Lyonchhen Dr Lotay Tshering commended the European Union for bringing together international partners to address the issue of inequalities at the European Development Days (EDD) in Brussels, a press release from the Bhutan embassy in Brussels states.
Lyonchhen is attending the two-day EDD on the invitation of President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. The theme for the 2019 EDD is “addressing inequalities: building a world which leaves no one behind.” Lyonchhen shared that the top priority for Bhutan is “narrowing the gap” and addressing inequalities in the country.
“He highlighted the successful development partnership between Bhutan and the European Union and expressed appreciation for their support and cooperation to Bhutan since the 1980s,” the press release states.
During the visit, the EU approved an additional funding of € 7.3 million to Bhutan for the establishment of the National Training Centre for Search and Rescue and the Water Flagship Programme, the press release states. The additional funding was formalised through the signing of a document between Lyonchhen and Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development(DEVCO) Neven Mimicaat the margins of the EDD.
The EU expressed admiration for Bhutan’s achievements in terms of socio-economic development and good governance. They assured continued EU support to Bhutan through the next EU Multi-annual Indicative Programme 2021-2027. Lyonchhen conveyed to Commissioner Nimica the Royal Government’s appreciation for the additional funds and also for their commitment to continue supporting Bhutan.
A press release from the EU office in New Delhi states thatthe EU support will improve local service delivery to the communities in Bhutan such as provision of clean drinking water.
“Bhutan is a bright example of how to put sustainable development and the happiness of its citizens at the centre of its policies. On top of this, it is the world’s only carbon-negative country. Thanks to Bhutan’s sustainable development path, it will soon graduate from a Least Developed Country status,”Neven Mimica said. “The EU is proud to continue to support Bhutan’s green and sustainable development policies – not least with this additional €7.3 million to increase the capacity of local governments to deliver services for the benefit of citizens.”
The additional €7.3 million will further add to the EU’s contribution to the sector reform programme “Capacity Building of the Local Government and Fiscal Decentralisation.”
The agreement brings the total amount of assistance received by Bhutan under EU development cooperation to over €49 million for the period 2014-2020. EU – Bhutan cooperation focuses on two priority areas of local authorities and civil society; and sustainable agriculture and forestry.
The EU instituted the EDD in 2006 to bring together relevant global stakeholders to share ideas and experiences to inspire new partnerships and innovative solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges.
At the sidelines, Lyonchhen also met with Her Majesty the Queen of the Belgians, President of the European Commission Jean Claude Juncker; President of the European Parliament Antonio Tajani; Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management (ECHO) Christos Stylianides; Director General of DEVCO Stefano Manservisi and the WHO Director General, UNFPA Executive Director, ITC Executive Director and GAVICEO among others.
Lyonchhen arrives home today.