The Constitution Day of 17th May 1814 marks one of the most important events in Norwegian history. It is celebrated every year by Norwegian communities all around the world. Nepal is no exception and, once again, a traditional children’s parade was organised in Bhaisepati, Kathmandu. Speaking at the event, the Norwegian Ambassador to Nepal, Kjell Tormod Pettersen emphasised the importance of this year’s celebration, as 2014 marks the bicentenary of the Constitution.
– The 1814 Constitution is based on the principles of sovereignty of the people, separation of powers, rule of law and individual rights. These are still the key values that form the backbone of our democracy today, and values that Norway attaches great importance to in our work to support Nepal’s peace process and democratic consolidation, the Ambassador said.
The Norwegian Constitution is the oldest in Europe, and the second oldest in the world, that is still in use. Key values such as freedom of expression and the separation of powers were at the heart of the Constitution when it was drawn up in 1814. It was a radical constitution, inspired by new political and social currents in Europe and America at the time. Since then, it has been amended several times to ensure equality, anti-discrimination and religious freedom.
The principles of the Norwegian Constitution of 1814 have paved the way for the development and welfare of the Norwegian society. Together with the Nordic neighbouring countries, Norway is at the top of UN’s Human Development Index and has one of the most resilient economies in Europe.
Ambassador Pettersen speaking at the event.
The parade in Bhaisepati.
The Nordic model of society is characterised by small economic disparities, universal social rights and close cooperation between employers and employees. Norway is known for its rich natural resources in hydropower, gas and oil, but it is the country’s human resources that has been significant in forwarding the social and economic development of the country.
–Women’s high participation in the work force is a very important contribution to our strong economy, said the Ambassador.
The Ambassador stated that he would like to use the bicentenary as an opportunity to wish the people of Nepal good luck in finalising the constitution writing process.
– Nepal is a young democracy, and with a strong and inclusive Constitution, it will have a solid basis for further securing a resilient democratic Nepal.