World Food Programme (WFP) in partnership with the Department of Trade, Ministry of Economic Affairs conducted a food safety & quality management training for private traders, retailers, wholesalers and enterprises dealing in essential food items in Phuentsholing & Thimphu. The sessions were delivered through a hybrid learning model comprising of theory, online module as well as practical demonstrations.
Conducted in Phuentsholing from 23-24 June and in Thimphu from 25-26 June, the event saw collaboration among relevant government departments and agencies in the country including Department of Trade, Food Cooperation of Bhutan Limited (FCBL) as well as industry experts from the private sector in India via Confederation of Indian Industry’s (CII) Food & Agriculture Centre of Excellence. WFP leveraged its global expertise in food aid, logistics and food safety & quality and delivered modules on the science behind safe storage of food commodities, storage structures and inventory management.
Giving every Bhutanese a chance to make their voices heard, and to share their hopes and fears for the future you want.
This year, the United Nations (UN) turns 75. Since 1945, the UN has transformed the lives of millions of people. But today, its mission to build a better world is more urgent and more difficult than ever. We face unprecedented challenges, from the Covid-19 pandemic to the climate emergency. We need to work together like never before – across borders, sectors and generations – to overcome these crises and ensure we recover better. To mark the UN Charter Day, UN Bhutan, launches the world’s largest conversation- to give every Bhutanese a chance to make their voices heard, and to share their hopes and fears for the future you want.
Take the survey, have YOUR say, and invite your networks, friends and colleagues to do the same!
Your responses to this survey will inform global priorities now and going forward.
Follow the link https://un75.online/ to take the survey.
Once you have taken the survey, please tag UN Bhutan on Facebook and Instagram.
Despite the lush greenery that surrounds Ngarpongtang village in Thangrong, Bhutan, until recently, it was impossible to grow vegetables there. “I used to have to go to other villages to exchange pinewood for vegetables,” says Wangdi, a 54-year-old farmer. “We couldn’t get vegetables to grow here.”
Water was a scarce resource in this remote corner of the Himalayan nation. “I’ve only ever seen Ngarpongtang dry,” says village leader Lhuendup. “It never rains more than 41 days a year.” When it does rain, say villagers, it is erratic, and getting more so over the years.
A spring, more than 10 km away, is the nearest reliable source of water. Until mid-2019, one canal connected the spring to the community. Families trekked for 1.5 hours for extra water to the spring. There was barely enough water to drink for the 47 households that comprise the village, or for their livestock. There certainly wasn’t enough for irrigation of anything other than maize, the staple crop, even though the agro-climactic conditions are ripe for cultivation.
Cut to 2020, and farmers like Wangdi are now growing enough vegetables to feed their families and sell in local markets. “I have a 145 sq. yard kitchen garden now,” Wangdi says. What has changed?
The government’s Agriculture Research and Development Centre (ARDC) at Wengkhar recognized that the community’s lack of access to water left them dependent on the vagaries of the weather for even the most basic of needs. A participatory vulnerabilities assessment in six districts, conducted in partnership with the IFAD-supported Commercial Agriculture and Resilient Livelihoods Enhancement Programme (CARLEP), further highlighted that the water system was an important part of building climate resilience in communities like Ngarpongtang.
Between March and June 2019, ARDC and CARLEP projects worked together to design, construct and implement a system to harvest spring water, while community members pitched in with their labour. As a result, Ngarpongtang now boasts an underground water supply line that connects to a reservoir tank situated above the village, which further distributes water to each household’s storage tanks. The system is considered climate-resilient and the remote rural community is no longer dependant on rainfall to produce food.
Lhuendup, 42, feels that reliable water supply has given the area’s farmers a slew of new options. The new availability of water virtually on their doorsteps means they can maintain kitchen gardens in addition to rearing cattle, which would not have been possible before. “Today, we each have one water storage tank and sprinkler for irrigation. With the sprinkler, we can distribute water equally in our field and maintain our vegetable crops at the right temperature. I can think of sowing varieties of vegetables, which I couldn’t before,” he says.
Wangdi agrees. “I’ve just started getting enough water for my kitchen garden. I plan to gradually expand my cultivation area for vegetables, so I can sell more in the local market and supplement my income. Until now, I could only sell cheese, butter and eggs. It’s good to diversify,” he adds.
