Coinciding with the United Nations Day celebration yesterday, Her Majesty the Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck was presented with an award in recognition for Her Majesty’s role as the Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nation Population Fund (UNFPA) for the past two decades.
Dr Natalia Kanem, Under Secretary General and executive director of UNFPA presented the award.
Dr Kanem acknowledged the contributions by Her Majesty and for being a driving force behind UNFPA’s advocacy efforts in the country.
She also commended Her Majesty for being a strong role model for women and girls in Bhutan and travelling to remote villages of the country to raise awareness on issues ranging from safe motherhood to sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.
“Her Majesty’s deep investment in the progress of Bhutan has made a huge difference to the work UNFPA is trying to achieve in this country – that is zero unmet need for family planning, zero preventable maternal deaths and zero instances of gender-based violence and harmful practices,” she said.
With Her Majesty at the helm of UNFPA’s advocacy efforts, Dr Kanem said that Bhutan would show the way to the rest of the world. “We truly value the partnership and we reaffirm our unwavering commitment to continue standing and walking side by side with the government of Bhutan until we reach the last mile and no one is left behind.”
Her Majesty became the Goodwill Ambassador of UNFPA in January 1999.
Since then, Her Majesty has led numerous advocacy programmes on HIV/AIDS, reproductive, sexual and mental health throughout the country.
Her Majesty also established a civil society organisation, Respect, Educate, Nurture, and Empower Women (RENEW) in 2004, to empower vulnerable women, especially victims and survivors of domestic violence.
The 74th anniversary of the United Nations was observed at the Tara Lhaden Zhingkham Lhakhang at Pangrizampa in Thimphu yesterday. On this day the UN Charter came into effect 74 years ago.
The day was observed with the theme ‘Greening the Blue’ focussing on climate change.
Dr Natalia Kanem said that the greatest threat facing humanity today is climate change. “I cannot think of a more appropriate place to celebrate this year’s UN Day than Bhutan, which had the foresight, long before the adoption of the 2030 Agenda to emphasize the interconnectedness of planet, people and prosperity for achieving sustainable development.”
Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji said that the UN Day held both practical and symbolic values to the country.
“It’s an occasion to celebrate our membership to the United Nations, the fruitful and successful partnership, and to reiterate our commitment to the UN and its specialised agencies.”
Bhutan became the 128th member of the United Nations in 1971.
Lyonpo shared the discussions from the recent high-level delegation led by the Prime Minister to the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York last month.
“I am happy to inform that the discussions on current and emerging national and global issues were most substantive and fruitful.”
The minister added that Bhutan has now entered the preparatory phase and is expected to graduate from the category of Least Developed Countries (LDC) on 13 December 2023.
“The government welcomes the progression as this is a testament to the achievements made in its socio-economic development and the fruitful collaboration with its development partners,” he said. “The UN system has played a critical role in this journey and we will look forward to continuous partnership post-graduation.”