Staff reporter   

Bhutan will observe the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Day today.

The diamond jubilee celebrations for the international organisation, however, come in the midst of a global pandemic.

According to a press release from UN Bhutan, the current scenario, more than ever, reinvigorates the UN’s founding mission–to promote human dignity, protect human rights, respect international law, and save humanity from war.

The UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, said that the world today was facing one common enemy: Covid-19.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has laid bare the world’s fragilities. We can only address them together. The clock is ticking,” said the Secretary General. “We must also make peace with our planet. The climate emergency threatens life itself. We must mobilise the whole world to reach carbon neutrality–net zero emissions of greenhouse gasses by 2050.”

As per the press release, to mark its 75th anniversary, the UN launched its biggest dialogue ever, bringing people together to discuss priorities as a family, and how to build a better future for all.

As a part of the UN-75 initiative, UN Bhutan focused on enhancing youth development by encouraging young people to become environmental change makers. For this, UN Bhutan organised three virtual environmental roadshows titled “UN-75 Art for Change” with the theme “The Future We Want”.

The three roadshows saw about 60 school children participating from across the country. The roadshow was organised to raise awareness on several environmental issues by engaging students through art in different forms, such as theatre, painting, and writing.

According to the press release, the roadshow took the participants on an environmental journey, helping them to visualise the future they want.

Next year, Bhutan will mark its 50th anniversary as the 128th member to the UN. The roadshow will be designed young people.

In a message on the occasion, Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering said that for Bhutan the United Nations would continue to be instrumental in spearheading global collective action for building a better world.

“We have enjoyed being a part of the UN for almost five decades. The UN has not just supported us in our socio-economic programs, but also pushed us to keep pace with the rest of the world, just as all good friends would do,” Lyonchhen said. “We are celebrating 75 years of journey that has given hope and support to millions of families in times of poverty, conflicts and crises. It has created a home in which countries, irrespective of size and might, have lived as one family of this beautiful planet.”

The UN also launched a global consultation in January this year to mark the 75th anniversary. Through multiple surveys and dialogues, people from all walks of life were asked about their hopes and fears for the future and their priorities for international cooperation and for the UN in particular.

Over one million respondents, including about 4,000 from Bhutan, were given a voice from all the UN member states.

The press releases stated that the world faced the paradox of diminishing global cooperation against a backdrop of rising global challenges: the climate crisis and threats of nuclear weapons; changes in populations and in the digital sphere; growing geopolitical tensions and new forms and patterns of violence; and deepening inequalities with growing social unrest. “These challenges put at risk the hard-won gains of the past 75 years, in areas such as education, gender equality, health and tackling extreme poverty. But they co-exist with immense opportunities – such as those arising from new technologies and from the largest ever generation of young people.”

The Resident Coordinator of UN Bhutan, Gerald Daly, said the 75th anniversary was an opportunity for the UN to listen to the people it serves and to identify their priorities and suggestions for enhanced global cooperation.

“As we commemorate 75 years of the existence of the UN, we must share our hopes and fears,” he said. “Learn from our experiences. Spark ideas to build the future we want and the UN we need. Now is the time. Together, we need to listen. And together, we need to act.”