The agricultural extension officer for the area says this is the not only the first time farmers here have grown vegetables, but that many of them even have some left over. “Together they’ve managed a surplus of about 0.825 MT of vegetables, which is quite remarkable. They took the surplus to the local market to sell. Soon they’ll have a potato harvest as well,” Chungku says.
Many other villages in Bhutan face similar challenges of persistent water scarcity coupled with climate change-induced risks. More than half the population lives in rural areas and relies on agriculture for their livelihoods. Erratic rainfall, extreme weather, rising temperatures and the country’s mountainous topography leave some areas parched, while others see floods and landslides. The ARDC and CARLEP partnership was able to successfully identify and using appropriate technologies to address issues in Ngarpongtang. The next step is to replicate this success in other areas, so they may achieve sustainable water security – and tend kitchen gardens – too.
Original story on: https://www.ifad.org/en/web/latest/story/asset/41953467
The World Health Organization (WHO), the UN’s health agency, has played a crucial role in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic, ever since the first cases were identified in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. At a press conference on Wednesday, WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, outlined five ways the agency is leading the global response.
The plan, which is updated as fresh information and data improve WHO’s understanding of the characteristics of the virus and how to respond, acts as a guide for developing country-specific plans.
The health agency’s six regional offices, and 150 country offices, work closely with governments around the world to prepare their health systems for the ravages of COVID-19, and to respond effectively when cases arrive and begin to mount.
With partners, WHO set up the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to ensure patients get the care they need, and frontline workers get essential supplies and information; and to accelerate research and development of a vaccine and treatments for all who need them.
With donations from governments, the private sector and individuals, more than $800 million has been pledged or received for the response so far.
The internet is awash with information about the pandemic, some of it useful, some of it false or misleading. In the midst of this “infodemic”, WHO is producing accurate, useful guidance that can help save lives.
This includes around 50 pieces of technical advice for the public, health workers and countries, with evidence-based guidance on every element of the response, and exploding dangerous myths.
The health agency benefits from the expertise of a global network of health professionals and scientists, including epidemiologists, clinicians and virologists, to ensure that the response is as comprehensive, authoritative and representative as possible.
To ensure information is correct and helpful, WHO set up a team to give everyone access to timely, accurate and easy-to-understand advice, from trusted sources. In addition, daily situation reports and press briefings, as well as briefings with governments, are keeping the world informed about the latest data, information and evidence.
Many social media and tech companies are working closely with WHO to aid the flow of reliable information, including Instagram, Linkedin and TikTok; and chatbots on the Whatsapp and Viber platforms have garnered millions of followers, sending out timely updates and reports.
Personal protective equipment is essential to ensure health professionals are able to save lives, including their own. So far, WHO has shipped more than two million items of personal protective equipment to 133 countries, and is preparing to ship another two million items in the coming weeks. More than a million diagnostic tests have been dispatched to 126 countries, in all regions, and more are being sourced.
However, far more is needed, and WHO is working with the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Economic Forum, and others in the private sector, to ramp up the production and distribution of essential medical supplies.
On 8 April, WHO launched a “UN COVID-19 Supply Chain Task Force”, which aims to dramatically increase the supply of essential protective equipment where it is needed.
WHO is aiming to train millions of health workers, via its OpenWHO platform. Thanks to this online tool, life-saving knowledge is being transferred to frontline personnel by the Organization, and its key partners.
Users take part in a worldwide, social learning network, based on interactive, online courses and materials covering a variety of subjects. OpenWHO also serves as a forum for the rapid sharing of public health expertise, and in-depth discussion and feedback on key issues. So far, more than 1.2 million people have enrolled in 43 languages.
Countries are also being supported by experts, deployed around the world by the WHO’s Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). During outbreaks, the network ensures that the right technical expertise and skills are on the ground where and when they are needed most.
Emergency Medical Teams are also an important part of the global health workforce. These teams are highly trained, and self-sufficient, and are sent to places identified as disaster or emergency zones.
Laboratories in many countries are already conducting tests that, it is hoped, will eventually lead to a vaccine. In an attempt to corral these efforts, WHO brought together 400 of the world’s leading researchers in February, to identify research priorities.
The agency launched a “Solidarity Trial”, an international clinical trial, involving 90 countries, to help find effective treatment. The aim is to rapidly discover whether any existing drugs can slow the progression of the disease, or improve survival.
