The peace accord signed in November 2006 by the Nepalese government and the communist (Maoist) party brought an end to a civil war that began in 1996 and left approximately 13,000 dead and 100,000 refugees.
This national peace process was achieved thanks not least to the important role played by the United Nations, which was asked by the parties in conflict to intervene immediately after the peace agreement was signed. The UN’s action led in January 2007 to a unanimous decision by the Security Council to set up a special political mission (UNMIN). The Mission played a key role in monitoring the disarmament process and providing the necessary technical assistance to hold the elections.
After the creation of a caretaker government in 2007, elections for the Constituent Assembly were held in April 2008. At its first session on 28 May, Nepal’s Constituent Assembly declared the country to be a secular, federal and democratic republic. It elected Ram Baran Yadav, Secretary General of Nepal’s Congress Party, as the first President of the Republic of Nepal. Pushpa Kamal Dahal, known as Prachandra and the head of the Communist Party, was elected Prime Minister on 15 August. Nepal is therefore being run by a Prime Minister and President of different political affiliation.
Political relations between Italy and Nepal have always been good. Nepal has supported many multilateral initiatives by Italy as well as many of our candidacies for positions in international organisations. It also supported the moratorium on the death penalty. In bilateral terms, new opportunities are opening up in cultural and scientific cooperation, development cooperation, and cooperation by our police forces. Notable among these are the training programmes provided by the Center of Excellence for Stability Police Units (COESPU, based in Vicenza).
Cultural and scientific cooperation between Italy and Nepal has been growing for years at the national and international levels in the fields of archaeology, science and technology. The Institute for Africa and the East (ISIAO), in particular, has been active for over 20 years in digs and restoration work in the Terai region. Of considerable importance is the “EV-K2-CNR” Project. As part of this project, Italy has built and now operates, in collaboration with Nepal’s Academy for Science and Technology, an apex laboratory in the Himalayan region of Sagarmatha. The laboratory conducts studies on climate and environmental change, human physiology in extreme conditions, geology, geophysics and seismology.
New initiatives and programme will be possible on completion, in the near future, of the Italian-Nepalese agreement on scientific, technological and cultural cooperation.