… Foreign Minister reads out her message at UN General Assembly

Nima Wangdi

Foreign Minister Dr Tandi Dorji presented a letter from a class two student of Mendrelthang Extended Classroom in Lunana, the remotest gewog in Bhutan, to the 77th United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

Chimi Yangzom expressed her concerns about glacial lakes in the mountains becoming bigger due to global warming threatening her village downstream.

“I was asked to convey her message to the world leaders here,” Lyonpo said, adding that Chimi Yangzom and the people in her community are constantly worried about a flood. “The eight–year–old girl solicits global action to save her village.”

This is not limited only to Bhutan. Lives and livelihoods around the world are in peril due to the impacts of human-induced climate change according to Lyonpo. “The future of our youth and successive generations are under immediate threat.”

He said that there was still time to undertake course correction but the opportunity is fast closing. “We must see greater solidarity and cooperation from all states to support efforts of the most vulnerable to adapt to the changing climate, and deal with all its consequences.”

To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, he said, there is also the need to forge strong international cooperation in coming up with viable projects and partnerships to scale up investments in alternative renewable energy, particularly in the manufacturing and transport sectors.   

“Bhutan hopes that the urgency to move beyond business as usual will be heeded at COP27 this November.”

Lyonpo said, with the world starting to face a water, food and energy crisis, investing in sustainable mountain development should be a global priority. Mountain communities must be enabled to live in harmony with the nature and their surrounding.

To create awareness, Bhutan is organising a Snowman Race in which elite athletes from around the world take part to run across the Himalayas at elevations of 5,000 meters above sea level. It is expected to generate more action and greater partnership.

Lyonpo also presented to the Assembly that more than 90 percent of the population has been vaccinated against Covid-19. He thanked the countries that donated vaccines.

“Our common agenda must provide the roadmap to ‘turbo charge’ and

accelerate our actions towards achieving the 2030 agenda and the

Sustainable Development Goals,” Lyonpo said, adding that Bhutan welcomes the report’s recognition of the need to look beyond GDP.

He submitted that major transformational initiatives are underway in Bhutan to strengthen public service delivery. “The entire public sector will be streamlined, strengthened in terms of capacity and performance to ensure standards of professionalism and accountability.”

“Our public servants must serve citizens with better and faster public services,” Lyonpo said.

“Bhutan’s commitment to multilateralism with the UN at its core remains unwavering,” Lyonpo said. “Bhutan remains fully committed to the noble objectives enshrined in the United Nations Charter.”

Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of its UN membership, which was marked last year, Bhutan responded to the call to contribute to the maintenance of peace and security – a key pillar and objective of the United Nations.

He said that Bhutan prepared for the deployment of its first uniformed military unit, a Light Quick Reaction Force to a UN peace mission. The well-trained troops will arrive to serve the cause of peace in MINUSCA in the weeks ahead.

“I am confident that they will serve the international community with distinction and honour,” Lyonpo said.

UNGA which started on September 13 concluded yesterday.