework needs skills and serious commitment on the part of stakeholders engaged in the process.”

The conference attended by dozens of national and international constitutional experts will discuss various dynamics of constitutional making process in Nepal. The conference will be held till January 17.

“This conference will help Nepal benefit from your experiences in drafting a democratic constitutional framework that can secure human rights for all and ensure justice to the deprived,” President Yadav said.

President Yadav expressed his hope that the new constitution to be drafted on May 28, 2010 will create a basis for Nepal and the Nepali people to ensure unity in diversity and pave a roadmap for establishing sustainable peace and prosperity in Nepal.

“Institutions like independent judiciary, human rights ombudsman and free press are essential watchdogs to protect and strengthen constitutionalism and democratic values,” he added.

He said that new constitution will not only establish Nepal as an inclusive, secular and federal state but also provide clear avenues for conflict transformation, restorative justice, reconciliation, development and efficient leadership.

Speaking at the conference, Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairperson Subas Chandra Nembang said that the issue of restructuring the state, especially the quest for a suitable model for federalization, has received serious attention in the CA.

PM assures constitution on time
RSS Kathmandu, Jan. 17

A three-day international conference on "Dynamics of Constitution Making in Nepal in Post-Conflict Scenario" concluded here today, drawing the government’s attention on various topics related to the form of the government, federalism, the three organs of the state and other agencies that have to be addressed properly by the new Constitution.

The conference organised under the joint auspices of Nepal Constitution Foundation (NCF), Tribhuvan University Faculty of Law and the Supreme Court Bar Association gave recommendation regarding addressing the challenges of Constitution making in the post-conflict scenario.

Constitutional experts from 25 different countries who have worked on voluntary basis for peace building in Nepal and experts from Nepal had participated in the conference. The conference discussed 25 different reports.

Speaking in the concluding function, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said the government is committed to take the ongoing peace process to its positive and meaningful conclusion and draft a new Constitution within the specified period of the next few months.

He said this task has to be done through greater inclusion and mainstreaming of the marginalized sections of society.

"We are confident of achieving these goals through utmost flexibility and accommodation on the basis of broad understanding, consensus, dialogue and unity of purpose with all major political parties represented in the Constituent Assembly," the prime minister said.

Stating that the restructuring of the state is needed to resolve social and regional inequalities, the prime minister stressed promotion of democracy , peace, prosperity and progressive economic and social changes.

He said it is imperative to protect territorial integrity, sovereignty, independence and dignity of the country.

Prime Minister Nepal said the constitution drafting process has to address the twin objectives of peace -building and long-term political, social and economic reforms.

"The broad objectives of the home-driven peace process include among others the integration and rehabilitation of the Maoists into mainstream democratic politics and resolution of long-standing ethnic, regional and caste fissures in our society," he said.

Vice chairperson of the Constituent Assembly, Purna Kumari Subedi said the constitution is being drafted by taking into account the views of the national and international experts, the advice of the people from the grassroots level and the conclusions arrived at through discussions in the Constituent Assembly.

She said the Constituent Assembly would be able to tide over many challenges that confront it in course of drafting the seventh Constitution of the country.

Member of the Canadian parliament Dr. Bob Ray expressed the confidence that the conference will be helpful on topics like protection of human rights and peace-building.

Chairperson of the Supreme Administrative Court of Finland, Pekka Halberg expressed happiness over the drafting of the constitution in a supportive environment.

Prof. Jie Cheng of the Tringuha University of Law of China asked the framers of the constitution to come for a study visit to her country.

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