About the United Nations in Bhutan


The United Nations (UN) is an international organization founded in 1945. Currently made up of 193 Member States, the mission and work of the United Nations are guided by the purposes and principles contained in its founding Charter.

On 21st September 1971, the Royal Government of Bhutan became the 128th member of the United Nations. The Office of the United Nations in Bhutan was established in early 1974. Since then, the country has been home to many UN agencies, funds and programmes that together support the Government in delivering national development needs and improving the socio-economic conditions of the people of Bhutan.


Delivering as One


In 2008, Bhutan adopted the ‘Delivering as One’ approach to overcome systemic fragmentation within the UN and focus better on collective performance, efficiency, accountability and results. The change helped secure and strengthen the UN’s role at the heart of the multilateral system. Since then, UN Bhutan has been delivering collaborative results through specialized resident UN agencies including:


Bhutan UNDAF One Programme


In Bhutan, as in other countries in the world, our work is guided by the United Nationals Development Action Framework (UNDAF) One Programme 2013 – 2018, the strategic programme framework that outlines collective response of the UN system to national development priorities.


UN Agencies in Bhutan


The UN Country Team, which is led by the UN Resident Coordinator, is composed of eight resident UN agencies, funds and programmes and 14 non-resident UN agencies, funds and programmes. The Resident Coordinator, the designated representative of the UN Secretary-General to the Government, leads the UN Country Team in advocating the mandate of the United Nations, while drawing on the support and guidance of the entire UN family.

Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Bhutan joined FAO in 1981 and a country office was established in the mid-1980s. Since then, FAO has implemented close to 100 projects covering agricultural development, and policy and legislative support. Knowledge management, capacity building, regional collaboration and emergency and rehabilitation assistance are some of the prime focus areas of FAO in Bhutan.

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United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

UNICEF has been achieving results for children in Bhutan for over 40 years. UNICEF programme started in Bhutan in 1974 with support to Rural Water Supply and Sanitation. Over the years, UNICEF has expanded its support to the Royal Government and its partners to improve the lives of children, youth and women in Bhutan. UNICEF Bhutan is a trusted partner and has diverse partnerships with government agencies, civil society organizations and youth. UNICEF promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. We are part of the Delivering as One with other UN agencies with a five year country programme 2014–2018

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United Nations Development Programme

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been supporting the Royal Government of Bhutan (RGoB) and the Bhutanese people since 1973. UNDP’s assistance in Bhutan started with an initial allocation of USD 2.5 million for the first country programme (1973–1976) coinciding with the fifth and sixth Five Year Plans. Prior to 1996, UNDP’s assistance primarily focused on civil aviation, telecommunications, private sector, energy, tourism and media. Currently, UNDP supports inclusive, sustainable progress in people’s lives, their needs, efforts and rights.

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United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women)

In 2010, UN Women was created to declare and ensure that the global agenda of gender equality and safeguarding the rights of girls and women across the world is addressed through policy imperatives on par with other vital development priorities. UN Women is a champion advocate for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In Bhutan, UN Women is currently working with the RGoB and other UN agencies providing technical advice and assistance to the National Commission for Women and Children, the Gross National Happiness Commission, the Department of Budget and the Department of Local Governance – a project in 2010–2013 helped to encourage and motivate women to participate in politics and local governance. UN Women also works with the RGoB on Gender Responsive Budgeting by training officials in the Ministry of Finance, and it supports Bhutan in reporting on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), and meeting their commitments under the Beijing Platform for Action and the Dhaka Resolution.

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United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)

UNODC Regional Office for South Asia (ROSA) implements regional projects to counter drugs and crime in South Asia of which Bhutan is a part. This is done by supporting drug law enforcement, capacity building, HIV and drug use prevention, and counter terrorism and corruption. ROSA established its presence in Bhutan in May 2014 by initiating the first-ever Anti-Human Trafficking Project.

The country office is run under the overall guidance of the Regional Representative in New Delhi, India.

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United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

UNFPA’s partnership with the RGoB started in the 1970s, launching its first country programme in 1987. UNFPA collaborates with the government, non-government organizations and youth groups through technical support, knowledge management and policy advocacy on sexual and reproductive health in the country.

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World Food Programme (WFP)

Since 1974, WFP has been working with the RGoB to implement a school feeding programme – initially to combat malnutrition but gradually shifting towards an increase in enrolment and to reduce gender and economic inequality. While WFP continues to provide meals to about 20,000 school children, the focus is now more on the capacity development of government counterparts to ensure the sustainability of the programme once WFP phases out its direct support to the programme by the end of 2018.

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World Health Organization (WHO)

Although Bhutan joined WHO in March 1982, the country’s collaboration with the organization started in September 1978 with the International Conference on Primary Health Care. Bhutan formally adopted the Alma-Ata Declaration of ‘Health for All’ in 1979, as the guiding principle for the development of modern health services in the country. The WHO provides policy advice and technical support to the Ministry of Health and other partners, builds health system capacity and assists the RGoB to monitor health trends and to develop policies, strategies and plans for expanding access to health services and improving the health of the people of Bhutan.

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