UN Resident Coordinator’s address to the members of the National Council on 6 June 2018
“I have always maintained that the destiny of the country lies in the hands of our people. The time has come for us now to draw up a written Constitution and establish a political system which will enable the Bhutanese people to shoulder this sacred responsibility.” His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Singye Wangchuck.
Honorable Chairperson of the National Council, Thri-zin Tashi Dorji, Members of the National Council, Secretary General of the National Council, Colleagues.
May I take this auspicious opportunity by wishing each Honorable member a heartiest Tashi Delek for being elected to represent your people in the highest legislative body in the country.
The UN has had the privilege of supporting the democratic transition in Bhutan since the introduction of democracy in 2008. We are honored to have been your partner. It has also been our honour to have been working in partnership with your leadership and citizenship since you acceded to the UN in 1971.
The UN has watched and witnessed the rapid pace of development within the Parliament. The willingness to learn and grow by both the Secretariats of the Parliament under the leadership of the Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly and the Chairperson of the National Council, guided by the wisdom of His Majesty has been inspiring.
Over the years, the Parliament of Bhutan has been successful in presenting an image of a modern and progressive Bhutan globally. This comes as a great advantage to the Honorable members, especially at a time when global leadership is sometimes found wanting.
Global leadership is today internationally influenced by populism, protectionism and nationalism. While the causes are multiple and deep-rooted, the critical antidote is good leadership. The best leaders are seen lead by facing the future, by framing its challenges, commanding confidence, building coalitions, debating with integrity and transparency, and delivering with an inclusive vision.
We, as the UN in Bhutan, hope to continue to support you as you carry out your eminent and profound role amongst the visionary leaders of this great country.
UNITED NATIONS IN BHUTAN
I wear a number of hats but my first one is as Resident Coordinator of the 8 UN agencies based in Bhutan and another 12 that regularly visit Bhutan (eg. the work of ESCAP and UNEP etc.)
8 Resident Agencies
FAO, led by Chadho Tenzin,
UNDP, (my 2nd hat is the RR; on a daily basis UNDP is led by Niamh Collier-Smith)
UNFPA (Yeshey Dorji),
UNICEF (Rudolf Schwenk),
UNODC (Sonam Wangdi),
UN Women (Rinzi Pem),
WFP (Piet Vochten),
WHO (Dr. Rui Paulo De Jesus))
Our partnership with Bhutan is about to reach the 50 year milestone and over the next 5 years we expect to support the 12th Plan with over Nu 7 billion. During the course of today we’ll explain in some detail how this is being planned and Partly inspired by the SG’s opening video we will do a detailed dive on the UN’s work on Emergency Preparedness and Response, because of this country’s vulnerability this extra attention is deserved.
SDGs/times of change and challenge
I have been fortunate to directly see a number of the changes that have occurred in Bhutan over the last 15 years.
The 17 Sustainable Development Goals guide the United Nation’s interventions across all the nations we support and will guide our collaboration with you here in Bhutan. The United Nations biggest collaboration and contribution lies ahead. We will work together the Royal Government of Bhutan to help Bhutan successfully implement and achieve the 17 SDG’s by 2030.
Over the course of today, we will explain in detail where we bring a practical value-add to the development of this country.
When we anticipate the future (or another way to say this is ‘to get ahead of it’), we know we need to do better development; better results, better value for money and targeted to the most vulnerable.
I’d like to share with you 2 key documents, (1. Scenarios to 2030 for the UNDP in Asia and the Pacific – mega trends analysis 2. Analysis of mega trends in South Asia and their implications for children and UNICEF) which speak to the trends that will buffet this country over the coming 15 years: most especially:
These are important analysis and I look forward to an on-going dialogue on their key messages and insights.
The journey of the Global Goals began in 2000.
When world leaders came together at the United Nations to adopt the Millennium Declaration. Defining a common vision for the world, this declaration formed the eight Millennium Development Goals which proceeded to define development co-operation. Great progress was made here in Bhutan during this period: just to cite one example, The mortality rate of children under five years of age decreased by half between 1990 and 2012.
Sustainable Development Goals was signed by 193 countries in September 2015.
This new agenda built on important principles:
BHUTAN AND SDGs
During the 11th Five Year Plan, of the 169 targets, 134 have already found a home in Bhutan’s policy framework. This illustrates the practical alignment between Gross National Happiness and the SDGs.
The United Nations has been working closely with the Gross National Happiness Commission to help build the Sustainable Development Goals into the 12th Five Year Plan, the drafting of which, is in its final stages to be approved by the next Government. The sixteen National Key Result Areas of the current draft are closely related to the seventeen Sustainable Development Goals, with commendable overlap in areas such as gender and good governance.
