Country Programme Board Meeting

Honorable Co-chair – Dasho Thinley, Honourable Secretaries, Colleagues.


  • Let me join the Honorable Secretary of the Gross National Happiness Commission in extending to all of you a very warm welcome to the 4th UN Bhutan Country Programme Board meeting. The fact that we are gathered here from many Government offices and UN agencies is evidence of our joint commitment to ensuring that the support of the UN System to the realization of national development priorities is coherent, effective and efficient.
  • I would like to extend, on behalf of the entire UN Country Team, our sincere appreciation for the participation of the Government Board members and all implementing partners. In particular, I would like to thank FAO, Somsak Pipoppinyo, who travelled from Kathmandu for this meeting. Unfortunately, UNFPA Diego Palacios (who had come for this meeting from Delhi) was called away urgently.
  • I also wish to thank all who have worked so hard over recent weeks and especially over the last year on ensuring we the UN are aligned with the needs and expectations of the RGoB. This would not have ben possible without the hard work of Outcome leads, Outcome members, the PME Chair and its members and colleagues in my own office. This is our commitment to accountability.

Objective of the CPB

At the outset, it is useful to remind ourselves that the objective of the Country Programme Board, is to:

  • Ensure the smooth implementation of the One Programme 2014-2018;
  • Review the major accomplishments and take stock of the lessons learnt in 2017; and
  • Briefly look at key activities of the 2018 annual work plans; which we will also sign today.

Furthermore, we will provide an update on the UNSDPF (United Nations Sustainable Development Partners Framework) for the UN and the 12th Five Year Plan for the RGoB,; we will briefly discuss ‘Lessons Learned’ from the One Programme and ‘Way Forward’ for the next UNSDPF and 12th FYP in sessions three and four. In that discussion I would urge us all to search for additional ways to reduce transaction costs of the RGoB working with the UN.

2017 Accomplishments

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen

We made great progress in 2017. This will be presented throughout the morning session. In addition, we have circulated a summary handout for your information. However, let me emphasize following achievements;

Significant Outcome Accomplishments:

I don’t wish to duplicate what will be said in these forthcoming session but there are 3 products-results we achieved in 2017 that I was to raise to your attention:

  1. Knowledge Attitudes and Practices study on children with disability;
  2. Vulnerability Baseline Assessment of 14 most vulnerable groups;
  3. And Disaster Management Preparedness Plan.

These are just some of the analytical and critical results achieved by the UN in 2017 which ensure key policies (often of a social nature) and support to the RGOB are systematically advanced while ensuring we the UN keep a strong focus on Leaving No One Behind – which is the backbone of the work we do here in Bhutan.

Joint Programme Accomplishments

This year was also successful in terms of our Joint works, especially following three joint programmes;

  1. SDGs, Data, Support to the 12th Five Year led by UNDP, UNICEF, WFP, and UN Women. Through this programme, we have supported the RGoB in:
    1. High integration of SDGs to National Key Result Areas,
    2. Completion of Data Ecosystem Mapping and development of the SDGs and
    3. 12th Five Year Plan Advocacy and Communications Strategy

This work is a great springboard for our next 5 years and Outcome #1 of the UNSDPF.

  1. Emergency Preparedness and Response led by WHO, UNDP, WFP, and UNICEF. Through this programme,
    1. We organized a multi-stakeholder consultation workshop in Paro in August 2017 which received more than 100 participants from across Bhutan including ministries, autonomous agencies, military, development partners and His Majesty’s Secretariat and next week at a meeting led by DDM it will be on the last lap towards finalization of RGOB-UN Contingency Plan for Earthquakes.
    2. We also are supporting the RGoB on resource mobilization for disaster preparedness.
    3. Given that Thimphu is forecasted to reach a population of 200,000 within 10 year, this is practical preparedness.
  2. Disability led by UNICEF, UNDP and WHO. Through this programme,
    1. We succeeded mobilizing USD 400,000 from The United Nations Partnership on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNPRPD), will help advance the rights of people with disabilities in Bhutan.

In addition to those joint programmes, the UN in Bhutan has been jointly working on capacity enhancement of the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) through Bhutan Dialogues and capacity enhancement workshop for CSOs especially on their resource mobilization capacity.

Let me take this opportunity to thank the leads and members of these Joint Programmes.

Way Forward and Closing

Going forward, I am happy to share two important issues with the CPB.

  • One is about the UN Secretary General’s proposal for the UN Repositioning. The SG is convinced that good development requires us to work together to address the SDG challenges that exist in a country. This means UN agencies are required to work more coherently and National Ownership is a prime cornerstone of all our work.
  • The second is about the formulation of the UNSDPF. The United Nations has been working closely with the RGoB and other stakeholders in developing the UN’s five-year strategic plan, UN Sustainable Development Partnership Framework (UNSDPF) to contribute to the RGoB’s 12th Five Year Plan goals and targets. In 2017 we collaborated to understand the changes and work the UN will do the “Last Mile’ towards LDC graduation. I would like to sincerely thank all those partners who took the time to think this through with us – to develop the logical backbone for the next UNSDPF. The Common Country Analysis that we together generated as part of the UNSDPF process considers Government priorities, demographic shifts, capacity needs, comparative advantages and the shifting development finance landscape. Each of these elements represent a change in Bhutan, and each will inform our direction. For example, we clearly know how important it is to:
    • undertake innovative financing;
    • to undertake Capacity building that truly builds long-term capacity;
    • to run back-offices that are most efficient – so we can plough the savings we achieve back into the programmes that the vulnerable people of this country deserve.
    • to help the most vulnerable, those who are most likely to be left behind as the economy grows and develops.
  • Finally, we in the UN know that this will all be done in partnership with the RGoB and Civil Society, Bhutan academic institutions (and increasingly with the Bhutanese private sector).
  • The results achieved in 2017 demonstrated what can be achieved through close collaboration and hard work. The focus on results will remain through 2018 and also through the UNSDPF (in support of the RGoB 12th Plan).

The UN is more than the sum of these outcomes and results that have been achieved in 2017; not least because the NRAs and Regional Commission (ESCAP) are not fully captured. We the UN also bring the technical and substantive depth of our Regional Offices and of the various UN HQs around the world to support our work here in Bhutan.

As UN Representatives and staff we are both grateful and committed to the relationship with the RGoB and we want to always strive to raise our game: “Never be shy about giving us frank feedback.”

Thank you and Tashi Delek.

Address by Gerald Daly, UN Resident Coordinator

Date: February 9, 2018

Venue:  National Assembly Conference Hall, Thimphu, Bhutan

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