The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and External Trade and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) celebrated the 50 years of Bhutan-UNDP partnership today. The celebration was marked by 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 the civil society and private sector.
Gracing the occasion as the Chief Guest, Hon’ble Lyonpo (Dr.) Tandi Dorji underlined that Bhutan has made major strides in our development under our exemplary leaders in the last 50 years and that UNDP has been a steadfast partner in our development journey. Hon’ble Lyonpo thanked the UNDP family for their contributions to Bhutan’s development.
UNDP Resident Representative Mr. 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 Bhutan-UNDP partnership.
Mr. Younus emphasised that the 50th anniversary is not only a time to celebrate past achievements but also to work towards deepening our partnership for an even brighter future. “As Bhutan, guided by His Majesty, undergoes a series of historic transformation, 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.
The partnership between Bhutan and UNDP began in 1973, following Bhutan’s membership to the UN in September 1971. A general agreement was signed on 21 February 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.