Bhutan is participating in the Voluntary National Review of its Sustainable Development Goals at the 2018 High Level Political Forum in New York in July this year. We are grateful to have assisted in this work and be part of showcasing the results oriented development work that occurs here in Bhutan.
The SDGs provide shared global vision towards sustainable development for all and they under-pin the work of the UN here in Bhutan.
THE ROLE OF PARLIAMENTARIANS IN SDGS
As the highest legislative body, the National Council is seen to ensure pro-poor, gender sensitive, human rights-based environment for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals. The Parliament has the power to make legislations and approve international agreement, I hope the Honorable members will lend their support to help the United Nations in implementing all of the SDG goals but particularly those which relate to legislation regarding Goal 5 on Gender Equality, Goal 10 on Reduced Inequalities and Goal 16 on Good Governance.
The Parliamentary oversight mechanisms such as public hearings, question time at the Parliament sessions and the work done by Parliamentary Committees can be very effective in focusing on progress and the obstacles faced during the progress. Parliamentary Committees can call on government officials to provide data on the impact of government policies and programmes.
People are at the beating heart of democracy: The Members of Parliament can both generate political will and leverage space for a wide range of stakeholders, including women and youth, vulnerable and marginalized groups to be engaged in the decisions that affect their lives. Parliamentary partnerships with civil society organizations, academic institutions and the private sector can also be useful in helping parliamentarians to identify key challenges and in accessing expertise to address them.
If you are driving a car and you don’t have a good dashboard of information regarding the car, then who is driving the car?
The challenging data and reporting requirements of the Sustainable Development Goals and NKRA-GNH agenda are significant and we the UN are particularly committed to support this country in this area of work. A key role of Parliament is monitoring and implementation of the agenda, and I urge the Honorable members to support the strengthening of relevant institutions that work in this area (such as NSB) and attend to the issue of measurement, data collection and relevant and timely policies.
Bhutan’s important role in Global Relations
We the UN are inspired by Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and the 5 extraordinary qualities that define the Bhutanese also greatly resonate at the UN:
Sincerity, Mindfulness, Astuteness, Resilience and Timeless.
Let me take this opportunity to invite each and every one of you to UN House Thimphu and mention that on the 2nd Thursday of each month we specifically host what is called Bhutan Dialogues, where we openly discuss the opportunities and challenges around development with a special focus on Bhutan.
I have covered a lot of ground in a short time, if you have any questions, lets chat over the breaks.
I trust our interactions today will help you understand the United Nations’ role and find wise ways to be at your disposal to support the people of Bhutan on the journey that lies ahead. Let us work together for a better life of every Bhutanese. Let us work together to serve the Tsa-Wa_Sum.
Tashi Delek and Kardrinchey La
Topic: Youth Matters in Development
Host: Dr. Karma Phuntsho is the founder of Loden Foundation, a development organization that promotes education and entrepreneurship in Bhutan as well as the Shejun Agency for Bhutan’s Cultural Documentation and Research.
Speaker: Aum Dorji Ohm is the Executive Director of Bhutan Youth Development Fund. She is also the chair of the National Action & Coordination Group of the South Asia Initiative to end Violence Against Children. Aum is also an instructor in Alternative Healing (pranic healing). She has a post graduate certificate in English Language and Literature from the Thames Valley University, London. During her spare time, Aum likes to practice yoga and meditation, read, write, trek and indulge herself in social work and designing (fashion and interior). She also enjoys volunteering for animal shelters and care.
Date: June 14, 2018
Venue: UN House, Kawajangsa, Thimphu
Time: 4:00 pm to 5:15 pm
The June session of Bhutan Dialogues will be followed by a short training on how to write a good Curriculum Vitae (CV). This is a special innovation to ‘Bhutan Dialogues’ so as to provide an additional learning experience for those who are interested.
As usual, please register on Eventbrite for the June 14th event!
The United Nations Bhutan in collaboration with the Civil Society Organization Authority and the Australian Himalayan Foundation is organizing a CSO Capacity Development Training from May 28 to May 30, 2018 at the UN House. During the course of the training, participants will focus on the following:
The participants for the training will comprise of executives from various CSOs, business start-up individuals and individuals working in the field of development.
David Nott brings to his coaching a solid base in the fundamentals of business, a deep understanding of what works and what can go awry, and what steps need to be taken to turn potential into success. He has served for almost 30 years as a partner with a leading global professional services firm providing leadership in Australia and internationally and is now giving something back through his coaching.