To better understand the virus, WHO has developed research protocols that are being used in more than 40 countries, in a coordinated way, and some 130 scientists, funders and manufacturers from around the world have signed a statement committing to work with WHO to speed the development of a vaccine against COVID-19.
Readers can find information and guidance on the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) from the UN, World Health Organization and UN agencies here. For daily news updates from UN News, click here.
In his 8 April press briefing, Tedros said that WHO is involved with many other initiatives and actions, but all of them come under these five essential pillars.
The agency’s focus, he said, is “on working with countries and with partners to bring the world together to confront this common threat together”.
A particular concern, he added, is for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable, in all countries, and WHO is committed to “serve all people of the world with equity, objectivity and neutrality.”
This report presents the results of Bhutan’s key population size estimation exercise implemented from 13 November, 2019 to 31 January, 2020. The overarching purpose of the exercise is to provide rigorous data on key populations at risk for HIV in Bhutan to guide prevention and care policies and programs. Objective 1 is to estimate the number of high risk women (HRW), commercial sex workers (CSW), men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women (TGW), and transgender men (TGM) in Bhutan. The population size estimates are for the national level and at the dzongkhag level according to where they reside, work, or otherwise could be found. Objective 2 is to map the hotspots, locations, and physical venues where these key populations congregate and can be reached. Objective 3 is to measure the HIV-related risk and preventive behaviors of these key populations. This summary presents the major findings pertaining to these objectives. Additional results, interpretations, strengths, and limitations are in the body of the report. An overview of the methods follows, with specific implementation notes accompanying each results section. Further details on the theoretical framework and methodologies are in the appended protocol.
On behalf of the 26 resident and non-resident United Nations agencies, funds and programmes working in Bhutan, the UN Resident Coordinator, Mr. Gerald Daly, extended its support to the national COVID-19 preparedness and response and other immediate assistance.
The UN, this morning, extended its support of USD 1.14 million (approximately Nu 80.5 million) to the Honorable Prime Minister, Lyonchen Dr. Lotay Tshering.
To meet the immediate needs of the quarantine facilities across the country, the UN made a modest contribution of USD 50,000 (approximately Nu 3.5 million).
Three UN agencies have also managed to access their agency emergency funds, through which USD 1.09 million (approximately Nu 77 million) has been mobilized, some of which have already been transferred to the RGoB while some are underway. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has received USD 450,000 from the Government of Japan and USD 100,000 from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to support the Government’s COVID-19 response with a focus on children and adolescents as well as to procure, deliver and distribute medical equipment for the Ministry of Health;; World Health Organization (WHO) mobilized USD 244,500; and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) mobilized USD 300,000.
The UN Resident Coordinator said : “We need to cut through the red tape as much as possible while remaining effective and accountable. We are in an unprecedented situation and it can no longer be business as usual. Like the rest of the world, we in Bhutan are facing the potential for devastating impacts from the virus. But, through decisive action, and through working together, we do have a small window to get ahead of it. These are challenging times, on behalf of the UN, I would like to commend the Royal Government for the hard work and results being achieved towards the COVID-19 preparedness and response plans and action.”
Photo Courtesy: Prime Minister’s Office – PMO, Bhutan
Experts say judgment is ‘tipping point’ that opens the door to climate crisis claims for protection
It is unlawful for governments to return people to countries where their lives might be threatened by the climate crisis, a landmark ruling by the United Nations human rights committee has found.
The judgment – which is the first of its kind – represents a legal “tipping point” and a moment that “opens the doorway” to future protection claims for people whose lives and wellbeing have been threatened due to global heating, experts say.
Tens of millions of people are expected to be displaced by global heating in the next decade.
The committee heard evidence of overcrowding on the island of South Tarawa, where Teitiota lived, saying that the population there had increased from 1,641 in 1947 to 50,000 in 2010 due to sea level rising leading to other islands becoming uninhabitable, which had led to violence and social tensions.
He also spoke of the lack of fresh water and difficulty growing crops due to salinity of the water table causing serious health issues for his family. He said that as Kiribati was predicted to be uninhabitable in 10 to 15 years, his life was endangered by remaining there.
The New Zealand courts rejected Teitiota’s claim for protection. The UN human rights committee upheld New Zealand’s decision on the grounds that while “sea level rise is likely to render the republic of Kiribati uninhabitable … the timeframe of 10 to 15 years, as suggested by [Teitiota], could allow for intervening acts by the republic of Kiribati, with the assistance of the international community, to take affirmative measures to protect and, where necessary, relocate its population”.
