United Nations and related organizations
Universal Postal Union (UPU)
Bhutan became a member of UPU in 1969. The membership enhanced the country’s communication and engagement with the rest of the world, and also within the country. Bhutan has received support from the Union in the form of technical assistance, capacity development, access to information technology systems, and project tied assistance have been instrumental in enabling Bhutan to meet its universal service obligation in providing postal services to the most remote parts of the country, introduce new services as well as to continuously improve the quality of these services.
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
Bhutan became a member of UNCTAD in 1971. UNCTAD has provided capacity building, advisory services in the areas of macroeconomic situations, consumer awareness and investments. UNCTAD also provided technical advice on Bhutan’s graduation from LDC category.
Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
Bhutan became a member of ESCAP in 1972. Bhutan’s engagement with ESCAP constitute the following areas: Sustainable Development, Macroeconomic Policy and Development, Trade and Investment, Transport, Social Development, Environment and Development, Information and Communications Technology, Disaster Risk Reduction, Statistics and Sub-regional activities for development.
International Fund for Agriculture and Development (IFAD)
Bhutan became a member of IFAD in 1978. Engagement with IFAD constitutes empowering poor rural people to achieve greater food security and higher incomes, while ensuring environmental sustainability.
International Monetary Fund (IMF)
Bhutan became a member of IMF in 1981. The IMF’s primary mission is to ensure the stability of the international monetary system—the system of exchange rates and international payments that enables countries and their citizens to transact with each other.
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Bhutan became a member of FAO in 1981. FAO’s support to Bhutan is focused mainly on two areas – sustainable forest management and food security, including food quality and safety. Increased food production was supported by projects that built the capacities of Bhutanese officials and farmers, and encouraged the rational use of fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Operational and management plans, information generation, and forest classifications were developed for the forestry sector. International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC). The IPPC is a multilateral treaty overseen by FAO. It has been signed by over 180 countries, including Bhutan in 1994.
World Health Organization (WHO)
Bhutan became a member of WHO in 1982. The WHO’s broad mandate includes advocating for universal healthcare, monitoring public health risks, coordinating responses to health emergencies, and promoting human health and well being. It provides technical assistance to countries, sets international health standards and guidelines, and collects data on global health issues through the World Health Survey.
United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Bhutan became a member of UNESCO in 1982. UNESCO develops educational tools to help people live as global citizens free of hate and intolerance. UNESCO works to enable greater access to quality education. By promoting cultural heritage and the equal dignity of all cultures, the organization strengthens bonds among nations. Further, it fosters scientific programmes and policies as platforms for development and cooperation, and helps countries adopt international standards and manages programmes that foster the free flow of ideas and knowledge sharing.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)
Bhutan became a member of UNIDO in 1983. In Bhutan, UNIDO has supported the development of the private sector and job creation for youth and women in rural and urban communities, in addition to the promotion of renewable energy.
Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD
Bhutan became a member of the Trade and Development Board of UNCTAD in 1985.
International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
Bhutan became a member of ITU in 1988. ITU facilitates international connectivity in communications networks through the allocation of global radio spectrum and satellite orbits, development of technical standards to ensure seamless connection of networks and technologies and improved access to ICTs to underserved communities worldwide.
World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Bhutan became a member of WIPO in 1994.
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
Bhutan became a member of WMO in 2003.
World Tourism Organization (WTO)
Bhutan became a member of UNWTO in 2003.
Other International Organizations
Non-Aligned Movement (NAM)
Bhutan joined the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on 5 September 1973 at the 4th Summit Conference of Heads of State or Government of the Non-Aligned Movement from 5-9 Sep 1973 in Algiers, Algeria. NAM is an alliance of states that consider themselves not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. Bhutan regularly participates in the Summit and Ministerial Meetings. Bhutan is also a member of the NAM Centre for Science and Technology.
Bhutan became a member of the World Bank in 1981.Its operation in Bhutan commenced in 1983. Today, the Bank’s work touches sectors that are important to fighting poverty, supporting economic growth, and ensuring sustainable gains in the quality of people’s lives in developing countries.
