The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) met the Under Secretary General of UN Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), Fekitamoeloa Katoa ‘Utoikamanu on February 27 in Thimphu.
Bhutan becomes the first country to agree on having troops and equipment on standby for any peacekeeping placement
Bhutan signed a Rapid Deployment Level (RDL) agreement on December 1, agreeing to have troops and equipment on standby for placement to any peacekeeping operation within 60 days upon request from the UN secretary general.
Bhutan is the first member country to sign a RDL. The agreement means that Bhutan has pledged to have a Force Protection Company.
A press release on the UN website states that the force from Bhutan is to be a part of Vanguard brigade of the United Nations Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS). The creation of a Vanguard Brigade as part of UNPCRS was recommended for UN to quickly insert a military capability into a new mission area or reinforce an existing mission.
According to a note published on the UN website, UN also provides Member States with financial compensation to maintain their equipment during the period the unit is registered to the RDL, through a General Assembly Resolution adopted in July 2017. “This agreement represents the highest level of readiness by a troop or police-contributing country with four levels of readiness of registered capabilities.”
About 160-armed personnel from Bhutan were trained according to the UN training manual in the past.
Following the signing of the agreement, a UN inspector visited the country to assess the equipment of the Force Protection Company pledged by the government.
Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare, said at the signing that the verification was the last step in a collaborative process to ensure that the contributions reflect the expected UN standards. “I look forward to seeing other nations follow the example set by Bhutan in true partnership with us.”
The inspection took place from December 10 to 15. The agreement was signed under the UNPCRS.
An official from the foreign ministry said Bhutan is committed to multilateralism and recognises the importance of the United Nations in the promotion of peace and international security.
He said that this agreement is towards broadening and deepening Bhutan’s engagement and contribution to UN peacekeeping. “Bhutan has also pledged to contribute a Formed Police Unit by December 2018,” he said. “We are not looking at numbers and we also do not have the capacity to pledge larger deployments. Our intention is to focus on pledging small units that are well equipped and well trained.”
Bhutan has contributed to the Trust Fund for victims of sexual exploitation and abuse and is one of the 77 signatories of the Voluntary Compact on Preventing and Addressing Sexual Exploitation and Abuse to advance the ideals of United Nations.
The agreement was signed between the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support Atul Khare and the Permanent Representative of Bhutan to the United Nations, Doma Tshering.
Bhutan has currently 43 troops in nine UN field operations.
The UN in Bhutan organized the 2nd Half day workshop on Access to Finance for CSOs titled Workshop on financing CSOs in Bhutan, on 4 December 2017, 9:30 – 13:00. Workshop objectives were to introduce development finance and general idea of development finance landscape in Bhutan and to have a discussion on funding challenges that Bhutanese CSOs face through peer learning group activity. 20 officers from 15 CSOs attended the workshop and had a good peer to peer discussion on resource mobilization challenges.
Dasho Kinley Dorji (Why discuss Media and Development?)
Dasho Kinley Dorji is the Editor of the Druk Journal. He has worked in the Bhutanese media for more than three decades, served as Secretary of the Ministry of Information and Communication seven years, and retired in June 2016. As a young pensioner, he plans to write about life around him. Dasho Kinley will be Bhutan Dialogue’s first guest on October 12th, 2017. Dasho Kinley Dorji and Dr. Karma Phuntso will be discussing the topic “Why discuss Media and Development?”
On 29 May 2017, International Day for Peacekeepers, Ms. Dorji Om was awarded a medal as one of the fallen UN Volunteers. Ms. Om passed away on 22 September 2016 while serving in the United Nations Mission in Liberia. Prior to her assignment in Liberia, she worked for the UN in Bhutan and very closely with many of UN Staff here in Bhutan.
On 2 August 2017, on behalf of the UN in Bhutan, the Resident Coordinator, Gerald Daly, sincere appreciation to Ms. Om’s family and handed over the medal to her family member (Ms. Dechen Paden).