Before we could shake off the Gregorian new year hungover, Nyilo is here, heralding the beginning of 2024 on a festive note. We ended the year just gone in a celebratory mood, marked by the historic 116th National Day celebrations in Thimphu and beyond. The Royal Address and the announcement of the Gelephu Special Administrative Zone created a buzz with excitement and expectations in the air.

On a personal level, a lot of resolutions, promises and predictions were likely made, beside the political promises. Some of them must be already broken or pushed to Nyilo and then to Losar. It has become a tradition every new year – to make and break resolutions. However, a new year presents opportunities and hope.

2023 had been an eventful year for Bhutan, emerging from the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic that had persisted since 2019. It ( 2023) presented us the opportunity. It was, like many say, a year of transformation with plans laid and visions clear. As we wait for the 13th Plan and a new elected government to kickstart a new beginning, we look forward to 2024 as an extraordinary year.

The confidence stems from not having lost sight of our goals. Thanks to the visionary leaders, if we have been able to remain focused on our national priorities, we are reminded and constantly guided to achieve greater heights. Looking around, we are blessed and have the grounds ready to achieve our aspirations and visions.

On the eve of the New Year, the UN Secretary General summed up 2023 when in a video message to the world, said that 2023 has been a year of enormous suffering, violence and climate chaos. While many nations celebrated the new year with fireworks, the thunder of guns and bombs silenced celebrations in others. The war in the Middle East, east Europe, the climate crisis that is threatening the Amazon with severe droughts and flooding in Australia are events derailing hope and commitment for peace, development and security.

While small Bhutan cannot influence the global narrative, we cannot afford to lose the perspective. The Secretary General called 2024 to be a year dedicated to rebuilding trust and restoring hope. This resonates well with us, even if we are not talking of laying down guns. Our understanding is that security, in our own sense, lies in political stability, economic growth and spiritual health.

Serious it may not be, but we could see people getting divided along party lines as we wait for January 9, the poll day that will decide who will govern Bhutan for the next five years. Considering what Bhutan is venturing into and the raised hope and expectations, an apt resolution for us would be to make 2024 a year of accomplishment. 

Our chances of achieving our aspirations are higher if the government, civil society, the private sector, and the people of Bhutan are in it together. It is not the declaration of new resolutions and promises that are important, it is keeping the promise or achieving them.