“The highest achievement of one hundred years of Monarchy has been the constant nurturing of Democracy. This has culminated with the first sitting of Parliament and the start of Democracy, where my father the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and I, hereby, return to our people the powers that had been vested in our kings by our forefathers one hundred years ago. We do so with absolute faith and confidence, offer our complete support and prayers for the success of Democracy.” – His Majesty the King.
“As we look to the future, I want to impress upon you three words that come to my mind – Evolve, Adapt, and Upgrade…Going forward, we are going to grow old together, and move into the future as one family. We are all on the same path, our goals, objectives and dreams, and our future are the same, and we have to work together for it. Let’s hope that wherever we reach is a good place.”- His Majesty the King.
“When we look at the future, we see the world in a state of ominous uncertainty. Human activities have led to imbalance in nature and ecological shifts that cause growing problems like climate change and natural calamities.”– His Majesty the King.
“The rights to freedom of information, expression and of the media enshrined in the Constitution are fundamental to democracy. In our small nation, media can be even more effective in encouraging debate and participation, vital to building a vibrant democracy.”- His Majesty the King
RC’s statement for International Day against Drug Abuse & Illicit Trafficking (June 26, 2018 at Paro)
“An estimated 68 percent of the people who use drugs and substances get them from their peers and another 16 percent get drugs and substances through cross border exchange. Cannabis users account for 72 percent of the total number of drug users in Bhutan.”– Bhutan Vulnerability Baseline Assessment, 2016 by Gross National Happiness Commission and United Nations in Bhutan.
Your Excellency Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, Minister for Health. Dasho Phuntsho Wangdi, Director General of Bhutan Narcotics Control Agency. Dashos, principals, school counselors. Ladies and Gentlemen.
The International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking was established by the United Nations General Assembly to strengthen global action and cooperation.
The international community continues to face many problems that stand in the way of achieving the aim of a world without drug abuse. There is the opioid crisis and other urgent drug use problems, compounded by gaps in health and social services that leave far too many people without the help they need; illicit drug cultivation and trafficking; related crime and violence, and linkages with development challenges, conflict and terrorism.
But as daunting as these problems are, all of us can do our part and take action. Policy makers first and foremost, but also concerned citizens, parents, teachers and engaged young people – we can work together to prevent substance abuse, and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals and ensure that no one is left behind.
We at the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) are committed to working with you to advance balanced, people-centred and holistic approaches to drug challenges, fully in line with the universal drug control conventions.
“Listen First”, the theme of this year’s International Day, is a UNODC initiative to increase support for prevention of drug use that is based on science.
Research suggests that early-to late adolescence is a critical risk period for the initiation of substance use. By breaking the chain of social, neurobiological and psychological factors and inequalities that can increase susceptibility to drug use disorders, we can help young people to grow up healthy and safe.
When we are talking about the lives and futures of the next generation, prevention is truly better than cure.
By listening to the needs of children and young people, prevention can contribute to their safety, health and well-being, and enable them realize their potential. All our societies would be better off if more resources were devoted to supporting evidence-based drug prevention strategies, which are a sound and effective investment in families, schools and communities.
The police reported that more than 98% of the arrest related to drugs were youth The World Health Organization’s report (2017) on mental health status of adolescent in South-East Asia reports Bhutan to have the highest number of adolescents currently using marijuana at 12 percent among the 11 countries in the WHO South-East Asia region.
This year, in just two months (January to mid- March), 27 drug traffickers and 71 drug abusers were caught by the police in Thimphu alone. These numbers are quite alarming for a small population.
The United Nations in Bhutan is of the view that the most effective way to prevent substance abuse among adolescents and youth is to enhance their participation and engagement in social and civic life.
The UN has developed a framework for harmonized approach and communication among relevant agencies to address issues related to use of alcohol and other drugs among youth in Bhutan.
A Child Protection in Emergencies manual has also been developed to facilitate school counsellors and youth volunteers in providing better psychosocial support to children during emergencies.
The UN with partner agencies provide life skills training for young people (both in and out-of-school) focusing on vulnerable youth and skills development on drug education and livelihood skills for recovering clients/staff.
