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Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay addresses the UNGA (Photo: Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations)
Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay addresses the UNGA (Photo: Permanent Mission of Bhutan to the United Nations)

Our wellbeing is at stake: PM

Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay on 22 September at New York in United States highlighted the need to combat climate change, eradicate poverty and terrorism.

Prime Minister said that as a landlocked mountainous country, Bhutan is vulnerable to the effects of climate change. “That’s why we are particularly alarmed by unchecked environmental degradation, the root cause of climate change.”

He urged countries present in Paris agreement to fulfil their commitments towards tackling climate change. “The urgency is now. Our wellbeing is at stake. The survival of future generations is at risk.”

He said that 72 percent of Bhutan is under forest cover. “We are the world’s only carbon neutral country. In fact, we are a carbon negative country.” He added that the country generates and exports clean renewable electricity, and invest in green industries, and organic farming practices.

Prime Minister reaffirmed Bhutan’s commitment to work with member states to ensure that the United Nations (UN) continues to play an instrumental role in fighting climate change, eradicating poverty, and maintaining global peace and prosperity.

Prime Minister said that Bhutan for Life in partnership with World Wildlife Fund is an innovative financing mechanism, which would help safeguard rich biodiversity until government can assume the full cost of the protection. “Fighting climate change is complex and it is expensive.”

He said that multidimensional poverty had reduced by half. “We are well on our way to reduce it still further, to five percent, within the next few years.”

He added that eradication of poverty, like climate change, is also complex and expensive. “According to one estimate, it would take only USD 175 billion per year to end extreme poverty. That should come as good news, as that is barely 0.32 percent of the current global GDP.”

While addressing on the issue of terrorism, Prime Minister said that Bhutan’s military and police officers serve in 11 peacekeeping missions.

He said that global peace and security is a shared concern and responsibility. “The horrific acts committed by terrorist groups undermine global peace and security, and Bhutan joins the call for united action to combat these extremists.”

Prime Minister expressed Bhutan’s support for the UN Secretary General’s reform initiatives which would ensure that the organisation is enabled to meet the demands of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

Rinchen Zangmo

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