Bhutan calls for reform of UN

In his address in New York, the Prime Minister supported India’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN security council 

UN: Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay called for the UN to be reformed and supported India’s bid for a permanent seat on the organisation’s security council during his address to the UN Sustainable Development Summit on Saturday in New York.

The summit being held for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda and the sustainable development goals (SDGs) ended yesterday. It was held as a high-level plenary meeting of the UN general assembly.

In his address, Lyonchoen referred to the SDGs as “an ambitious agenda for sustainable development”, but he also pointed out that it was along the same lines as Bhutan’s development philosophy of Gross National Happiness (GNH).

Lyonchoen said that His Majesty The King has defined GNH as “development with values” which is what the SDGs are also about.

There are 17 overarching SDGs which include ending poverty, hunger, and gender discrimination, among others.

Lyonchoen pointed out that Bhutan has already started integrating the SDGs in development plans and looked forward to fulfilling the promises. Most of the SDGs are required to be achieved by 2030.

However, Lyonchoen said the UN must be transformed for the SDGs to be met.

“The United Nations has served us well for 70 years,” he said. “To serve us for the next 70 years, it must stay relevant,” he added. “And to stay relevant, it must reflect the geo-political realities of today. Countries like India and Japan, Brazil and Germany must be made to serve as permanent members in the Security Council. And Africa must be appropriately represented.”

Lyonchoen said that if the UN is not reformed it risked becoming irrelevant and ineffective. “That would harm all nations,” he said. “But small countries, vulnerable countries, countries like mine and many others, would suffer the most.”

He added that if the UN is indeed reformed then in another 70 years, future generations would be able to gather and like them, celebrate the UN, once more.

Lyonchoen also met Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the summit following the latter’s address which he described as “inspiring”.

According to Indian media, Lyonchoen expressed Bhutan’s support for a permanent seat for India on a reformed UN Security Council during his meeting with Prime Minister Modi.

The two leaders also discussed the hydropower projects, the SDGs, climate change, progress on small development projects, tourism, and the Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, India, Nepal (BBIN) initiative, according to Indian media.

Lyonchoen also met with the Deputy Prime Minister of Nepal, Prakash Man Singh. The two discussed how Bhutan and Nepal can further strengthen relations.

Lyonchoen and foreign minister Damcho Dorji also interacted with the Bhutanese community in New York on Saturday.

Gyalsten K Dorji

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