Youth Networks – to accelerate services to youth in regional and national level, various youth networks have been set up in different districts across Bhutan.
As a part of a global leader to fight against illicit drugs and international crime, the United Nations, collaborated in organizing a training on preventing drug overdose by building capacities of health care professionals and organized a workshop on promoting the implementation of the Trafficking Protocol and the Smuggling Protocol.
What are the action that are needed?
The Bhutan Vulnerability Baseline Assessment, 2016 by Gross National Happiness Commission and United Nations in Bhutan recommends full and effective implementation of the Multi-sectoral National Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-communicable diseases (2015-2020). The action plan involves a multi-sectoral approach and will need strong coordination and mobilization of adequate funds to implement the action plan.
There is a need to increase the number of rehabilitation centers and develop short-term activities and skills trainings which can be used to constructively engage individuals coming in for counseling and rehabilitation.
We must strengthen the number of skilled and qualified counselors by developing a short-term course on ‘counseling and rehabilitation therapy.’
We also need to engage those seeking counseling and rehabilitation support as peer counselors and role models who can work in the community and reduce the incidence of substance use. These peer counselors can also help with post rehabilitation support for others.
The Child Care and Protection Act, 2011 is the paramount Act for children, hence, a further review of existing laws while trying persons under 18 years who are accused of carrying or consumption of banned substances is recommended.
During His Majesty’s speech graduates on their convocation, His Majesty emphasized on five extraordinary qualities that defines the Bhutanese. These are five extraordinary qualities that you possess.
The acronym for these extraordinary qualities of the Bhutanese people- Sincerity, Mindfulness, Astuteness, Resilience, and Timelessness- is SMART. Bhutan has always been a smart nation. That is why we must continue to build smart institutions, and that is why it is imperative that our people remain smart. We must nurture these wonderful qualities and remember every day, how they have defines us as a nation and as a people. We must remember that these qualities will help us navigate the 21st century and build an even better place. Our country has an extremely bright future and that future is in your hands.
Our efforts to promote development and fight drugs and crime will be more effective if they are rooted in partnerships with the youth, civil society organizations, government ministries and the international community.
I would like to conclude by urging each one of us, the next time you come in contact with a friend, partner, relative, or anyone else who might be struggling with addiction. ‘Sem Ghi Hingley Ngyen Go.’ Compassionate listening is powered by generosity. It is a virtue we can grow so it becomes instinctive. It has a vulnerability because its willing to be surprised, even sometimes, a willingness to change our minds we want to understand the humanity of the other through their words. As far as I can see, it is a cornerstone for compassion.
Kardrinche and Tashi Delek
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
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”
“There cannot be enduring peace, prosperity, equality and brotherhood in this world if our aims are so separate and divergent, if we do not accept that in the end we are people, all alike, sharing the Earth among ourselves and also with other sentient beings, all of whom have an equal role and stake in the state of this planet and its players.”- His Majesty Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
Your Excellency, Lyonchhen Dasho Tshering Tobgay, Honourable Prime Minister of Bhutan, Lyonpo Tandin Wangchuk, Honourbale Minister for Health, Lyonpo Lekey Dorji, Honourable Minister Economic Affairs, Dashos, Representatives of the business community and beneficiary representatives of communities from Dagala, Lingshi and Langthel Communities and gewogs, Ladies and Gentlemen.
Bhutan has been fortunate to have visionary leaders who have tirelessly advocated and demonstrated global leadership on the importance of environment conservation. The outstanding diversity of flora and fauna in Bhutan demonstrates the timeless value attached to the environment. By enshrining in the Constitution of Bhutan a forest cover of 60% for all times to come every Bhutanese is a trustee of the Kingdom.
Globally, over-harvesting species for food and medicine is a major driver in biodiversity collapse and extinctions. It is estimated that about 15,000 medicinal plants are threatened by extinction. On March 20th this year, World mourned the death of the last surviving male northern white rhino in Kenya.
