RC’s Statement at the Launch of the State of the World Population Report 2019


“The image of a shared planet must always be present in our minds – and especially in the minds of those who are in positions of leadership… There is only one starting point to resolve any problem – big or small – that is one’s self. Each one of us must embark upon our personal journey towards the timeless goal of living a good life – being a good human being             – even as we tackle the world’s largest problems.”- His Majesty the King.


Welcome to your UN House

Director General of Department of Medical Services, Dr. Pandup Tshering, representatives from the RGoB, colleagues from the media and the UN.


Today, we are gathered here to launch the State of the World Population Report for 2019. This report tracks barriers that women and girls have faced all over the world in the past 50 years – since UNFPA was established.

The report also shows how governments, CSO’s and international agencies work together to help overcome the barriers.

I would like to congratulate the ministry of health and UNFPA on the launch of the State of the World Population Report for 2019.

UNFPA in Bhutan

This year, UNFPA turns 50 years. UNFPA has been the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe, and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. UNFPA has helped women and young people lead a healthy and productive lives.

UNFPA’s partnership with the RGoB started in the 1970s with its first country program cycle in 1987.

Today, UNFPA is the lead UN agency in providing technical support, knowledge management and policy advocacy to its partners for:

  • Delivery and utilization of quality reproductive health services like maternal health, adolescent sexual reproductive health, HIV/AIDS, gender-based-violence, commodity procurement and supply, health information management.
  • Implementation of life-skills-education including sexuality education.
    • Y-PEER Bhutan concentrates on peer education, comprehensive sexuality education, gender equality and equity other than SRHR and HIV/AIDS. Currently working in 12 colleges…
  • Implementation of domestic violence prevention act and its implementation rules and regulations, monitoring and reporting on concluding observations of international conventions, developing diversified partnership framework and information management system on gender-based-violence.
  • Institutionalizing data management, knowledge generation and sharing on population and development.

On the Report and UN

The State of the World Report (UNFINISHED BUSINESS) is about the barriers that women and girls have faced over the last 50 years ago and the solutions they have found to these barriers.

Gender Inequality: is the foundation of so many obstacles to the rights and choices of women and girls. Child marriage means a lack of schooling greater likelihood of gender-based violence and less choices in life.

The first comprehensive National Survey Report on Violence Against Women and Girls launch during the International Women’s Day this year reveals that two out of every three of women agree that there is gender equality in Bhutan.

The report states that almost one in three, which constitutes, 30 percent, experienced violence like physical, sexual, psychological or economic in the past 12 months.

It has also been found that However, it has also been found that half or all Bhutanese women agreed that it is okay that a man hits his wife under some circumstances, such as when he finds out she is unfaithful or does not take care of the children.

As per the report, the lifetime prevalence of physical violence by husband or partners was highest among the age group between 30 to 34 years, followed by the women aged 50-60 years.

The highest current prevalence of physical violence was among women aged 25 to 29 years followed by women aged 30 to 34 years.

To overcome the imbalance between the size of the problem and the resources dedicated to its solution, the UN, as a global initiative focused on the integration of actions to address Gender-based Violence of all forms, launched the “Bhutan Pilot Project: Addressing Violence Against Women and Children.”

This initiative is a testimony of our commitment to address GBV at the local level. The project will provide the resources to test a comprehensive pilot to demonstrate how the rules and regulations for the Domestic Violence Prevention Act of Bhutan can be put into practice in a well-coordinated way to effectively deliver results at the community level.


Today, it is globally recognized that fulfilling the rights of women and girls is central to development. But if one were to trace the origins of this realization, many threads would lead back to the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo in 1994.

A quarter of a century later, the world has seen remarkable progress. Adolescent births have declined steeply, and the global maternal mortality ratio has fallen. But progress has been slow and uneven. Hundreds of millions of women around the world are still not using modern contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies, and global targets on reducing maternal deaths have not been met.

In November 2019, governments, advocates, health organizations, women’s and youth activists and others will gather in Kenya for the Nairobi Summit. There, they will seek clear commitments that will advance the goals of the ICPD and secure the rights and dignity of all. This will be an important moment in time for the World to review the lessons that have been learned on gender inequality and agree the best path forward to ensure that women and men on our planet are truly treated equally.

In my opening I quoted His Majesty:

There is only one starting point to resolve any problem – big or small – that is one’s self.

In unfinished business there are multiple stories of Champions of change that can inspire anyone:

  1. Lise Marie Dejean
  2. Michelle Bachelet
  3. Sheshkala Pandey


SDG 5:   Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls….People sometimes ask me which SDG is the most important..

 A lot is being done to empower women and narrow down the gender inequality gap. However, the question that we must all ask is, are we doing enough, both at our own individual level and at the executive levels within our ministries and parliament? What more can we all do to achieve this common and important goal to achieve gender equality; not just in papers and in statistics, but in practicality?

How we follow through on women’s empowerment and equity may be one of the most essential aspects of GNH.

As the UN in Bhutan, work for women’s equality and empowerment and we need to do more.

The work we are doing is equipping the next generation of women to outdo us in every field because this is the legacy we wish to leave behind.

I would like to once again congratulate the ministry of health and UNFPA for the successful launch of the State of the World Report 2019.

Please allow me to conclude with a quote from the UN Secretary General, António Guterres as we reflect once again on the greatest obstacle of gender inequality that is highlighted in this report.

“Power is at the heart of the matter.  As we still live in a male-dominated world with male-dominated culture, and until power is fairly shared, the world will remain out of balance.  Gender inequality, discrimination and violence against women harm us all… Gender equality is the unfinished business of our time.  And so, the time is now to change it.”

Kadrinche and Tashi Delek


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