August 25, 2012
Earlier this month, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the appointment of Gyan Chandra Acharya of Nepal as Under-Secretary-General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States.
Acharya is currently Permanent Representative of Nepal to the United Nations. But with his resignation, a move necessitated by his new posting, the most challenging diplomatic mission from Nepal is sure to be headless for an unspecified period.
It is not sure when Acharya’s successor will be picked as Nepal has no Parliament, and hence no parliamentary hearing, a constitutionally mandatory provision to appoint someone to the diplomatic post.
“The resignation tendered by Acharya has been approved with effect from September 1,” said Education Minister Dina Nath Sharma. Senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the mission would be ‘handicapped’ if the vacuum continued for long.
“Deputy Chief of Mission, Sheva Lamsal Adhikari, will, however, serve as the chargé d’affaires until a new permanent representative is appointed,” said DPM and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha.
A source added that nothing can be said as of now regarding the appointment of a new permanent representative unless there is a headway on breaking the constitutional crisis. Appointments of ambassadors, judges and chiefs and commissioners to constitutional bodies are in a state of limbo in the absence of mandatory parliamentary hearing.
Though the government is planning to address the pressing issues through ordinances, it is yet to take a final decision to this effect in the wake of President Ram Baran Yadav’s recent move to reject two election related ordinances.
The Permanent Representative at the UN Mission in New York is considered one of the most coveted diplomatic posts. If the recent tradition is anything to go by, the foreign secretary usually assumes the post.
Prior to his current position, Acharya was Foreign Secretary with the Government of Nepal (2007-2009), Permanent Representative to the United Nations and the World Trade Organization in Geneva (2003-2007), Spokesman of the Foreign Ministry (1999-2002) and Joint Secretary (Director-General) responsible for South Asia, Europe and the Americas and Regional Organizations, Economic Relations and Coordination Divisions (1998-2003).
Acharya graduated with a Master of Economics degree from Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu, Nepal. Born in 1960, he is married and has two children.
Besides the UN mission, Nepali Embassy in India is headless for over 18 months and ambassadors to Malaysia and Thailand are also yet to be appointed.