PM hosts reception to mark 50th anniversary Bhutan’s membership to the UN

A limited edition collectible commemorative stamp developed in partnership with Bhutan Post to mark the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the UN was also launched by Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering and UN Resident Representative Gerald Daly on 21 September

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

Coinciding with the day Bhutan was formally admitted as the 128th member of the United Nations (UN) 50 years ago in 1971, Prime Minister, Dr Lotay Tshering hosted a reception on September 21 this week.

The reception marked the culmination of the year-long commemoration of the historic milestone of the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the United Nations.

Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering said that many fear the pandemic because their impacts are immediate and visible, but many of us doesn’t realize that impact of climate change that are equally devastating.

“Both the climate change and pandemic clearly shows that the need for unity and working together by all the nations in the world is very important. Therefore, multilateralism is the only way forward,” he said.

The PM added that going forward it is even more challenging, it is uncertain because of the pandemic; coming out of the pandemic will not be easy for many of us. “Therefore, working together becomes even more necessary. And we will continue to be guided by the His Majesty The King who all know is our hope and is our future.”

Lyonchhen shared the major achievement after formally admitting Bhutan as the members of the UN. The Lyonchhen said that in 1971, Bhutan was midway to a Third Five Year Plan with barely Nu 500-million and today the budget outlay is reach almost to Nu 330-billion.  

Back in 1971, domestic revenue was hardly seven percent of the outlay. And today, the domestic revenue is almost 70 percent of the total outlay.

“Bhutan was governed by hardly 4,600 civil servants then and now Bhutan has about 52,000 civil servants. And literacy rate back then was hardly to 20 percent and now we have it 71 percent and life expectancy rate has increased to 71 years from 40 years in 1971.”

Lyonchhen said we have come a long way and thanks to all the development partners who are being with us until now.

Meanwhile, senior representatives of the government including members of the Cabinet, Parliament, Government Secretaries, and members of the UN-Bhutan Country Team, members of the diplomatic community, and development partners as well as former Permanent Representatives of Bhutan to the UN attended the event.

During the reception, a limited edition collectible commemorative stamp developed in partnership with Bhutan Post to mark the 50th anniversary of Bhutan’s membership to the UN was also launched.

Along with that, a Coffee Table Book titled “Reflections and Beyond-50 years of Bhutan and the UN ” was also launched. The book contains a large collection of photographs and written contributions from notable individuals who have played a role in shaping Bhutan’s journey with the UN.

His Royal Highness Paro Penlop Prince Namgyel Wangchuck, who led Bhutan”s first delegation to the UN in 1971, has graciously provided the foreword for the Book.

Further, the eight winners of the national youth essay competition were also formally recognized during the reception. The nationwide essay competition was launched in February of this year, under the theme of “50 years of partnership: Bhutan and the UN for a better future”.

It was open to all Bhutanese youth between the ages of 14 to 24 with entries accepted in Dzongkha or English.

In addition, a documentary chronicling Bhutan’s journey with the UN was screened for the first time at the reception.

As a special gesture, representatives from the Office of the Gyalpoi Zimpon delivered a celebratory cake from His Majesty The King for all guests attending the event.