Canada established diplomatic relations with Nepal in 1965 and have enjoyed longstanding bilateral relations, including a development assistance program spanning from 1968 to 2013.
In Nepal, Canada is represented by the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, and the Consulate of Canada in Kathmandu. Nepal established an Embassy in Canada in 2009, and has consulates in Toronto and Vancouver.
In 2013, Canada closed its Canadian Cooperation Office in Kathmandu as part of transition in the relationship from an aid focus to a trade and investment focus.
Trade and Investments
While Canada and Nepal have longstanding bilateral ties, trade and investment flows remain modest. During the period 2008-2013, two-way trade ranged from $15 million to $23 million per annum. In 2012-13, Canadian exports to Nepal totalled $7.1 million and Canadian imports from Nepal totalled $11.7 million. Nepal’s exports to Canada are dominated by textile garments and apparels. Canada’s main exports to Nepal are in the areas of aerospace, machineries, paper and paper board, vegetables and optical instruments and appliances.
Sectors of particular interest to Canada are power and energy equipment and services, wastewater management and technologies, irrigation equipment and engineering, infrastructure, transportation (especially aircraft and parts) and telecommunications equipment. The Canadian High Commission in New Delhi has organized trade missions to Nepal to promote trade between Canada and Nepal. In May 2013, the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) and Indo-Canadian Business Chamber (ICBC) inked a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the Canada-Nepal Business Executive Committee (CNBEC) with an objective to encourage and promote the growth of business ties between Canada and Nepal through increased interaction between Nepalese companies and Canadian companies based in India.
Democratic Development and Human Rights
With the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006, Nepal embarked on a significant political transition following ten years of civil war between Maoist combatants and the Government of Nepal. In 2007, an interim constitution paved the way for Maoists to join the country's interim parliament and to officially become part of the Government. On April 10, 2008, in Nepal’s first post-conflict elections, the Unified Communist Party of Nepal/Maoist emerged as the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly. In May 2008, the country was declared a federal democratic republic.
Canada supports Nepal’s commitment to building a stable and democratic society, as the country progresses towards its next round of elections in late 2013. Canada supports Nepal’s goals of drafting of a new constitution and meeting all the objectives of the 2006 Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
Canada was also a major supporter of the ambitious human rights monitoring mission of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), which operated in Nepal between 2005 and 2011. Canada contributed $3.1 million towards this mission, making it one of the OHCHR’s largest contributors.
In 2012-2013 Canada’s Global Peace and Security Fund provided $493,000 CAD to the Global Network of Women Peacekeepers (GNWP) to support a project in Nepal aimed at integrating the core provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1325 & 1820, regarding the role of women in post-conflict reconstruction and opposing the use of rape as an instrument of war, into existing national and regional legislation. In Nepal, this work resulted in the highly celebrated National Action Plan Localisation Guidelines; a critical mechanism for strengthening women’s advocacy and assuring local ownership and participation in the implementation of Nepal’s National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security. The project was also rolled out in Afghanistan, Burundi and Sierra Leone.
The Canadian Defence Attaché, who is located at the High Commission of Canada in New Delhi, India, is responsible for conducting the Defence Program with Nepal. The Defence Program aims to establish and maintain effective contacts with the Nepalese Army and to monitor and assess defence and security matters of interest to Canada. This includes the Military Training Cooperation Program (MTCP), sponsored by the Canadian Department of National Defence, which provides selected training to individual members of the Nepalese Army at various establishments in Canada.
Canada Fund For Local Initiatives
For over three decades, Canada has funded modest development assistance projects in developing countries through the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives(CFLI). The CFLI is a program that supports small projects proposed and implemented by local NGOs and other grassroots organizations such as village councils, cooperatives and women’s groups.
Canada’s Development Legacy in Nepal: 1968-2013
In 1952, Canada first entered into an indirect development assistance relationship with Nepal, when it joined the Colombo Plan. Over the past four decades, Canadian investment in Nepal totalled approximately $470 million CAD. From 1968 to 2013, Canada, through CIDA’s programming, directly supported large programs and small projects in Nepal to prepare institutions and organizations to begin their work in development. These have included the national airlines, water and energy secretariats, land survey departments, district governments, local community groups, the bar association, health workers, farmer cooperatives, and human rights alliances. CIDA has supported both Nepalese and Canadian NGOs to implement projects in remote villages.