NGAWANG JAMPHEL | Thimphu
Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering addressed the Fifth United Nations (UN) Conference on Least Developed Country (LDC) in Doha, Qatar on 4 March.
The PM shared the journey of Bhutan toward graduation ever since becoming a member of the UN in 1971.
He emphasized that under the dynamic leadership of His Majesty the King, Bhutan is set to graduate from the category this year. “Our leaders and predecessors have worked very hard and played their part to build Bhutan we have today.”
He added that the COVID-19 pandemic taught Bhutan that our fates, well-being, and successes are interlinked. He said it is only through collective action that we can ensure more LDCs are on the path of sustainable graduation and leave LDC status behind us.
“We have also been guided by the development philosophy of Gross National Happiness, ensuring 72 percent of the country is under forest cover and maintaining inter-generational equity of the country’s natural resources. For this reason, we are a carbon-negative country today and we intend to remain so for all times to come,” said the PM.
While addressing the gathering he also said that the GNH philosophy always helped Bhutan stay on track for sustainable growth by preserving traditional values and environmental conservation, while pursuing balanced economic growth.
Lyonchhen underpinned that all LDCs must put in their efforts and not rely on the UN altogether as graduation is a reward and not a punishment
The PM said that although Bhutan still faces several last-mile challenges that have been further worsened by global disruptions like the pandemic, international conflicts, climate change hazards (poly-crisis), and food crises Bhutan aspires to graduate from the LDC category.
In the new chapter that Bhutan seeks to rewrite, Lyonchhen said that Bhutan requires the continued support of development partners more than ever to ensure that Bhutan’s graduation is sustainable and irreversible.
“We need more targeted interventions for our unique challenges,” he said.
He added that policies like India’s “neighbourhood first” have visibly made a difference in taking us on board for important programs and initiatives.
The PM said that he seeks suggestions, ideas, and proposals that will help Bhutan sustain the LDC graduation and achieve mutually beneficial economic goals. He added that the upcoming National Development Plan, the 13th Five Plan, focuses on taking Bhutan into a high-income nation in a decade’s time.
He also talked about the country’s major initiative reforms in all public sectors and gave a huge focus on education in Bhutan and the recent launch of the National Digital Identity system under the guidance of His Majesty The King, the first of its kind in the country.
The PM also conveyed the greetings of His Majesty The King, Her Majesty The Queen, and the people of Bhutan to all the esteemed members present at the conference.
This year’s UN conference on LDC goes by the theme ‘From Potential to Prosperity’ where world leaders will gather with the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians, and young people to advance new ideas, raise new pledges of support, and spur delivery on agreed commitments, through the Doha Programme of Action.
At the Conference, it is expected that specific initiatives and concrete deliverables will be announced that will address LDC-specific challenges, including the climate crisis and environmental degradation.
PM addresses 5th UN Conference on LDCs in Doha
NGAWANG JAMPHEL | Thimphu