International Development Association (IDA)
Bhutan joined the International Development Association (IDA) in 1981.
International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI)
Bhutan became a member of INTOSAI in 1987.
International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO)
Bhutan became a member of ICAO in 1989. ICAO maintains an administrative and expert bureaucracy supporting diplomacy and cooperation in air transport, and to research new air transport policy and standardization innovations as directed and endorsed by governments through the ICAO Assembly, or by the ICAO Council which the assembly elects.
World Organization for Animal Health (OIE)
Bhutan became a member of OIE in 1990.
Global Environment Facility (GEF)
Bhutan became a member of GEF in 1995. Bhutan is a member of a constituency comprising the following countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka.GEF is a financial facility to promote international cooperation and finance actions to address four critical threats to the global environment: biodiversity loss, climate change, degradation of international waters, and ozone depletion.
World Customs Organization (WCO)
Bhutan became a member of WCO in 2002.
International Finance Corporation (IFC)
Bhutan became a member of IFC in 2003.
International Standard Organization (ISO)
Bhutan became a Correspondent Member of ISO in 2005.
International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
Bhutan joined the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) in 2005.
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Bhutan joined IUCN in 2011.
Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)
Bhutan became a member of the IPU in 2013.
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)
Bhutan became a member of IRENA in 2016.
International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
The Bhutan Red Cross Society (BRCS) was formally admitted as a member to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in December 2019.
Multilateral and related organizations
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Bhutan became a member of ADB in 1982. ADB’s partnership has been focused on programs and projects in energy, transport, finance, and urban development.
Asia Pacific Postal Union (APPU)
Bhutan became a member of APPU in 1982.
Asia Pacific Telecommunity (APT)
Bhutan became a member of APT in 1998.
UN Agencies in Bhutan
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
UNDP started its assistance programme in Bhutan in 1973. A formal agreement was signed between the then Resident Representative of the UNDP in India and the then Representative of Bhutan in India on 14th July 1978, which superceded the various agreements signed earlier in 1973. The cooperation was strengthened further with the establishment of the field office of the UNDP in Thimphu on 14th May, 1979.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
The co-operation between UNICEF and the Royal Government of Bhutan started in 1974 when a Plan of Operations was formulated for an inter-related programme of services to children and women.
World Food Programme (WFP)
WFP assistance to Bhutan started in 1976. Initially the assistance was focused on seven priority areas of economic and social development, viz. health, education, agriculture, irrigation, cereal price stabilization scheme, roads, suspension bridges and mule track construction. However, WFP today is involved in the school feeding programme with the Ministry of Education and improving the School Agriculture Programme with the Ministry of Agriculture. Since 1982, the Food Corporation of Bhutan has been entrusted with the handling, storage and distribution of WFP food commodities in the country.
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
The Royal Government approached the UNFPA to assist Bhutan in the field of population and family welfare programme. This led to signing of an agreement between the Royal Government and UNFPA in 1979. Following this agreement UNFPA has been providing assistance since 1981 in the form of both financial and technical assistance.
World Health Organization (WHO)
The operations of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Bhutan at the country level started in September, 1983 with the establishment of the WHO office in Thimphu. WHO has provided continuous support to the Ministry of Health that includes a wide variety of areas in support of public health in Bhutan. In the past support concentrated on programmes such as immunizations and the control of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and malaria. With the successful reduction in infant, child and maternal mortality in the recent past the WHO’s work focus has expanded to providing technical support in health system strengthening, prevention of non-communicable diseases and preparedness for health emergencies arising from natural disaster and disease outbreaks. WHO plays an active role in shaping the health component of the UN development assistance framework for Bhutan, partnering closely with other UN agencies through delivery as one approach adopted by the UN System in Bhutan, to further improvements in health outcomes in the country.
The FAO Representative Office was opened in the capital, Thimphu, in April 1985. However, FAO had been providing development assistance to Bhutan since 1972. FAO support to the country grew and expanded with the establishment of the country office.