English | Dzongkha Sunday, January 19, 2020

Bhutan’s faith in the UN remains unwavering, Lyonchhen


Sep 30, 2019

In his address to the general debate of the United Nations General Assembly on last Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said, at a time when the relevance of multilateralism is often questioned, Bhutan’s faith in the UN remains unwavering.

He added that he returns home with renewed confidence that Bhutan continues to enjoy goodwill and support from the international community.

Prime Minister said that challenges confronting the global community are numerous and multi-faceted for individual states to tackle on their own. And for this, everyone must work together as one with the UN at the forefront.

“To move ahead, we must work together as one global community with the UN at the forefront. And for our perspective, there is no alternative to multilateralism.  At the same time, the UN must evolve and keep with changing realities. In particular, Bhutan considers that existing structures and composition of the UN Security Council do not reflect the current realities and circumstances of the world. The reforms of the UN Security Council must go hand in hand with the wider reforms of the UN system in order for the organization to remain legitimate, effective and credible,” said Dr Lotay Tshering, the Prime Minister.

Lyonchhen added that international peace and security are shared responsibilities in this interconnected world. And despite limitations, Bhutan joined the peacekeeping operations in 2014 and since then the engagements have gradually increased.

Addressing the gathering, Prime Minister said, the philosophy of development with values has prevented Bhutan from exploiting the natural resources for short term gains.

“When climate change has become the greatest threat facing humanity today, isn’t it a wonder that a small country like Bhutan had the foresight to take this path from the early days? I am pleased to share that my government has adopted National Human Settlement Policy which places importance on environment-friendly and energy-efficient construction. Our energy comes from hydropower which we all know is renewable, we are also taking initiatives to replace fossil fuels with clean energy. For instance, we have launched the package to procure 300 electric taxis with support from the Global Environment Facility. This may sound less by absolute number but that is almost ten per cent of the number of taxis in my capital. Ironically, this contribution and initiatives are rendered futile by the choices of others. I personally feel that those who can, are not doing enough,” added Lyonchhen.

Bhutan is set to graduate from Least Developed Country (LDC) category in 2023 coinciding with the completion of the on-going five-year development plan. To this effect, Lyonchhen said that the government has identified nine flagship programmes in critical sectors which targets multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He added that Bhutan has been found eligible for graduation based on social and income indices but Bhutan has not met the economic vulnerability index.

“Today as we prepare to graduate from  LDCs, our last mile challenges include poverty eradication, addressing income inequality and ensuring vulnerable sections of the population do not fall back into poverty due to climate change hazards and natural disasters. In addition, we are also confronted with inadequate resources and lack of institutional capacities. I personally feel that targets of SDG 17 will help my country graduate on a sure footing. I request our development partners to consider this,” said Lyonchhen.

Prime Minister said, this year’s theme for General Debate of the General Assembly which is ‘Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion sits well with the government’s commitment of narrowing the gap.

Sonam Pem

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