Reena Malik has over 20 years business consulting experience with a strong reputation and track record of building teams and leading high performing teams. She has a strong background in leading complex projects and developing long term client relationship. She is also a senior stakeholder and relationship manager working with executive teams and senior stakeholders across Asia Pacific and Globally.
The UN Resident Coordinator in Bhutan, Gerald Daly, met with the Executive Director of UNFPA, Dr. Natalia Kanem at the Data Literary Workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand from May 23-25. Also seen in the photograph is National Programme Officer of UNFPA in Bhutan, Dechen Chime, National Coordinator of UN Women in Bhutan, Rinzi Pem, and the Chief of Staff of UNFPA, Pio Smith.
Dr. Natalia Kanem said “The average child is also left behind… the middle of the bell curve. Don’t leave the average child behind…” at the workshop.
International Experience from National Colleagues
The Good, The Bad and The Ugly
In recognizing that many national staff working for the United Nations in Bhutan are keen on pursuing international assignment to enhance their career, the Resident Coordinator’s Office took the opportunity to invite two UN national staff who have been on international assignments over a brown bag lunch session to share their experiences with the staff in the IN House on April 6, 2018.
The talk was titled ‘International Experience from National Colleagues; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly.’
The first speaker was Kinlay Penjor. He worked at the UNICEF Bhutan Country Office. Currently he is working as a Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist at the UNICEF Yemen Country Office since September 2014.
The second speaker was Choney Lhazom Wangchuck, currently working as the HR Associate with UNDP Bhutan Country Office. She was on a detailed assignment from September to December in 2017 in Erbil, Iraq working as a HR Analyst.
As a satirical narration on the experiences of the good, the bad and the ugly that stood in their way of personal and professional success took shape, the conversation was followed by a series of questions and answers.
Both the speakers and the audience remained engaged in a very enriching conversation. More minds became open to taking the next big step in their career by taking up an international assignment in their future.
They shared about the various hardship that they faced being away from home in a foreign country where their safety remained a question every single minute of the day. While they did stress on the financial benefits they received to support their family back home, they both agreed that it was an eye-opening experience and that it has helped them grow in every aspect of their lives.
Kinlay Penjor said that fully embracing a career as an international staff also means adopting a certain lifestyle. “It not only affects you but it affects the entire family,” said Kinlay Penjor. “And they may not be always entirely happy about this transition.”
He also highlighted about the huge importance of networking as one of the essential aspects for future job opportunities as an international staff.
Choney Lhazom Wangchuk reminded that one needs to be mentally and physically prepared to be working in a difficult duty station like Iraq where she was at. She advised that being prepared before moving to a new location by reading about the work, place, people, culture and weather helps one to be equipped to face the new environment and manage stress.
The Resident Coordinator of UN in Bhutan, Gerald Daly, visited the Gaeddu College of Business Studies , Samtse College of Education and College of Science and Technology. Attached is the power point presentation on “UN Leadership & Interning in UN Bhutan”
The Resident Coordinator of UN in Bhutan, Gerald Daly, visited project sites in Chhukha and Samtse from April 30 to May 4. During his trip, he visited the Landslide Management (Napa II) works at Rinchending, the Lhop Community, two ECCD centers and the Small Grant Project site Tamangdara in Samtse.
He also visited the Gaeddu College of Business Studies , Samtse College of Education and College of Science and Technology .
The RC also met with the Dzongdas, Dzongrabs and other officials from the two Dzongkhags during his trip.
The Resident Coordinator of UN in Bhutan, Gerald Daly met with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Violence against Children (VAC), Marta Santos Pais on May 8 at the UN House. During their bilateral meeting, they discussed on issues related to violence against children and the way forward for Host Governments and the UN to address these issues.
Marta Santos Pais is currently in Bhutan to attend the 8th Cross-Regional High-Level Round Table on the Prevention and Elimination of Violence against Children. This will build on the recommendations from previous meetings, particularly those on advancing progress towards reaching the VAC-related targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
The upcoming sessions of the High-Level Political Forum1 (HLPF) will provide a strategic milestone to accelerate further progress towards a world free from VAC.
The UN Resident Coordinators Office with the Australian Himalayan Foundation are pleased to present this outline of the executive training programme which will be presented to a group of CSOs from May 20 to 30, 2018 in Bhutan. Please find the complete brochure here. Click CSO workshop brochure
The United Nations in Bhutan would like to join the nation in celebrating His Majesty the Third Druk Gyalpo, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck’s birth anniversary. His Majesty started the planned development process in 1961 and guided Bhutan’s membership in the United Nations in 1971, ensuring the kingdom a place in the international community. #thirddrukgyalpo #47yearsinbhutan #deliveringresultstogether