…Bhutan has made major strides in development under our exemplary leaders in the last 50 years, and UNDP has been a steadfast partner in this development journey.
By Tshering Dorji
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade (MoFAET) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) celebrated 50 years of Bhutan-UNDP partnership on Friday. The celebration involved lighting a thousand butter lamps at the Memorial Chorten and a reception showcasing key milestones. The events were attended by ministers, secretaries, senior government officials, development partners, representatives from civil society, and the private sector.
Gracing the occasion, Lyonpo Dasho Dr. Tandi Dorji, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade, highlighted that Bhutan has made major strides in development under the exemplary leadership of our leaders in the last 50 years, with UNDP being a steadfast partner in this journey. Lyonpo thanked the UNDP family for their contributions to Bhutan’s development.
Lyonpo stated, “Under the exemplary leadership of Their Majesties the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and His Majesty The King, we have made major strides in our development in the last 50 years, encompassing various crucial areas such as climate action, poverty reduction, human resources development, infrastructure, and connectivity. Today, we stand proud as a responsible and credible member of the international community.”
“As we look back on the milestones of our partnership, let us also cast our eyes towards the future. These last few years have tested our resolve and exposed the fragility of our development gains. There is much to be done to ensure that Bhutan is able to meet the multifaceted challenges it is faced with today. Efforts need to be accelerated on all fronts, and we hope that our trusted development partners such as UNDP will be responsive to our evolving needs,” added Lyonpo.
UNDP Resident Representative, Mohammad Younus, expressed sincere appreciation and gratitude to the Royal Government and the people of Bhutan, international development partners, and the UN family whose close collaboration and support contributed to the success of the Bhutan-UNDP partnership.
Younus emphasized that over fifty incredible years, their partnership continued to grow stronger, covering a range of areas within the framework of inclusive, resilient, and sustainable development. It has been a partnership that has touched the lives of many Bhutanese across the country. “As Bhutan, guided by His Majesty, undergoes a series of historic transformations and prepares to rollout the 13th Five-Year Plan and proudly mark its graduation from LDC status soon, UNDP will continue to remain a trusted development partner of Bhutan,” the Resident Representative added.
Lyonpo said, “This year will mark another important milestone as Bhutan graduates from the Least Developed Countries category. Without a doubt, we can say that this would not have been possible without the valuable support of UNDP, along with our many key partners.”
The partnership between Bhutan and UNDP began in 1973, following Bhutan’s membership in the UN in September 1971. A general agreement was signed on February 21, 1973, marking the start of formal development cooperation between RGoB and UNDP. The partnership was further consolidated through the establishment of the UNDP office in Thimphu in 1979.
The long-standing partnership between UNDP and Bhutan began in the areas of human resource development, tourism, and energy sectors. Over the years, the partnership grew and diversified to include poverty reduction, environment and biodiversity conservation, climate change, and disaster risk reduction.
Recent milestones include the country’s first grid-tied, ground-mounted 180 kW solar power plant in Wangdue Phodrang and strengthening of the electric vehicle ecosystem.