The United Nations (UN) in Bhutan contributed almost USD 32 M to the government last year. This is the largest support from the UN to Bhutan to date. The contribution supported the government in the long-term development plans and in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. This is as per the UN Bhutan’s annual results report 2020 released today.
More than USD 10 M of the total contribution was allocated for the country’s COVID-19 response and recovery programmes.
A news release from the UN country office says, despite being a challenging year, the UN Bhutan was able to respond to the immediate needs of the people and needs of the most vulnerable and supported the government in economic resilience and building longer-term human capital in a comprehensive way to find new ways of ‘building forward better’.
To support Bhutan’s recovery, the UN developed a joint response framework aligned with the government’s plans and priorities. This is captured in the UN Bhutan COVID-19 Socio-Economic Response Plan which includes short-term measures to mitigate negative health, social and economic consequences of the pandemic along with medium to long-term investments to strengthen the capacity of the country to build forward better and ensure resilience to future crises.
The report highlights the UN’s support to vulnerable women and youth in the wake of the pandemic. The UN introduced an innovative One-Stop Crisis at the national referral hospital that ensured this group of people get faster access to medical services.
“This 2020 results report is our APA report. So we are grateful to have this opportunity to be accountable to the government and to the people of this country. The second top achievement, from my point of view, was the innovation that was done to support helping the country bring in more financial support. The third achievement that I think stands out is the way we have been able to ensure that the most vulnerable continued to receive support especially when it comes to gender-based violence,” said UN Resident Coordinator Gerald Daly.
“Last year was obviously a very challenging year but also at the same time a very rewarding year because we had the largest programme ever delivered for UNDP in Bhutan. While we supported the government with immediate response to Covid such as through the provision of PPEs, for health care workers and the waste handlers. We also looked into long term recovery from Covid which is going to be greener, more inclusive and sustainable for the future of Bhutan,” added Azusa Kubota, UNDP’s Resident Representative.
Besides, the UN Bhutan supported the government in policy matters including in the development of the National Youth and Child Policy.
To ensure financial resources for both COVID-19 responses and long-term development priorities, the UN also partnered with the government and jointly launched SDG Fund Programme: ‘Building a Bhutan Integrated National Financing Framework for the Sustainable Development Goals and Gross National Happiness.’
The programme aims to make a transformative contribution to the way Bhutan finances its development, especially to support Bhutan’s goals of long-term financial sustainability, social spending that benefits all people, and green finance to protect the environment and respond to climate change.
This year marks the 50th year of partnership between the UN and Bhutan since Bhutan joined the United Nations on September 21st, 1971 as the 128th member. UN Bhutan currently comprises eight resident agencies and 23 non-resident agencies.