Major reforms recommended at Foreign Ministry

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu

Jul 16, 2015-

Experts have recommended a major organisational overhaul at the Foreign Ministry to streamline services and improve the country’s diplomatic standing.

After five months of rigorous study, four separate panels of experts have suggested the ministry to revamp its structure from top to bottom, reform its organisational policy, and reorient diplomacy for effective functioning and service delivery. The ministry had formed the panels to come up with strategies to address its shortcomings pointed out by various stakeholders.

The ministry had received several grievances regarding its working style, growing influence of political parties within the organisation, general attitude of the staff towards their work and the way diplomacy was being practiced.

The panel, led by former Nepal’s Permanent Representative to the UN Madhu Raman Acharya, was commissioned with the task of coming up with the suggestions to reform the ministry’s organisation and its services. It has advised the ministry to create an environment where staff are encouraged to work inside the country, instead of eyeing for jobs in foreign missions for want of better salary and perks. The Acharya panel has observed that both the junior and senior officials at the ministry place high preference on going abroad to work particularly for A-class missions.

Sharing some of the highlights of the reports prepared by the panels, a senior official said foreign service staff in Nepal prefer to work away from their homeland when opposite is the case in other countries.

Competition among the top ranking officials to become ambassadors, often with the backing of political parties, is another culture that the Acharya panel has suggested the ministry to end, saying that it has given a bad image to the ministry and the country. Revamping the entire working style of the ministry could address the problem, the Acharya panel has suggested.

The panel, led by former Ambassador to Switzerland Shambhu Ram Simkhada, has emphasised on the need of setting up think tanks, as well as retaining the services of former diplomats to help the ministry in its foreign policy. It has also suggested strengthening the Institute of Foreign Affairs to better train the diplomats, and increasing the roles of ministry’s political divisions and the international departments of major political parties.

The panel headed by former Ambassador to Kuwait Madhuban Poudel has prepared a report regarding the properties owned by the ministry both inside and outside the country. Similarly, another panel was led by Ram Babu Nepal, former senior bureaucrat, which studied the perks and remuneration of the foreign service staff and made suggestions for revision.   

The other major recommendations made by the four panels include training the foreign service staff, grooming diplomats on expertise-basis, promptly filling the vacancies in foreign missions, and streamlining the services provided by the Department of Consular and Passports. 

Published: 17-07-2015 07:51

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