In contrast, Bhutan has been a leader with its rich biodiversity, but as we know, it is threatened by a number of factors such as: overharvesting of natural resources; transformation from a subsistence economy to a consumer-based economy; competitive land uses for urbanization and infrastructure development; poaching along the porous borders; human-wildlife conflicts as a result of crop and livestock depredation by wildlife; and climate change exacerbating the risks of forest fire, pests and diseases.
69% of the population live in the rural areas subsisting on an integrated farm-based livelihood system that combines crop agriculture, livestock rearing, and use of a wide range of forest products. The strong culture of ethno-botanical uses, even to this day, remain significant, and rural communities have vast stores of traditional knowledge on the use of more than 200 species of medicinal plants that exist in the country.
It is against this backdrop that the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were adopted in September 2015 by the United Nations General Assembly, setting ambitious objectives to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet, and ensure health, education, and prosperity for all.
To counter the various threats to biodiversity, Bhutan has in place various strategies supported both by policy and legal instruments. The access to genetic resources and benefit sharing mechanism supported through this project (which is often called ABS) is just one example of innovative approachss to compliment the ongoing efforts of the Royal Government of Bhutan. The ABS mechanism puts “people” both at the center of conservation efforts by ensuring economic benefits.
UNDP is, therefore, pleased to partner with the National Biodiversity Centre (NBC), Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Menjong Sorig Pharmaceuticals Corporation Limited and Bio Bhutan to develop a national ABS framework and strengthen national capacity in bio-prospecting through the financial support of the Nagoya Protocol Implementation Fund.
Brief overview of the Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project
As many of you are aware the Access to Genetic Resources and Benefit Sharing (ABS) project started its implementation in 2014, focusing on key areas of support:
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
At this juncture, I would like to congratulate the NBC, MSPCL and Bio Bhutan for developing nine nature based products: such as anti-wrinkle cream, balm, liniment, massage oil, perfume, soaps, and hand sanitizer to support sustainable livelihoods of the communities of Zedokha, Namthar, Lingshi and Dagala. The launch of the products today is an important addition to the Brand Bhutan initiative and most importantly, it sets the carbon neutral development objective very much into motion. This work is also an critical value add to the important tourism sector we have here in Bhutan. It’s great to see members of the Private sector here today and engaging with their support.
In conclusion, the ABS project is very special to UNDP as it is a first of its kind in supporting the Government, private sector and local communities to develop nature based products through the sustainable use of the country’s rich biological resources.
For UNDP, this means growth and development are inclusive and sustainable. It also means incorporating productive capacities that create employment and livelihoods for the poor and vulnerable people of Bhutan.
We are privileged to partner with the Government and people of Bhutan in achieving this success.
Gross National Happiness embodies a strong commitment to realizing the equal rights of all, including those less privileged. Bhutan’s concept of GNH is a leading example of the progress that we have made towards the goal of ‘leaving no one behind’.
Projects like this enables people to empower themselves with innovative ideas for income generation opportunities through sustainable harvesting, domestication and commercialization of wild plants and biological resources. The project has also renewed the appreciation of people to the natural environment, reinforcing the benefit of biodiversity conservation.
UNDP will continue to partner with the Royal Government of Bhutan through its ongoing and pipeline projects for sustainable management, restoration and equitable benefits sharing of biodiversity and ecosystems to support local, national and global food security to help the achievement of SDGs goals. We look forward to doing so in close collaboration with all our partners as we know that such partnership is at the heart of sustainable development.
Kadinchey and Tashi Delek!
Statement by Mr. Gerald Daly, UN Resident Co-ordinator/Resident Representative, UNDP
April 5, 2018
“It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of the village.” How true are the words of the famous ‘child whisperer’ Coach Elaine Hall.
Parents and families of special children, Chairperson of ABS Board of Trustees Dasho Kunzang Wangdi, distinguished guests, ABS Partners, CSO Colleagues, volunteers, ladies and gentlemen.
SG’s Message Secretary-General António Guterres
Empowering women and girls with Autism
UN’s global observance on World Autism Awareness Day
UN Support to Bhutan
Kadinchey and Tashi Delek
Statement by Mr. Gerald Daly, UN Resident Co-ordinator
April 2, 2018