Published Date: 2022-10-19, Wednesday
On 17 October 2022, the WTO Chairs Programme (WCP) formally launched a new chair institution-Kathmandu University School of Management (KUSoM), led by WCP- Nepal, Co-Chair and Registrar of Kathmandu University, Prof. Dr. Achyut Wagle.
With the goal of facilitating WTO members' full participation in the multilateral trading system, the WCP provides financial and technical assistance to academic institutions in developing nations so they can increase their knowledge of international trade law and economics.
During the event Rt. Honorable Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba, prime minister of Nepal, in absentia sent the message of confidence that –“WCP-Nepal programme has added an important brick on ameliorating mainly supply-side constraints faced by Nepal in our international trade by making our trade and investment policy formulation more evidenced-based and realistic as well as compatible to an international trading system.”
Speaking in the event WTO Deputy Director-General Xiangchen Zhang opined that the Chairs Network will result in - "cross-fertilization of ideas, fostering greater knowledge generation, sharing and exchanges at home, in the region and across regions, for maximum impact at the multilateral forum ". Further, he praised the initiative taken by the Chair of Nepal in incorporating – “human-centric design thinking concepts in the ideation of innovative policy tasks and tools, as well as training programs that focus on MSMEs and access to green financing in agriculture”.
The chief guest in the event honorable Chief Secretary of the Government of Nepal, Mr. Shankar Bariagi remarked that – “Chairs Programme is a unique initiative by the World Trade Organization aimed at mainstreaming issues and dynamism of trade and international trade law into the academic programmes, activities and researches in developing countries and hence will no doubt help countries learn to maneuver in the complex terrain of world trade”
During the welcome speech WCP-Nepal, Co-chair and Registrar of Kathmandu University Prof Dr. Achyut Wagle said that – “KU is committed to working to deliver the best in all three key pillars of activities envisaged by WCP for the next three years which include-- Curriculum Development and Teaching, Research and Capacity Building and Outreach ”.
Special Guest of the program, Prof. Dr. Bhola Thapa, Vice Chancellor of Kathmandu University expressed that – “KU’s partnership with WTO through this Chairs Programme significantly helps to contribute towards achieving the objective of enhancing the academic excellence, research and outreach”.
Australian ambassador to Nepal her Excellency Felicity Volk remarked – “At a time when the multilateral trading system matters so greatly, the trade policy thinking that Chairs bring to the debate can help us find new ways to reinvigorate and strengthen the multilateral system, as well as national and global trade policy making."
On the other hand, Korea's Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, Mr. Jung Sung Park applauded the fact that KUSoM being selected as a new chair makes an excellent choice as it directly connects with businesses that are the main beneficiary of WTO rule book. He further gave confidence that the chair in Nepal – “can help in catalyzing research in topics that have strong relevance to topics in LDC and LLDC”
From among the donor country side Ms. Cynthia Zimmermann, Director-General of Austria's Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs, remarked – “Chairs program generate excellent long-term sustainability by capitalizing on academic specialization and increasing the capacity in the host country”
Through the video message Ms. Desiree Van Gorp, an academic advisory board member stated that the academic advisory board will – “aggressively work with KUSoM in the agendas and build a network not only with chairs but also other stakeholders”.
Director of the Knowledge Management Division, Dr. Werner Zdouc praised WCP-Nepal’s plan of organizing a special workshop for rural entrepreneurs and school teachers for disseminating tools for advanced trade analysis and confided that the new chair will be able to – “explore how to improve access to benefits of globalization for marginalized communities to search for a concrete solution for its implementation.
Meanwhile, Mr. Shekhar Golcha, President of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) stated that –“private sector, academia and government have to work together to identify bottlenecks in trade and solve the problems associated with it.”
Finally, Prof. Dr. Devi Bedari, Dean of Kathmandu University School of Management in his vote of thanks reiterated that- “the next four years will spur growth in trade-related research and capacity building so that the school achieves the WCP mission of sustainability of all three pillars”. Likewise, he also expressed gratitude to donors, WTO and WCP for creating the opportunity for KU and KUSoM.
The WCP launch event is scheduled for two days. The second day will include a panel discussion and presentation by experts on two major themes, namely - “WTO and Nepal Trade Regime” and “Food Security and Nepal”. The panel discussion is expected to generate discourse on current trade practices and possible measures for enhancing food security in the least developed countries like Nepal.