However experts say the committee’s ruling opens the way for other claims based on the threat to life posed by the climate crisis. The committee ruled that “the effects of climate change in receiving states may expose individuals to a violation of their rights … thereby triggering the non-refoulement obligations of sending states”.
“On a personal level for Ioane and his family it is bad news, because obviously it’s decided that his claim that his right to life was threatened in Kiribati wasn’t strong enough,” said Kate Schuetze, Pacific researcher for Amnesty International. “But they said it wasn’t strong enough based on his personal circumstances and the evidence they put before the court and then they made some very strong statements clarifying the roles and responsibilities of states to say … there would be a trigger of international responsibility for other governments not to return people to places where their life is at risk because of climate-induced changes.”
While the judgment is not formally binding on countries, it points to legal obligations that countries have under international law.
“What’s really important here, and why it’s quite a landmark case, is that the committee recognised that without robust action on climate at some point in the future it could well be that governments will, under international human rights law, be prohibited from sending people to places where their life is at risk or where they would face inhuman or degrading treatment,” said Prof Jane McAdam, director of the Kaldor centre for international refugee law at the University of New South Wales.
“Even though in this particular case there was no violation found, it effectively put governments on notice.
“There have been cases brought in Australia and New Zealand since the mid-1990s about environmental harm and climate change and to date they’ve all been unsuccessful … But now we’ve got a very clear, legal authoritative statement now that it’s almost like: watch this space.”
Schuetze said there were roughly a dozen cases in the New Zealand court system similar to Teitiota’s, with people, mostly from Tuvalu and Kiribati, claiming the impacts of the climate crisis affected their right to life.
“The Pacific Islands will be the canary in the coalmines for climate-induced migrants,” said Schuetze.
“The message in this case is clear: Pacific Island states don’t need to be underwater before triggering those human rights obligations … I think we will see those cases start to emerge.”
Two of the 18 members of the committee issued dissenting opinions on the case, saying they did not agree with the conclusion that New Zealand was justified in removing Teitiota to Kiribati, with one writing that just because “deaths are not occurring with regularity on account of the conditions … it should not mean that the threshold had been reached”.
“The fact that this [difficulty growing crops and accessing safe drinking water] is a reality for many others in the country, does not make it any more dignified for the persons living in such conditions. New Zealand’s action is more like forcing a drowning person back into a sinking vessel, with the ‘justification’ that after all there are other voyagers on board.”
Source: The Guardian
We’ve seen remarkable progress—extreme poverty and child mortality rates are falling and access to energy, education and decent work is rising. But we are far from the world we want.
The Decade of Action aims to spark an unstoppable force to reach the #GlobalGoals.
✅ Let’s mobilize everyone, everywhere to take action
✅ Let’s demand urgency and ambition
✅ Let’s supercharge ideas to solutions
Let’s make the 20s a #GlobalGoals Decade of Action!
The Resident Coordinator of UN Bhutan, Gerald Daly said, “based on past experiences, we need the primary failure of the capital markets in relation to sustainable development as one of misallocation of capital. In the words of the UN Secretary General, “the world has the resources to deliver, but they are not allocated where they are most needed,” at the National Workshop on Capital Market Development in Bhutan, organized by UNESCAP in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance.
As part of ESCAP’s technical assistance to Bhutan, this national workshop aims to engage with the Ministry of Finance, various Government agencies, and key stakeholders to help facilitate the issuance of Bhutan’s first sovereign bonds. It will emphasize experiential learning and exchange of information with experts, institutional investors, and private sector investors.
To observe World AIDS Day, a storytelling session on the theme “My Story: Living Life with HIV,” is currently ongoing at Samtse. This side-event is organized by the UN in Bhutan in collaboration with Lhak Sam and Rainbow Bhutan: “Celebrating Diversity” and supported by UNAIDS.
The main objective of this event is to share stories of courage to inspire not only people living with HIV but everyone to work as a community to make a difference in the AIDS response.
Opening the event, the Health Minister, Lyonpo Dechen Wangmo, on the two new people living with HIV who went public today said, “their life is going to be different from today. Unless we work together, we will never achieve our aspirations. If we understand their problems and find solutions. The magnitude of an epidemic like this is more dangerous for a small society.”